Banks are institutions of public trust, and there’s no trust without positive experience. Banking is also one of the industries in which the accelerated digitalization is so visible – here, in the technology field, the competition not only doesn’t sleep but also continuously raises its standards. And that’s why the customer experience in banking plays a major role in acquiring and retaining a customer today. This is a response to problems, and at the same time, a recipe for increasing loyalty, a sense of security and recipients’ convenience. How can we improve and expand this area? We explain!
What is banking experience?
In practice, the banking customer experience is the sum of all customers’ experiences collected at every point of contact with the bank: that is, in a branch, on the hotline, or while using a mobile app or website, and throughout their relationship spread over time. It covers all customer interactions with the institution, from simple activities such as cash withdrawal, opening an account, or logging in to digital banking up to complex processes like getting a loan. Key factors behind (good!) customer experience include availability, sense of security, personalization, speed, ease, and comfort of using banks’ services. Since most of these activities are done online nowadays, the digital banking experience is at the forefront.
Customer experience in banks is in fact the basis for building a brand, competitive advantage and long-term relationships with banks. We treat the work on customer experience (CX) as a repair process, e.g., to take care of customers so that they don’t check our competition, and we allow them to use the existing functionalities of the app more widely. It also builds the foundation for organizational development through, among others, attracting new customers and increasing sales of products or services.
Digital customer experience in banking is limited to online products like mobile apps, websites and investment platforms. An absolute minimum is their usefulness and reliability. We expect bank services to enable fast, simple, and seamless execution of a given task. In addition to functionality, the priorities are error prevention and clarity of communication. However, practice shows that today it is definitely not enough.
Improving the customer experience in banking – where to start?
These factors are at the heart of a good end-users’ customer experience today :
- understanding the product functionality and operation,
- efficient technical and technological facilities,
- developing clear communication (simplicity and “translation” of systems into human language),
- appeal to the user’s emotions through aesthetics, personalization and increased engagement.
Hence, it is a complex and multi-stage process that requires solid analytical work, content (value), form, multiple designs, testing, and technological integration.
Customer experience management in banking – starting point and goals
Usually, the first and overriding goal of CX is to fix the areas that don’t work and to solve business problems. These may include, for example, customer migration to other businesses, an increasing number of inquiries, claims or complaints, or a slight interest in bank products/services, such as credits. Implementing new tools or modifying the website/app can accomplish this goal. However, the starting point for customer experience activities can also be the overall improvement of customer experience in banking, the development of the offer, or the introduction of innovations that distinguish the market.
Improving customer experience in banking – test and surveys
To find the area of product operation that generates problems or requires improvement, you need to test it. For example, suppose the interest in a product is significant but doesn’t translate into a sale. In that case, it’s worth checking what percentage of customers end a given process without success and where they end it in order to find an obstacle (technical, communication, or other). This is done, for instance, by research scenarios, which are carried out by both CX/UX specialists as well as end users as part of the tests.
Customer experience in banking – a combination of front-office and back-office
In addition to specific research scenarios, it’s also worth including the general operation of the product, e.g., navigation or page loading time. These areas, and not necessarily the process itself, often reduce the website’s functionality; thus, improving these parameters alone can bring a satisfactory result. In fact, the same is true for the entire back-office – it could be that the main problem is not outside (e.g., in the app) but inside: within the systems (or lack of thereof) that support the bank’s work and in the organization’s processes.
Customer experience management in banking – iterative design and testing
Managing the customer experience transformation in banking is also very important for the design and development of solutions. The key areas are prototyping, building, testing, and implementing patches until the desired effect or a goal is achieved, e.g., the completion of a specific process by the user within a specified time. Starting a new/changed service or product does not mean completing work, even if it has passed preliminary tests.
All the milestones necessary for improving customer experience in banking can be achieved by one specialized UX Lab – like the one at Ailleron. We invite you to comprehensive cooperation – from diagnosing problems and areas in need of improvement through research and testing, to implementing, creating, or modifying technological solutions.
How to improve customer experience in banking?
In practice, working on customer experience for banks can include (and usually includes!) many aspects. While UX/UI design and data management don’t seem to share much in common, they do influence each other and contribute to a successful project.
Usability studies and customer journey map
CX research is mainly done to determine what is not working (or is malfunctioning) – in the technology, communication, design, UX and UI. At this stage, you can also find areas for improvement and learn about the needs, expectations, and preferences of different customers or examine the activities of the competition. In the framework of such research, various methodologies are used, including:
- determination of the practical completion of an activity (% of users), the time needed to complete the task and the obstacles encountered;
- subjective evaluation of the product (expectations, ease of use, satisfaction, recognition);
- behavioral and psychological tests (e.g., eye-tracking, mouse movements);
- comparisons (competition analysis and A/B tests);
- location of errors and technical problems related to operation (e.g., failure to understand a message, a missing button, link, etc.).
One of the best tools to facilitate work on the customer experience is the customer journey map – a visual or descriptive presentation of the process that the customer must go through to purchase the product. The most crucial element consists of all the problems and obstacles that can worsen customer experience and negatively affect the conversion. Within such a map, personas (personalized fictional characters representing different “types” of customers), as well as scenarios (circumstances and stages of the implementation of given processes taking into account accompanying emotions, goals, etc.), are created. By empathizing with different roles and going through specific processes, we discover the customer’s problems – and eliminate them.
UX/UI design of websites and apps, forms and applications
One of the most important factors affecting the entire corporate and retail banking customer experience is what the customer sees outside – and what he or she has to face. It must be made more accessible for your customers. Unfortunately, it’s easy to lose yourself in this area in terms of aesthetics and ingenuity and, consequently, to achieve a result opposite to the intended one. At Ailleron, we recommend minimalist design with an intuitive, logical and compliant navigation. The design should also be as consistent as possible in all digital products (and elsewhere), as it builds trust and recognition. It also allows you to use the products “by heart”, that is, much faster and more conveniently. Minimalism and simplicity are also desirable in the sphere of communication – it is advisable to dispense with official jargon in favor of short messages. An example? “Pay” instead of “make a payment”.
The next thing is to shorten and simplify the customer’s path to perform a desired activity. Here, the first fiddle is played by forms and applications – consider limiting the number of fields and the information needed, introduce autocompletion and prepare some practical tips and instructions. Nowadays, more and more people are banking only using a smartphone, so you have to remember such nuances as numeric keypads in every field where numbers are required. Moreover, biometrics is worth implementing to speed up and simplify the submission of applications.
Service architecture and data management
Large amounts of data coming from various sources, huge costs of maintaining it, and the difficulty of implementing technological changes related to them are serious problems for banks. The solution to these challenges is, on the one hand, cloud services and, on the other hand, an architecture based on microservices instead of monolithic systems. The software then consists of “modules” or smaller parts that can be implemented and modified separately but managed conveniently as a whole from one place. The microservices’ architecture also allows for the simultaneous use of many different technologies on just one platform, without the need to rebuild it each time.
An efficient customer experience management in banking is simplified mainly by the Customer Data Platform (CDP), which provides real-time information to CRM systems as well as to online and mobile banking. This way, it relieves older systems, gives access to a large amount of qualitative information, and facilitates drawing conclusions from them. This is demographic, transactional and behavioral data. The latter improve work on CX, UX and UI, personalization of services, or conducting effective campaigns targeted at the end users.
Moreover, data analysis is strongly supported by the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for various tasks in the back-office, such as verification of applications and credit risk analysis. Removing these simple, usually schematic, repetitive and monotonous activities from the employees’ shoulders directly accelerates and improves the quality of customer service. In corporate banking, it’s also worth implementing a host-to-host solution that allows customers and bank employees – including accounting, HR and payroll departments – access to banking from the ERP system while ensuring data security.
Efficient communication: connecting technology and people
A good customer experience in retail banking strengthens, above all, the speed and convenience of service. At an unprecedented level, they are provided by, for example, the LiveBank platform, which offers customer service, sale of products (without visiting a stationary branch), online document exchange and secure screen sharing on the customer’s device. In addition, consider implementing AI-based chatbots: the robo-consulting which uses communicators combined with the analysis of customers’ needs (big data, biometric data) to support the customer by suggesting products or generating and comparing offers or repayment schedule of loan installments.
Keep in mind, however, that customers have different needs and preferences, so consider various communication options, including direct conversations with bank employees (e.g., via an online meeting system). Also, openness to the specific requirements of seniors or people with disabilities is gaining more and more importance today.
Omnichannel and consistent experience across all channels
Banking customer experience is based on credibility, security and trust. It is also built by the consistency of digital solutions: a similar interface, navigation and functionality on websites and in applications. It is also worth combining the digital and analog worlds – for example by equipping a stationary branch with self-service kiosks, allowing you to perform many different activities independently, but still with the support of a bank employee (this gives a massive sense of security, especially for seniors). Another great solution both for employees and the bank’s customers is to arrange and prepare for an online visit, i.e., to book a specific date or fill in the required application form on the Internet. You can use our Appointment Manager tool to arrange a visit after business hours or to manage the queue at a branch.
Additionally, tools like the notification and campaign manager, are also helpful in improving online communication with customers. It allows you to manage all types of notifications (via e-mail, SMS, or mobile app) and run campaigns from a single platform by creating messages which are automatically sent.
Security and convenience of transactions
Security and comfort are the key components of top-notch customer experience in digital banking. On the one hand, it is worth ensuring that all the most popular forms of payment (including quick transfers, micropayments, Google/Apple Pay), intuitive interfaces and fast processing are provided. On the other hand, maximum security should be achieved through two-factor authentication and data encryption. A quick response to problems, for example, the possibility of submitting a complaint online, is also very important. AI will assist us in all these areas, and even today, we successfully use it to analyze transaction patterns to detect irregularities.
Customer engagement and education, social responsibility
The best customer is an informed and happy customer – so it’s worth educating them about cybersecurity and how to spend, save and invest their company or household funds. In the second case, the personal finance management software (PFM), available as part of the mobile application or online banking, will work. At Ailleron, we have created an AI-based tool that classifies transactions and uses machine learning to present the customers’ expenses over time and provide them with alerts, notifications and tips on managing their household budget more effectively.
Furthermore, banks must meet expectations to participate in creating a sustainable future. Therefore, it is worth considering “green” products or providing exceptional support for environmentally friendly investments.
What are the customer experience trends in banking?
Rapid technological progress, especially in the field of artificial intelligence, translates into numerous customer experience trends in banking – this is primarily a progressive digitalization and automation. On the other hand, today, as never before, we must focus on customer-centricity by considering thousands of completely different people’s expectations, needs and preferences. How do we bring this together?
Digitization and automation in banking
The priority is what AI, big data and machine learning can now deliver: speed and convenience of service (for customers and employees). For example, at Ailleron, we create and train machine learning models tailored to specific data and tasks and automate back-office processes based on artificial intelligence. The possibilities are endless: they can be successfully used in processes of quick account opening and purchasing products or services (e.g., via the eKYC system and for translating files generated by customers in ERP systems into files supported by bank systems, which is possible due to the host-to-host tool). Virtual assistants and integrations with voice services are also gaining popularity.
Human-to-human, customer-centricity and personalization
The use of advanced algorithms, machine learning, big data and artificial intelligence allows you to personalize the user experience more easily and quickly – you can evaluate it in real-time and immediately react with individually tailored offers or messages. Adding to this the “deinstitutionalization” of the bank (being a partner, not an institution) and giving up formal jargon (examples instead of formulas), we strengthen the trust, attachment and sympathy of customers. The human-to-human trend also emphasizes privacy, security, and responding to demographic or ethnographic changes through, among others, solutions for minorities living in a given country or immigrants.
All this must go hand in hand with personalization: manifested, among others, in budget management tools, individual financial advice, but also in the adaptation of products or services (e.g., loans). Banks progressively allow customers to adjust the interface to their needs or connect their accounts with external financial management programs. The icing on the cake is fully personalized, open, empathic and emotional communication.
Customer experience in digital banking is a process that requires the support of professionals. We invite you to cooperate with Ailleron – check the customer stories, get inspired or tell us what you need and what problems you face and we’ll prepare a solution!