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First the pandemic in 2020.

Then the Russia-Ukraine crisis in 2022.

Things for the banking industry have been dicey for quite some time.

Amidst all this, 2022 continues to put the focus on the transformation of financial institutions across the globe. There’s significant investment in various financial services capabilities and operating models.

And at the heart of everything is customer experience.

According to a Gartner survey, 81% of organizations compete mostly, or entirely based on the customer experience (CX), making it a vital differentiator for financial institutions in 2021 and beyond.

“Customer experience better be at the top of your list when it comes to priorities in your organization. Customer experience is the new marketing.” – Steve Cannon

In addition, over 76% of customers expect companies to anticipate and understand their needs and expectations. And the businesses must respond quickly and decisively to meet these expectations.

Five core principles of customer experience:

  1. Focus and commitment on customers at all levels with broad ownership.
  2. Increase in data-driven decisions.
  3. Thinking at a global + local (glocal) level.
  4. Learning and experimentation at the organizational, team, and individual levels.
  5. Assessing and addressing the current constraints.

What makes customer experience critical for businesses?

86% of customers prefer to pay more if they experience better customer service.

96% of customers worldwide identify customer service as the deciding factor for brand loyalty.

Over 76% of customers believe it’s easy to switch brands for a better customer experience.

 39% of customers will not do business with the company for the next two years after a bad experience.

Exceptional customer experience not only enhances the brand reputation, and impacts the company revenues, but also plays a direct role in customer retention. It also increases the cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.

The absence of a holistic customer experience, businesses bear the brunt. This can happen just after one stray incident leading to disgruntled customer.

What are customer expectations in 2022?

In 2022, customers are no longer delighted by traditional experiences.

They have multiple brands to switch between, and are spoilt for choices. To retain them and keep them engaged, it is vital for companies in the banking industry to ditch the usual route, practices, and methods.

Instead, they should focus on delivering meaningful experiences by getting to the root of the new-age customer expectations such as:

  • Providing instant access to information
  • Offering responsive services across touchpoints.
  • Adopting new tools and technologies for on-demand services.
  • Enabling customers to interact with businesses anywhere, any time.
  • Personalized information sharing.

What are the top UX and CX trends in banking UX?

1. Be as human as human can be

Customers are not AI-powered bots. They are humans. And like every human being, they would want real-time, in-person attention across channels.

They seek empathy, even when new technology is at play. They want to speak with someone and not stare point blank at a screen.

A case in point is that of Commerzbank in Germany, which transformed its digital offering centered around speed, security and simplicity. The model of the bank will close one-third of the branches, consolidating bankers, advisors and the traditional call centre into banking or “beratungscenter.”

So, while bots are great and can solve the initial headaches, humanized experiences will always win big across the banking sector.

2. Give them immediate results or go home

As a customer, you’d expect immediate results.

Every second the customer loses waiting for a solution is an inch closer to losing their loyalty.

They expect banks to offer them the ability to interact with financial advisors on a preferred channel. In addition, they want personalized, contextual, more modern solutions leveraged by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and automation.

3. Customer-centricity is the real deal

A Boston Consulting Group research says that personalization at scale can increase annual revenue by 10%.

Taking a customer-centric approach can make or mar the efforts for any financial services company or bank.

To remain relevant, they should proceed with the realization that customers are first. They need to feel valued at every step. The focus is on customers and not products and services.

For this, banks need to take a customer-first, hyper-personalized problem-solving approach.

It begins with understanding their pain points, attitudes, behavior patterns, and more. Based on the data, each employee, channel, and tech should come together and provide deep value to the customer, making them feel involved at every step.

4. Data speaks louder than words

Data is at the heart of delivering top-notch experiences to the users.

Banks and financial institutions need to collect, analyze, and do some serious number crunching to derive meaningful insights. These insights are crucial to re-consider approaches taken by companies in the UI UX design, and tie it to the customer experience.

For instance, they can focus on a wide array of data including:

  • NPS feedbacks
  • of users who have recommended services
  • Detailed complaint records
  • Sentiment captured across social channels

According to Accenture, only 29% of customers believed that their banking provider would look after their financial well-being. This kind of data gives banks a much deeper insight on their customers psyche, which, in turn, can help them deliver personalized solutions at speed and scale.

5. Letting AI bridge the gap

In its 2022 Banking and Capital Markets Outlook, Deloitte cautions that technology-first transformative strategies “tend to be incremental, localized, and fragmented, resulting in a pervasive and pernicious ‘technology trap’ [that] is preventing many banks from realizing the full potential of their investments.”

According to another survey, 84 percent of banking leaders today see artificial intelligence as the answer with Low-code automation being a particularly attractive solution.

The tech uses adaptive artificial intelligence for creating a far more seamless digital journey, with enhanced UX and CX.

Remember, by applying strategic AI solutions at various levels of the customer journey, it becomes possible for BFSI institutions to uncover critical data that can be used to enhance the services/product offerings.

6. Automated onboarding and support

59% of financial leaders believe that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will make their business competitive in the coming years.

Successful customer experiences bank on the best onboarding and support delivered to customers.

Traditional onboarding included filling out papers, signing them, and creating an indefinite administrative load and bottlenecks.

With not every customer having the same patience levels or the time to visit the nearest branch and carry out the processes in person, it is crucial for banks to automate it.

The same holds true for their entire range of service support, which was a lesson from 2020 when most of the service sector companies were forced to adopt remote methods.

Conclusion

User experience in banking is not low-hanging fruit. At the same time, it is not something that’s unachievable. Companies should adopt the best approaches, and take incremental steps to enhance the UI UX design with help of an agency partner for exceptional outcomes in their customer experience strategy.

At the end of the day, they should treat customer experience more like a growth movement, and less like a one-off trend or a passing fad. With banks embracing this shift in the digital transformation journey, where are you headed to?

Are you looking for an experience-driven digital solution for your product or service?
Author Alka Jha
Alka is the Design Director at Pepper Square and she has defined the user experience for some of the finest global brands over the last seven years.

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