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.
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.
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.