To say that competition is tight in the banking industry is an understatement, as customers now have many options on which bank they would entrust their money. Customers still consider security and reliability in choosing banks, but it is excellent customer experience in banking that would make them stay.
This article will assert quick tips on how to improve customer banking experience, as well as some latest trends in banking services, and a short list of the best banks with the best customer experience.
Defining the Banking Experience
Banking experience is how customers perceive the services offered by their chosen bank. The Harvard Business Review stated, “customer experience involves the quality of customer care, advertising, packaging, products and services, usability, and reliability”.
Applying this definition in the banking sector, banking experience includes not only the services offered in the physical bank branches, but also the emerging banking features of digital platforms, such as mobile apps, virtual assistants, and online transactions. The success of these platforms in providing excellent customer experience relies heavily on ease of use and reliability.
UX and UI should always be a priority
It is an undeniable fact that user experience (UX) design and user interface (UI) design play a huge role in determining the success of digital banking and financial services.
Managing finances is not everyone’s cup of tea. A lot of people actually do not know how to manage their money nor going through the specifics of financial management. Banking and financial services should, therefore, be simple, easy-to-use, easy-to-understand, and reliable at the same time. Failure to provide these essential aspects could lead to customers shifting to another bank in no time.
Let’s take a look at an online financial management application that quickly became a success in 2006, but also faced an abrupt downfall because of usability failure.
Wesabe was an online platform that enabled people to gather their financial data in one place. This allowed users to better monitor their finances and make better decisions when it comes to spending.
In November 2006, Wesabe launched its online personal financial management application that enabled users to communicate with one another regarding financial management and to import and analyze their bank information. Bank data could be securely downloaded by users from the web onto their personal computer, and then the Wesabe application could upload the data to the Wesabe website. Because of these features, Wesabe was able to help people in reducing their debts and spending less.
However, by mid-2007, people essentially got tired of the process of manually downloading their bank data onto their computer and then uploading it to the Wesabe website. People wanted automated downloading and uploading of data. Wesabe then launched a web browser extension that supposedly would make the task easier, but the extension also failed in meeting users’ expectations.
Wesabe continued to launch product extensions, such as a desktop widget that shows real-time transaction details, but this feature was only available to Mac users. They also integrated into the then-emerging Twitter platform by allowing users to update their financial data via a Twitter post. An iPhone app was also launched at that time.
While Wesabe was coming out with these developments, new competitors were emerging in the market. These competitors had apps and online platforms with better UI than that of Wesabe. Eventually, Wesabe faced its downfall and closed in July 2010.
This example of poor UX and UI design is a testament to the importance of usability and convenience in excellent customer experience.
Trends in customer experience in banking
In this era of information technology, banks embark on digital transformation. Digital transformation poses a challenge for banking corporations to provide robust yet easy-to-use online and automated services to customers.
Here are 3 examples of new banking services that are launched to heed the call of digital transformation.
1. Improved and real-time customer assistance through chatbots
With the advancement of IT, the digital world saw the emergence of chatbots – intelligent virtual assistants that provide real-time customer service while letting you converse in your natural language text.
Chatbots come to your rescue instantly – they usually pop out of one corner of the screen. You could then communicate about your concerns or queries and they would instantly provide an answer. Such real-time customer support is a far cry from waiting in line in banks and being put on hold over the phone. Problems are instantly solved, concerns are addressed, and time is ultimately saved.
2. Banking anytime, anywhere through easy-to-use mobile apps
Mobile apps are now tailored to fit every human necessity, including banking. Banks are now geared towards developing their flagship mobile apps which would enable customers to check their account balances, transfer money, purchase online, and pay bills.
Mobile apps for banking and finance allow customers to do real-time bank transactions anytime, anywhere. Moreover, customers can save time from waiting in long queues in bank branches.
Other banks also launch easy-to-use apps that help their clients save money and manage their finances.
3. New features of automated banking
While automated teller machines (ATM) have been a standard banking tool for decades, new developments in automated banking are now available. One example is the digital, touchscreen, self-service kiosks that allow typical banking services such as deposits, withdrawals, credit card payments, and money transfers.
The transactions made through these automated kiosks would then instantly be reflected on the client’s banking mobile app. This allows users to monitor and manage their accounts efficiently.
Banks that provide the best customer experience
A recent article by Forbes listed 10 excellent examples of banks that provide innovative customer experience.
First off is the Bank of America. With its chatbot Erica, Bank of America is able to connect to customers instantly and provide resources. Erica assists customers in transactions such as fund transfers and deposits. Customers can also receive reliable financial advice on the products and services offered by the bank.
Another commendable bank that provides excellent banking experience is BBVA in Spain. BBVA provides its clients with an app called Bconomy. This app assists users in managing their finances in setting goals and saving money. Users can also track their expenditures and get financial advice.
Chase Bank, on the other hand, has taken advantage of the automation technology by providing self-service automated kiosks to their customers. These kiosks, called Express Branches, allow users to quickly avail of bank services without having to wait in line.
How to actually improve customer experience in the Banking Industry
With all these advancement and innovations, it is really a challenge to keep up and offer something fresh to your customers in the banking industry.
Here are 3 tips on how to improve the banking experience of customers this year.
Tip #1: Build your plan around the customer journey.
To optimize customer experience, you need to understand your customer first. Start by doing smart research on the needs and wants of customers and design your platform accordingly. Anticipate which needs would change through the life events of your customer and provide services to address such changes.
This process could be tedious, but it would spell the rewards if executed properly.
Tip #2: Establish a robust, secure, and easy-to-use online platform
While we have repeatedly emphasized how users value simple and easy-to-use platforms, banks as the custodians should not forget to ensure the security and integrity of their services. The relationship between banks and their customers is founded on trust. Therefore, customers should be assured that their entire banking experience is protected.
Strengthen your data protection methods, keeping in mind the trust your customers have with you.
Tip #3: Deliver quick, real-time banking services
This fast-paced era has given rise to customers who prefer quick, and real-time services. Customers want automated processes and instant results. It is high time for banks to develop reliable platforms and services that attend to customers’ needs in a jiffy. Otherwise, your customers may just switch providers in an instant.
Customer experience in banking is expanding and changing, along with the developments in IT. Optimizing the banking experience of customers revolves around understanding your customers well, providing robust yet user-friendly digital platforms, and delivering services in a quick manner.