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Retail banking – a relevant digital customer experience?

Published: Friday, 22 May 2015 08:18 by Katharine Hulls, VP Marketing
Digital Intelligence

Once upon a time you trusted a bank with your money, traditionally for life. But with recent changes making it easier to switch banks, Gen Y in particular is keener than ever to leave their first choice bank and shop around for the provider that will give them the best deal. Coupled with the rise of alternative players in the market such as online only banks offering innovative deals, the threat to the core customer base of the bank is very real.

The recent World Retail Banking Report from Capgemini and Efma has shown that retail banks are sadly lacking when it comes to providing a positive digital customer experience. While the majority of banks now provide a banking app and Internet banking, there appears to be a distinct lack of the agile, intuitive and digitally savvy approach which is being harnessed by new competitors in the market place.

Customer expectations have grown and banks should have grown with them in order to provide the required level of customer service. Yet while customers do find it relatively easy to interact with banks on a single product basis, as soon as they begin to delve around in more detail, the complexities of the system tend to result in a disappointing digital customer experience, meaning that the purchase of additional products from the bank is on the decline.

Recent research which we undertook with Teradata into the attitudes towards personalization and data privacy in the UK, Germany and France placed retail banks at the top of the list when it came to trust in the sector, with a third of consumers trusting them to treat personal information confidentially. This is a massive positive for the sector; so how can banks ensure that they are retaining customers with an improved customer experience, and cross selling to them through understanding their interests on an individual level?

Attitudes are fast changing when it comes to the rapid evolution in customer behavior. In fact, digital has become far more important in recent years: customers not only use digital channels to check balances and make payments, but also compare products via online aggregators, particularly insurance and loans. Improving individual customer understanding across all digital and offline touchpoints is therefore essential in order to provide the best quality, personalized service that is expected.

Many banks invest in digital, particularly the front end, but sadly they often fall short when it comes to providing a well-rounded customer experience. On the face of it, customers are able to access simple information, but the deeper they wade into the system, the more dis-jointed the customer experience becomes. This complexity results in customer disappointment due to them not being able to access important documents, or information automatically – today’s customer does not accept that they have to wait in excess of a week to be sent an application form through the post!

Banks must therefore ensure that they can gain real insight from their data into the multi-channel customer journey. Being able to view the customers touch points and having access to information that can tell them where customers have dropped off can improve engagement and enhance the customer experience. This is essential for maximizing opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell new products, as well as boost customer loyalty.


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