Banks are struggling to maintain loyal customers. With many transactional services now easily accessible online and via apps, branch traffic is decreasing. When consumers do visit the branch, they often find:
- Long lines
- Walls lined with self-service machines
- Unprepared staff members
The bank is in danger of being considered as a utility, rather than a trusted and valued partner. But all is not lost.
Accenture reported that while many customers are using online banking more often, 87% of consumers will still use their branches in the future – and want human interaction when they go there.
Innovative omnichannel experiences can be implemented in traditional branches to improve customer experience, which McKinsey found could increase customers likelihood to renew or buy new products by 30-50%.
With that in mind, here are 7 key areas that will improve customer experience in banking:
1. In-branch experience
Capital One Cafés were created to specifically attract millennials. They allow customers a chance to get answers to questions and manage their finances in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.
According to Senior Vice President Lia Dean, "The cafés are meant to connect financial professionals and young people in a 'relaxed' and 'stress-free' environment."
By providing helpful in-branch appointments, Capital One is making it more enjoyable for consumers to get financial advice.
2. Make it easy
Another bank disrupting the industry is Danish brand Knab. They are trying to make their customer experience simple and fast.
Knab can open an account for customers online in just five minutes, which caters well to the modern consumer’s desire for instant gratification.
3. Guarantee convenience
Some banks have chosen to close branches in an effort to move services online, save money, and modernize the customer experience. Although this has proven convenient for simple transactions, such as deposits and balance checks, most high-value services still require customers to visit a branch.
Unfortunately, bank hours are often limited which results in long lines and a poor customer experience.
Metro Bank has eliminated this inconvenience by having branches open seven days a week. Their fast service is designed for their on-the-go customer base.
Paul Riseborough, Metro's chief commercial officer, explains, “Service is at the core of our model and at the heart of the banking experience we provide. It's about being convenient in our customers' busy lives and our bank manager's role is to be embedded in the local community."
4. Ensure a consistent customer journey
The end-to-end customer journey often involves multiple departments throughout the organization. Many banks operate in silos, through which customers will receive a broken and potentially contradictory experience.
By ensuring information can be shared between departments, a seamless end-to-end customer journey can be created.
The Financial Brand describes how the process of acquiring a mortgage is viewed differently by the bank and the customer:
“Although the mortgage process has numerous touch points and can transpire across multiple channels—call center chats, branch discussions, mobile apps, web interfaces—the customer views it as a single large transaction, and the user experience should be optimized at each step and ultimately feel unified to the customer.”
5. Seek inspiration from other industries
In the last few years, banks have fallen behind as other industries strive to create an exceptional customer experience. Retail is a great example of how improving the journey of the customer can increase revenue and customer loyalty.
In our retail consumer study, we learned that 94% of consumers are now buying from retailers across multiple channels. This is something that the banking industry can implement to appease the consumer appetite for tailored customer experiences.
You might also like: How banks can learn from retailers.
6. Be reactive to social and online conversations
It’s no secret that consumers use their social platforms to vent their complaints. It’s important to utilize social platforms as a customer service tool.
In fact, Econsultancy compared the response rates of 16 retail banks on social media, with the quickest response coming in at 3 minutes and the longest at 84 minutes.
Social media has transformed the way that businesses communicate with their customers. Before social media, customers had to wait 30+ minutes on the phone to speak to someone. When it was finally their turn, customers then had to provide all of their personal information before being able to even explain their problem. After a long wait, that can be frustrating.
Social media has allowed the bureaucracy within banking to be broken down, and make customers feel that they have more control. It's the instantaneous customer experience that has become the Holy Grail for many modern customers.
7. Leverage data
Capgemini found that only 37% of customers believe that banks understand their needs and preferences adequately. An immense amount of data is collected within each interaction, and it should be used to provide a personalized customer experience.
One great example of how a bank has successfully leveraged data to build a better customer relationship is Zions Bank, who employed big data to derive insights about the growing Hispanic community.
In an interview with American Banker, Senior Vice President, Juancarlos Judd, explains how data analytics helps “the bank identify Hispanic consumers within its geographic footprint and see their education levels, home ownership, affluence and other factors. The bank then breaks the segment down into groups and identifies financial needs for each.”
Based on these segmentation insights, Zions Bank has strengthened their customer relationships and have grown their Hispanic customer base 10-15% in the past few years.
Download our free Modern Banking Research to learn what consumers want from their banks in 2020.