The digital era could not have come at a better time for the banking industry. With bank customer loyalty and trust at a low point, following the recent financial fallout and the economic downturn, banks are in need of a fresh start.
Rising to the challenge of reconnecting with customers, rebuilding trust and renewing the banking experience, banks are starting to explore digital technologies and solutions.
But is that enough?
Forward-looking banks are seeing a silver lining in today’s challenging market—they are rapidly capitalizing on the digital wave to re-establish themselves as the bank of choice with existing and new customers.
Adopting a ‘Digital First’ mindset— putting digital at the heart of the business — is an effective way for banks to redefine their relationship with customers.
By having a truly digital business, banks can move away from reactive, transaction-based customer relationships, towards a more intimate, proactive and personalized experience across multiple channels, products and services. Analytics technologies can be used to capture and analyze vast, continuous data streams that previously remained in silos to develop an intimate experience that will keep existing customers coming back and attract new ones.
Anticipate customer needs and guide them to the relevant product or offers quickly. The design of this experience should be able to sense the mood of customers (learn, evaluate, action) and serve appropriate content. For example, the landing page should be able to recognize if a particular user is a new visitor or returning customer before serving content.
Leverage analytics, data mining and other technologies to understand customer preferences as well as needs, guiding them and maximizing the value of each customer interaction.
Provide a seamless experience (one interaction leading to another without interruption) across channels and devices so customers will feel positive about their digital experience with their respective banks. For instance, if a customer submits a mortgage application to his bank, all his subsequent interactions with the bank—contact with the call centre, a visit to the bank’s website or an SMS on his phone informing him about the approval of his mortgage application—should be in sync with each other.
Deliver a superior service to customers by developing digital applications that recognize contextual signals and engage customers within that context. For instance, if a customer goes abroad, the bank’s locator application on his mobile device can recognize that fact and provide contextually relevant information such as the nearest ATM machines in the vicinity.
Deepen the relationship with customers by giving them access to virtual relationship managers and other digital tools and services all day, every day, across all channels and devices.
ENABLERS OF “DIGITAL FIRST”
A ‘Digital First’ mindset needs the backing of an integrated, innovative technology strategy to drive customer intimacy. There are seven key enabling technologies that will make a ‘Digital First’ strategy meaningful, robust and seamless.
Financial institutions are exploring ways to gain actionable insight from customer interactions across online, mobile and social channels to deliver a compelling experience that is contextual as well as relevant. Leading organizations are already integrating their digital analytics data with existing traditional data sets from existing CRM systems to create a completely new layer of intelligence to deliver even more personalized experiences to customers. U.K. customers with an American Express (AmEx) card can now sync their card account with their Foursquare account and take advantage of personalized offers, based on location and their spend patterns.
INTEGRATD EXPERIENCE DESIGN
Customers today are accessing content across multiple devices and from multiple destinations. To enhance consistency when engaging with customers and reduce overhead in creating and publishing content across channels, financial institutions need an integrated multichannel approach based on a ‘Digital First’ mindset. This approach helps marketers focus on the relevant media and customer experience to improve engagement. Realizing the significance of an integrated approach in delivering a seamless multichannel customer experience, Citi invested in developing an in-depth understanding of the digital design principles and the role each device and channel plays in providing customers with a compelling experience.
Post-login Customer Experience
There is a great opportunity to transform the post-login experience into a dialog engine. By monitoring customer transactions and behavior, the dialog engine can suggest tools for financial planning and budgeting, act as a virtual advisor, and much more. The experience becomes immensely powerful when banks can integrate customer experiences and journeys across both public- and secure-banking websites in a seamless manner.
Using transaction history and partner ecosystem, Bank of America has developed BankAmeriDeals—a value added service application that allows online customers to select a series of cash back deals at shops and restaurants in a secure environment.
Mobile is one of the fastest growing channels among banks as it enables customers to have instant control of their finances, from transferring money, to taking advantage of geolocation-driven offers and mobile wallet services. Increasingly, banks are integrating mobile banking services with other channel offerings to provide a multichannel customer experience.
Barclays has launched an innovative mobile payment service—Pingit—for customers on the go who can use their mobile phone to send or receive money. Other niche players are using mobile as a service channel to initiate financial offers, especially for certain products such as loans.
Digital relationship management
By fusing human contact, digital services and tools seamlessly into a single coherent interaction, banks can create a new type of conversation with customers. Through context-based offerings, banks can extend the traditional relationship management/teller model to provide superior digital services— the key to driving deeper customer intimacy and differentiation.
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)—one of Spain's largest banks—is breaking new ground with LOLA—a virtual assistant application that guides BBVA's internet banking customers through pages where the structure and displayed information is tailored to suit their specific needs.
Socially engaging banking
Customers are increasingly using social to share, connect and learn more about brands and their offerings. Leading banks are already using this channel for gathering insights, demonstrating transparency, engaging customers and for new product development.
New York City-based Movenbank is launching next generation banking services with social at its core. Combining traditional credit data with behavioral data and social influence, the bank has created a customer credibility (CRED) score to provide feedback to customers on their financial performance and options they can consider. Although still in pilot phase, Movenbank has created a buzz in the world of mobile finance.
Digital operating model
Developing a culture of innovation and building relevant digital capabilities are critical to realizing the benefits of enabling technologies. Digital provides a truly transformational way to engage with customers and needs to be embraced throughout the organization. This is the path some leading financial institutions are taking with a strong focus on customer intimacy.
As part of its ‘Digital First’ journey, Citi has overhauled its digital and customer experience capabilities. Using an agile development environment, the bank changed the way it measures and thinks about data, and how it listens and responds to customer needs in real time.
A ‘Digital First’ mindset is fundamental for financial services providers focused on significantly enhancing customer satisfaction, building customer loyalty and deepening share of wallet.
A crucial step in this direction is to create, or refresh, ‘customer experience maps.’ These maps assist in identifying customer needs in a multichannel context—the foundation for identifying in which digital capabilities banks need to invest to engage and strengthen relationships with customers at various stages of their journey.
At a time when tech-savvy customers are increasingly demanding about how, where and when they want services from their banks, becoming a truly integrated digital business is essential for growth. Only by adopting a ‘Digital First’ mindset can banks hope to deliver reliable, relevant and innovative financial services which build a strong and loyal customer base.