Let’s be honest: customer expectations for modern retail banking and payments were already in question before the pandemic.
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But the pandemic has undoubtedly been a catalyst for digitizing financial practices. And customer behavior changes have accelerated a shift to new online models for everything from lending to pay-as-you-go monthly credit installments that present long-term impacts on financial institutions’ customer service.
How will we see these preferences solidify into practices in 2023? Keep up with customer expectations for retail banking and payments by investing in tools that will support customers’ self-service and increase operational efficiency. Below we dive into the actions that managers can take to mitigate disruptions in the customer journey and .
Encourage digital self-service
You can support digital channels by offering a range of services to promote digital banking. According to McKinsey, in the United States, only half of the banking customers engage digitally infrequently or not at all. To put new digital customers at ease, you should invest in marketing efforts to build awareness of online options.
A successful approach should include clear communication, targeted campaigns, financial advice, and tutorials specific to each customer journey. Digital tools can still play an important role in services that require branch interactions. Use them to provide information on adjusted hours, essential services, safety precautions, or digital queuing systems.
You can leverage a cloud-based partner to facilitate innovative solutions to improve customer experience and be the difference between “sinking or swimming.”
When you provide digital channels, you create more opportunities to interact with customers. It can also improve the customer and agent experience. Customers will have the flexibility to decide how and when they want to contact you and choose the right payment platform. At the same time, agents will have an opportunity to expand skill sets and flexible remote work.
Advanced tools and social distancing protocols are quickly changing customer preferences. Contactless and digital payments have increased and are often preferred. One survey found that twenty percent of respondents expect to use more contactless payments over the next couple of years. To respond to social changes, you need to provide customers with improved payment systems.
Robust digital offerings are necessary but insufficient; a pivotal contributor to customer satisfaction is the agent experience. Support agents with reskilling programs and equip employees with the skills they need to support new digital experiences. Reskilling employees is also a sustainable way to fill existing gaps.
Create specialized offerings
Segmentation and targeting to improve customer experience. Financial stresses from COVID-19 will make it harder for banking customers to navigate complexity or make the best financial decisions. For example, research suggests that economic scarcity takes a significant psychological toll and leads to more myopic decision-making.
Until now, most banks have marketed products and services using broad demographic segmentation. Customers expect individualized offerings. Leaders will need to use data to fine-tune their customers, products, and pricing strategy to deliver on those expectations.
Many traditional banks still rely on fragmented databases to house customer data, making user interactions slow and clunky. When you equip live agents with integrated customer information and historical data, you can provide a more personalized experience for customers. Agents can give customized advice on things like credit cards and personal loans, which builds trust significantly.
Focus on building trust & brand loyalty
Build trust with your customers by being responsive and showing you’ve heard their feedback. The focus has to remain on the core of your business: your customers. Delivering customer experience will be an integral part of how banks reassert their positive role in society during the pandemic.
Keep in mind that the decisions you make today will likely define your brand tomorrow. Bank customers are facing extraordinary financial stress. Consider waiving interest charges and suspending late-account fees for customers who request such changes for Covid-19 relief. Offer credit availability, a debt relief plan/flexible payments, credit-limit review, or terms and conditions review.
Practice value-based decision making when defining digital journeys
Customers want to know that their financial institution cares about their concerns. Banks should focus on addressing new customer needs and concerns while improving their efficiency and effectiveness. The banking industry is uniquely positioned to play a vital role in restoring our communities and the economy.
Promote real-time personal engagement and program chatbots accordingly. Be proactive and reach out to clients to address financial concerns, beginning with the customers most at risk in the current environment. Additionally, banks should establish helplines for customers who need support during remote (mobile or internet) transactions.
Serve in unexpected ways. Especially throughout this pandemic, customers don’t always know what they will need until that need is pressing. Finding that their bank is prepared to help in unexpected ways will go a long way toward reassuring them. Go above and beyond financial commitments and cater to customers’ concerns during the epidemic.