Customer Experience

You can’t be serious (about customer experience in the financial services industry)!

By Engage Hub expert 25 January 2018

Worryingly, a third of British consumers believe that the financial services industry doesn’t take customer experience seriously. So what needs to be done to change this?

User experience (UX) is king, which should really mean that technological advancements in the financial services sector translate into better customer experience. Yet there is clearly a disconnect somewhere.

Short-changing consumers

Our latest research from Engage Hub, identifies a number of key areas where the customer experience in financial services is falling short.

We questioned over 2,500 UK consumers, with 33% unhappy with the customer service experience provided by financial service providers. Perhaps most tellingly, the majority (65%) of customers identified accessibility as a crucial factor in determining a good customer service experience.

Customers often shift to different providers that can offer them a better in-store experience (26%), more personalised services (25%), better targeted promotions (19%) and a better mobile experience (17%).

Some 40% of respondents in our survey noted that being treated as a human being is the reason why they have switched financial services provider recently. The ability and willingness to treat customers like individuals is a crucial factor in attracting business from a competitor and a clear point of differentiation in an industry mired by a faceless persona.

Technology enabling personalisation, not a barrier to it

Personalised communication is key, as today’s consumers not only expect 24/7, cross-channel access to financial services, they want the peace of mind that the support they get is tailored exactly for their needs.

Interestingly, 64% of consumers note that technology has had a positive effect on customer experience, with only 9% believing that an over-reliance on technology had made the customer experience worse. As digital transformation gathers pace though, it is vital for financial services providers to offer second-to-none in-branch experiences and personalised services across all channels, in store, online and on mobile.

The bottom line is this: technological advancements may well have changed the way that financial services providers engage with and communicate with their customers, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that such changes are inherently beneficial to the customer. Digital offerings are about more than simply launching a new app; they are about meeting the customer’s needs.

Very often, we are not talking about reinventing the wheel, but about deploying communication solutions that complement existing technology and services, rather than disrupting them. Crucially it is the recognition that different consumers are looking for very different relationships; while this is often a generational thing, treating customers as individuals is key.

And banks are uniquely placed to leverage valuable data about their customers. Insights into what a customer spends, their income and their saving patterns enable banks to build up a detailed customer profile, and by analysing the data and behaviour of customers, banks can personalise their offerings and keep ahead of the curve by addressing the priorities of each individual customer.

The customer is always right

It’s a well-worn mantra, but the average consumer has never held as much power as they do today. Whether they are giving feedback, or lodging a complaint in store or via email or by using an automated chat service, you need to respond rapidly and to their satisfaction.

The competitive landscape has changed forever, with more agile challenger brands coming to the fore and vying for consumers’ attention. Some of the most recognisable brands in banking and insurance can trace their foundation back to the 17th and 18thcenturies, but change is a cruel mistress, and she’s never moved faster.

Value based commodities, where price isn’t necessarily the defining factor in where a consumer procures financial services from, mean that connected customer experiences that are both personalised and pleasing are crucial to retaining and growing customer bases. Customer experiences should be informed by rich data from every channel and customer touch point, to make each individual experience feel seamless and truly personal.

Implementing a unified data platform to manage the flow of data within the organisation will allow financial service providers to present customers with multiple options on how they would like to communicate with their banks across a seamless network of channels. Customer happiness is of course essential, but it also serves the provider to have more streamlined, efficient processes in place.

This consumer-led revolution is calling for banks to adopt a cross-channel solution to customer service and those that fail to take the leap will find themselves being left behind the competition.

Download our exclusive report to discover the findings of research commissioned by Engage Hub, which surveyed over 2,000 consumers in the retail, mobile network operator (MNO), and financial service (FS) sectors to find out where brands are falling short and where they need to be more proactive rather than reactive when it comes to customer engagement.