Why Banks Must Put the Customer Experience First

There’s a good reason why Apple is considered the world’s most admired company and it’s not all about its actual products. Yes, the iPhone has dramatically changed our lives, but the real reason why people come back to the business time and time again is because of one thing: the customer experience. Over the years, Apple has spent a lot of energy on keeping its customers happy and engaged. Whether it’s the slick packaging, the stores that make it easy to browse and buy, or its geniuses who are always eager to help, there is no question that Apple is where it is today because of how it treats its customers.

While a lot of companies have taken a page out of Apple’s customer experience (CX) playbook, plenty of operations still have a ways to go. That’s particularly true for banks, many of which still have clunky interfaces, poorly designed applications and hard to reach customer service teams. At this point, there’s no excuse for bad CX. Thanks to companies like Uber, Netflix, and Amazon, all of which have put CX at the centre of their business, people now expect a much higher quality level of service from the brands they interact with.

Besides, creating positive end-user experiences is good for business. According to PwC, people are willing to pay 16% more for products and services with companies that provide good experiences, while 63% say they’d be willing to share personal data with a company that has strong CX. At the same time, 32% would walk away from a beloved brand after just one bad experience. 

These kinds of data points should have banks jumping to revamp their CX, especially considering that many of the FinTechs that have popped up over the last few years are hyper-focused on improving the customer experience. Indeed, many of these operations’ sole reason for being is because their founders were fed up with their own bank’s technology and their experiences. 

A new report on banking experiences by Hitachi Solutions calls CX “the defining competitive differentiator in the banking industry today. Financial institutions that invest in the customer experience in banking have higher rates of recommendation, greater wallet share, and are more likely to up-sell or cross-sell products and services to existing customers.” 

According to Gartner, 81% of companies now compete mostly or entirely on their CX, while a global survey from Capgemini-Efma study found that more than 40% of global consumers have had a positive experience with a FinTech firm, compared to 37% who say the same about traditional banks. 

Four ways to improve CX

It’s abundantly clear — from the data and anecdotally — that financial institutions must put a much greater emphasis on CX. Many operations will need to improve experiences across the board, including client onboarding, account management, and investing. 

Unfortunately, change can’t happen overnight. Many of the challenges banks face are a result of legacy technologies that make it difficult to improve digital experiences or roll out new and better apps or offerings. But, there are some steps banks can take now to get the ball rolling.

Develop a cross-company CX team

It takes a village to improve the customer experience. Companies must make a concerted effort to change their ways, in part by collaborating with people from all parts of the business. A dedicated team will need to ask tough questions, dig into why things aren’t working and what can be improved upon, and then develop a plan to get the bank to a better place. 

Partner with FinTechs

Many FinTechs can help improve a bank’s CX almost immediately. FISPAN, for instance, has developed APIs that make it easy for enterprise resource planning (ERP) and accounting platforms to connect to a bank’s system. The result? Businesses of all sizes get a far better experience when it comes to managing payables, receivables, and banking transactions. Other kinds of APIs — which would get implemented by the bank — can make it easier for consumers to open accounts, share banking information with other FinTechs, invest and more. 

Embrace embedded banking

Banks like it when their customers come to their website to access their services. Clients, however, are less interested in jumping from site to site to do simple financial transactions. One of the key pillars of CX is to reduce friction between the client and the service they want, which means allowing them to access financial tools and services within the programs they’re already using. There’s no reason why companies should have to go to their bank’s site and upload payroll data there when they could do all that from their bank-connected ERP system. With APIs, banks can make it easier for clients to transact without having to visit multiple sites. 

Keep the focus on the customer

Everything you do should revolve around making your customer’s life easier. Whether that’s creating more mixed-initiative user interfaces on consumer facing apps, allowing customer service reps to spend more time helping and empathizing with clients, or reducing the time and effort it takes to transact, the faster, more efficient, and more caring you can be, the more positive people will feel about your company. Hyper-personalization is also an important part of CX — the more you can help the individual client, whether it’s remembering their banking preferences when they log in, or letting them access services in a way they like best, the happier they’ll be. 

With more digital-first financial companies opening their doors daily, the need for better CX is greater than ever. As the research shows, if you don’t give customers what they want in the way they want it, they won’t hesitate to take their business to the firm that understands them most.

Learn more about FISPAN and how we help banks prioritize their customer experience by contacting us here. 

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