by Kurt Schroeder and John Seeds
One of the most important things to understand about customer behavior, particularly in an industry as specific as the financial services sector, is that it is constantly changing over time.
The best practices of today may be woefully inadequate tomorrow, as people begin to naturally – and rightfully – expect different things from the institutions they've chosen to serve them. Because of that, financial organizations are already making the transition away from the reactive model of customer engagement to more proactive campaigns, driven in large part by the customer data they're collecting on a regular basis.
By using a combination of big data and technology, financial institutions put themselves in a better position to understand both customer intent and their larger behaviors - thus allowing them to come up with more appropriate and organic offerings. Through this newly obtained knowledge, financial organizations are shifting to focus on serving their customers pro-actively not only with financial health and wellness initiatives, but through personalized campaigns based on major life events and other insights derived from customer data as well.
All told, advances in technology present enormous opportunities to not only innovative, but also to automate and personalize customer engagement in a way that creates the best possible model moving forward.
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What Does an Exceptional Customer Experience Look Like in Financial Services?
Regardless of the specific shape that a CX initiative takes within a financial organization, the larger trend is clear: institutions need to work hard to create a more personalized experience for their members and customers across the board. This requires a transition in mindset at a fundamental level, away from the multi-channel approach of the last decade to true omni-channel customer communications with effective coverage across all available avenues. In other words, organizations can no longer wait for customers to come to them. Consumers want to engage with brands in a wide range of different ways and it's up to those brands to take their message and their services directly to the people, regardless of where those people happen to be.
This means embracing more functionality and self-serve options that empower customers to get immediate outcomes. It also involves leveraging technology to allow employees to better serve their customers, all while providing a true white-glove and consistent customer experience across the entirety of the customer journey. This brings with it the most important benefit of all: instilling a new level of transparency in the customer experience in a way that also helps amass a tremendous amount of customer loyalty as well.
All of this is clearly evidenced in a lot of the major CX trends currently making waves across the banking industry, chief among them being the emergence of the "humanized digital" experience. Yes, consumers are more than willing to interact with chatbots to get answers to basic questions or to perform simple account functions - but they also want easy access to humans in the event that they're dealing with more complex issues.
Another major trend involves banks, credit unions and other organizations finally delivering on the true omni-channel promise they've made to consumers everywhere. Leaders in the sector are starting to learn that they can't afford to have different information living on different channels, creating a lot of inconsistency and confusion when it comes to the customer experience. Content needs to be deployed consistently and it needs to be deployed everywhere - from your website to your mobile app to your online banking platform and beyond. But in a larger sense, all of this is in service of not only creating the most enjoyable customer experience that you can, but the most productive one as well.