As consumers are getting more comfortable with making financial transactions online – from ordering grocery to banking and purchasing insurance – the market is also becoming more competitive for financial institutions (FIs.)

You aren’t just competing with the bank down the block or the credit union in the next town. While you have the opportunity to access a national or even international clientele, you’re also competing against other FIs from around the globe.

How can you stand out?

The financial industry is highly regulated and many consumers consider most financial products as a commodity.

Simply coming up with a slightly different product or a marginally better pricing is no longer enough to set you apart in this competitive landscape.

Thankfully, there’s a gap in the market and if you fill it before your competitors do, you’ll set your brand apart and gain market share.

Customer Experience: the New Frontier

Consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience (CX), which will become the key differentiator, overtaking price and product by the year 2020.

Customer Experience Statistics

Source: https://www.superoffice.com/blog/customer-experience-statistics/

Your customers have developed high expectations when they interact with other consumer brands that deliver a user-centric customer experience.

In addition, the line between online and offline is blurring. Customers want a seamless omnichannel experience even when they switch channels or devices while interacting with a brand.

However, the financial industry has lagged behind in delivering an outstanding customer experience. Many FIs fail to meet customer expectations and consumers are increasingly frustrated with the industry.

A report titled “Improving the Customer Experience in Banking” found that only 37% of organizations have a formal CX plan.

While many FIs are starting to invest in CX initiatives, they’re still facing a lot of challenges in the implementation – especially with data analytics, technology, and the creation of a 360-degree customer view.

In addition, most FIs still approach CX from the perspective of internal benefits (e.g., cost cutting, increasing sales) instead of customer benefits (e.g., ease of use, responsiveness), which is the key to delivering a customer-centric experience.

How Financial Institutions Can Improve Customer Experience

To successfully deliver an excellent customer experience, you need to shift the focus of your organization’s digital engagement from cost reduction to experience enhancement.

Focus on building trust and developing relationships with your customers throughout the entire customer journey – engaging them from the moment they’re researching about a financial product, to opening an account and becoming an advocate for your brand.

Here are some ideas for designing an engaging CX that will improve customer acquisition and retention:

Create an Exceptional Mobile Experience
More and more customers are engaging with FIs via mobile devices. For example, 49.5% of all online searches for life insurance and 42.1% for over-50s life cover came from mobile devices, according to Alex Koslowski, head of proposition in the consumer division at Royal London, the UK’s largest mutual insurer.

To capture these customers, develop a mobile-optimized website that’s not only responsive but also utilizes mobile-specific features such as tap-to-call, location service, and auto-fill to streamline the user experience.

You can also create a mobile app that enables customers to carry out specific tasks quickly and easily, e.g., pay bills or deposit a check.

Barclays Mobile Banking won two FStech Awards for a feature that enables customers to call the bank directly from the app and introducing instant lending on a mobile device.

Use Engaging Content To Simplify Complex Processes
Many consumers are intimidated by the complexity and variety of financial products. FIs can create interactive, educational, and engaging content, e.g., a quiz or product selector, to help customers understand their needs and choose the best products.

Streamline your online application processes by simplifying product configurations and pricing structure.

In addition, you can use gamification to increase customer engagement and loyalty.

Deliver a Consistent Omnichannel Customer Experience
Customers want a seamless experience when they interact with your brand across all touchpoints and devices.

Develop a centralized database for storing your 360-degree customer profiles, which can be updated in real-time as customers interact with your brand on multiple channels.

With the development of a single customer view, you’ll also have the opportunity to leverage advanced analytics, machine learning, and contextual engagement to be proactive about your advisory and sales activities and deliver a highly personalized experience through your customers’ preferred channels. Defining an audience

Source: http://www.experian.co.uk/blogs/latest-thinking/single-customer-view-2/

How To Optimize Customer Experience Cost-Effectively [ Case Study ]

Creating an exceptional customer experience is a sizable undertaking that involves many moving parts.

What can you do to ensure that your CX initiative is achieving the desired customer experience and the associated business objectives?

Security Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) is an $8 billion member-owned organization. It’s the largest credit union in Texas and the 8th largest in the nation, serving more than 700,000 members worldwide.

As more members choose to self-serve online, SSFCU needed to offer high-quality service in their digital environment. SSFCU had to take its website usability and online service capabilities to the next level quickly and effectively.

SSFCU worked with UserReplay and used advanced technologies such as machine learning, a variety of CX analytics, and patented interactive user session technology, to define and improve their CX strategies.

As a result of this collaboration, the credit union reduced the time it needs to identify and fix CX issues by more than 50%. They’re able to act on critical issues immediately to minimize the overall impact on the business.

In addition, they have the ability to test new products and services with their members before spending the time and resources to bring them to market so they can maximize ROIs.

With the aid of advanced analytics and technologies, you can now take the guesswork out of implementing CX initiatives for your financial institution and make data-driven, informed decisions.

SSFCU Webinar

Financial service providers have undergone a significant transition in the last decade whereby the customer’s experience has increasingly transitioned online, with a complex array of functions being offered on a self-service basis.  For a highly regulated industry – that has traditionally been a face-to-face customer serving industry – this is quite a step change.

Optimal customer experience is essential – particularly when customers are managing their financial affairs.  Coupled with the risk of fraud, the financial services industry has some sector-specific challenges to address where customer experience management (CEM) technology, such as UserReplay, can help.

Optimizing the experience

Sites in the financial services industry are regularly split between secure and non-secure sections.  The non-secure areas are where potential customers experience their first interactions with the brand and are introduced to the various products and services.  A poor experience here, such as badly designed forms and errors in application processes, can reduce conversion opportunities.

In the secure self-service area, customer expectations are high and they wish to be able to complete transactions quickly and easily.  A poor experience could lead a customer to defect and try out a rival brands services. In addition, one of the main aims of the customer self-service function is to deflect customer service calls or branch visits – which incur additional cost to the business.

Finding and fix issues

Financial services sites are rigorously tested.  Nonetheless, undetected errors or poorly designed processes can occur.  Ensuring that problems are rapidly identified and rectified is an on-going and time-consumer process.  According to The Online Customer Experience – Counting the Cost of Not Knowing research study, commissioned by UserReplay, 58% of finance eCommerce professionals surveyed said that not having complete visibility of their customers’ online journey makes it significantly more challenging to plan and make decisions.  It also takes financial services providers a day to find and fix issues on average – a significant drain on resources and too slow in a time critical environment.

Customer services and dispute resolution

When customers experience an issue on their online banking site, they are likely to contact the customer service team.  Being able to visualize exactly what the customer did in real-time can help reduce the time required to service the customer and reduce the need for further calls.  Also, having this visibility means that resolving disputes with customers is much easier as you have empirical evidence of their interactions.

Fraud analysis

Online fraud can be detected by such behaviors as unusually high attempts at login or changing personal details midway through a process.  UserReplay can be configured to recognize fraudulent behavior and to notify managers of unusual incidences.  As well as real-time responses, it also provides a wealth of data for forensic fraud analysis and to guide on-going fraud strategies.

Tag based capture becomes a realistic option

Regulatory issues around third party storage of data is a key issue for financial services organizations and means that SaaS based CEM solutions have traditionally been out of bounds for financial services companies.  This has meant that, up to now, they have not been able to take advantage of high fidelity session replay and/or advanced capabilities such as form analytics.

In response to this challenge, UserReplay has launched an Enterprise Tag capability that is now available within its installed software offering. It uses a JavaScript tag to capture the customer journey data. The only difference with UserReplay’s SaaS option is that data is directed to the customer’s own servers rather than UserReplay’s hosting environment. This is particularly advantageous for brands that want to capture PII data for customer services, fraud analysis and dispute resolution use cases but also want the advantages of capturing data at the client side.

To find out more about Enterprise Tag and UserReplay’s various deployment options visit here.

Darren Ward, Director of Product Marketing, UserReplay

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When it comes to understanding the customer experience, a driving factor is the positive impact greater visibility would have on the overall conversion rate – in terms of volume and individual basket value. Yet, the costs to a business that result from poor visibility go far beyond conversion rates.

According to the research study “Counting the Cost of Not Knowing”, commissioned by UserReplay, on average it takes eCommerce businesses 2.5 working days to identify and fix an online customer experience issue. That’s a significant amount of man hours that could be better spent elsewhere. The business impact is keenly felt but perhaps much harder to measure.

As IT teams well know it’s difficult to plan for how long an issue will take to resolve so the most obvious way to tackle this resource drain is improving the speed and ability to identify and reproduce issues. Of the eCommerce professionals surveyed, the report found 62% use web analytics and 47% use customer surveys – the most likely tools to be used to try and find unknown conversion issues. From our experience we know that these tools don’t always give the full picture, and can present a misleading view of what and where the issues lie and the severity.

The effects, however, extend further than the resource drain on the IT team. This lack of understanding of the customer journey impacts an organization’s ability to effectively plan and make decisions. 90% say it makes planning and decision-making around online marketing activity more difficult. The success of a marketing strategy hinges on fully understanding the customer demographics wants and needs; without this planning it is reliant on guesswork, which can lead to a waste of valuable marketing budget.

Unsurprisingly organizations are therefore looking for ways to reduce these hidden costs to the business by improving customer journey visibility. These include quantitative data capture that helps IT prioritize what to fix first (97%), qualitative data that gives them detail around the User Experience (95%), and easy to understand reports focused on website issues (93%).

With businesses already stretched resource-wise, there is considerable value in being able to prioritize which website issues to fix first and reduce the time taken to reproduce those issues.  There is also great value in being able to plan marketing activity more effectively. A business that can use data from the customer journey will see the results positively reflected on the bottom line – not just from a pure rise in conversions but wider business cost savings.

You can download the complete research study, “Counting the Cost of Not Knowing”, from the UserReplay website here.

Sadly, fraudsters blight the internet.

It’s one of the less appealing by-products of the digital era. Open your e-mail and the chances are that at least once or twice a month there will be a phishing e-mail attempting to persuade you to part with personal account details. Run a search and you may find yourself on a site that exists only to harvest credit card numbers or deposit malware on your PC. And of course, if you operate an e-commerce website, your business will probably experience actual or attempted fraud on a daily basis.

The scale of the problem is enormous. According to a report published last year by the Cabinet Office, fraudsters netted £670m from unsuspecting Britons in the twelve months to August 2014. Meanwhile a Get Safe poll found 51% of Britons had direct experience of online crime.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. When a fraudster walks into a physical store and buys goods with a stolen credit card, the risks are quite high. Even if the scam succeeds, the chances are that he or she will be caught on CCTV or identified by a witness. Internet fraud, in contrast, is distant and anonymous. The criminal who sends a phishing e-mail from a far-off country or who breaks into an online account is almost impossible to track. Continue reading “Online fraud – the dark side of the customer journey”

Wherever and whenever there is commercial activity, you can be reasonably confident that criminals will not be far away. Cyberspace offers no exception to that rule. According to IT security giant McAfee, online businesses lose around $400bn to fraudsters every year, and as the size of the e-commerce universe grows, so does the level of criminal activity. 

But it’s not really the global figures that matter. To an online business the real concern is the threat to its own bottom line from hackers and credit card fraudsters who continue to leach away money that could be used to re-invest in the business and create jobs.

There has been some improvement in recent years. For instance, a 2013 survey by Lexis Nexis found the percentage of online revenues lost to fraud in 2013 fell to 0.5% from close to 1% a year earlier.  But the picture is mixed. The same survey found that identity fraud was on the rise – increasing to 17% of total frauds from 15% a year earlier.   Continue reading “Online fraud – using technology to fight back”