What do customer expect from banks in 2022 and beyond?
Hardly a day goes by without a report on online channels attracting more and more people. Therefore, it goes without saying that all the companies, banks included, have to embrace the technologies they once considered niche – and, to be fair, they do so eagerly.
Still, innovative solutions on their own are not enough to let banks keep up with dynamically changing consumer preferences in digital banking. Modern customers are not satisfied with basic applications or on-call support; now, they want their banks to expand their services even more. What should these institutions focus on if they meet the needs of their audiences?
Customization among consumer preferences in banking
Customer preferences for all the industries, finances included, make it clear: target audiences expect their services to be tailored to their needs. However, with limited range of features, options and operations, banks and financial institutions are still struggling to adjust to that need – even though solutions enabling such approach are already available.
In contrary to a popular opinion, customization does not involve creating separate applications for each customer. In fact, in most of the cases it can become a part of financial services thanks to existing digital infrastructure by:
- Advanced data analysis mechanisms for customer profiling, including AI banking,
- Automated processes adjusting to customers’ behavior,
- Personalized cross-selling programs based on previous actions,
- Action-driven and location-driven notifications,
- Dynamic ads and content both in applications and other channels.
Coherent communication: more than just messages
Modern customers are surrounded by dozens of channels: videos, calls, messages, notifications, displays, and more. Obviously, bank also use all of them to communicate with their target audiences; however, they often fail to do it in a convincing way.
With all these channels being a part of one institution, customers expect to be provided with coherent and relevant communication in all of them, and this is one of the key customer preferences in banking. Unfortunately, many banks fail to do that because:
- They focus only on a chosen scope of channels,
- They differentiate the communication in various channels, causing general confusion,
- They struggle to identify new channels and present themselves there,
- They fail to support customer journeys completed in multiple different channels, I.e. Online resources, voice calls and digital onboarding combined.
These problems are fairly common in official communication from a bank; still, they may have a devastating effect on their customers. That is because:
- Banks are key institutions for a vast majority of people; as such, they are expected to maintain both professional and reliable communication to ensure that all the issues and questions are addressed. In failing to do so, banks risk losing the trust of their customers and directly influence their decisions regarding the choice of a bank.
- Banks’ communication is under a constant threat from frauds, scams and other illegal activities. However, they are more likely to work as intended when banks do not provide their customers with verified communication channels.
- Banks’ communication is acting as a basic source of information about finances. Any doubts related to those messages have a direct impact on banks’ image and customer experiences.
Therefore, it can easily be seen that, based on customer preferences in retail banking, communication should not be treated as a mere duty; it should play a part of a crucial tool connecting banks with their customer awaiting the news from a reliable source.
Mobile banking made easier in response to customer preferences
Mobile banking platforms became a standard in the industry. Still, they evolve according to the customer preferences in banking – and they are about to take another step forward.
Having become a base for all the operations, mobile applications are now required to be simpler than ever before – all while offering as many features as possible. Complicated processes, long verification and unintuitive design are all things of the past. To add to that, they can also have a negative impact on customers, as the majority of them is likely to entirely abandon a transaction when met with overly complicated procedures.
The pressure on UX/UI design, customer-centric approach and comprehensive, yet simple processes also impact security measures implemented in banking applications. According to the most recent customer preferences in banking, financial institutions are expected to simplify their authentication and verification procedures, as well as increase the number of features available without login. To add to that, they also need to improve the repeatable actions available on mobile devices by limiting the number of steps necessary to complete the process and introducing basic tips and hints to guide the customer through the process and ensure his satisfaction.
Multiple channels adjusted to consumers’ needs
Prior to COVID-19, the digital revolution was already under way with desktop and mobile applications being a standard in financial industry; still, the outbreak of the pandemic has significantly accelerated this process, forcing banks and other financial institutions to go online almost overnight. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that consumer preferences in banking have changed, too, as the eyes of the customers set on the digital channels.
With bank branches closed and meetings limited to the minimum, basic features were not enough to sustain banking services and respond to customer needs in banking. As a result, additional channels were soon introduced to financial institutions, and now they are set to become another standard in the industry. That includes: chats, video channels, self-service modules, voice calls, notifications, messages to bank advisor, scheduled meetings, automatic assistance based on AI modules, finance management and many more!
With the scope of channels expanding, the number of opportunities for banks is also on the rise. Omnichannel strategy, as one of the key consumer preferences in banking, can be used to:
- Improve self-service processes. Automated hints and recommendations combined with a well-designed customer journey is a successful alternative for direct contact with bank’s advisors, available 24/7. It can also be a source of profits, thanks to a minimal cost of executing a single operation or completing transaction.
- Provide customers with access to their financial information and services regardless of the circumstances. Restrictions, closures and unexpected events are not an issue when all the banking processes can be completed in digital channels. To add to that, the most recent customer preferences in retail banking show that consumers are more and more willing to use those means of communication, even with fully functioning branches at hand.
- Support customers whenever and wherever they are. With both automated solutions and remote human support at hand, consumer can interact with bank on their own terms, resulting in greater satisfaction and the feeling of independence – all while being a source of profit for the financial institutions.
Constant support as a part of customer preferences in banking
Nowadays, customers like to be empowered, independent and, above all, free from the endless queues they usually encounter in bank branches, as shown by almost all customer preferences mentioned above. Still, in some cases they require immediate assistance – and it is bank’s role to provide it.
Fortunately, omnichannel approach combined with coherent communication can prevent customers from abandoning decisions and transactions. Still, with human support available at hand, customers are not left alone with their needs and can easily contact their advisors, should such a need arise.
Such an approach is not only beneficial for customers, but also for the banks. While supporting both independent operations and face-to-face meetings, they appeal to customers with various preferences. To add to that, they also show bank’s interest in customer and his well-being, in contrary to popular belief of financial institutions being focused on their own profits. All those things combined provide customer with comprehensive experience powered by their real needs.