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Alf Saggese, managing director, EMEA, Moxie

The 2016 report by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)concludes that banks must work harder for customers and fully exploit the benefits of new technology. Whether it goes far enough inforcing banks to help customers manage their funds better is a discussion for the financial community, but it certainly makes an interesting point that banks,both new and established brands, should embrace new technologies fully, in order to maintain a healthy and competitive landscape.

A number of new so-called challenger banks have emerged in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis that take a customer-first approach, engaging with their clientsmore easily in the branch, online or  through an app. While many of the established organisations now have their own apps, and considerably larger technology budgets, they aren’t necessarily any more evolved than these smaller disruptors.

So, what can both challengers and the established do to deliver a better experience to the customer?

Replicate the in-branch experience in the app

Though the days of physically paying into your account are diminishing, especially with increased automation as salaries are automatically transferred, customers still want an experience – or at least an outcome – that is as close as possible to the one they would have in the branch. Information is key in branch, with signposts to appropriate desks, leaflets readily available on the most common products, along with more information as customers need it. However, maybe we can do better online & mobile and use behavioural analysis to put the information in front of the customer as they show that interest, more detail as they require?Need to talk to the information desk? It’s at this point that chat, or even a proactive piece of information presented to the customer,can be a powerful tool as, if the customer shows signs that they require more detail or clarification.If the customer would need a one-to-one meeting in an office, for example to talk to a specialist about a product such as a mortgage, this can take place on secure chat with help on hand for forms and other detail.

Prove it’s secure

Paramount within bankingof course are security and confidentiality. If customers don’t feel that their interactions and funds are secure they will leave. Banking apps, whether from the new or established banks, must have security at their heart at convey that confidence throughout the experience. This can include certifications, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certification that enables organisations to help prevent credit card fraud. While the customers won’t necessarily care what the specific certification is, they do want to know that their bank is compliant to the highest level to protect their money.

Help your customers to talk to you

Consumers don’t like being ignored when they have a query. In a physical shop, they’re more likely to leave without a purchase if no-one will help them. If the same experience happens in a bank branch, it may lead to them moving to a competitor that claims to have better customer experience. It’s the same online. If the customer has a query, help them to answer it with proactive chat functions to guide them through the process, whether it’s to check their balance or set up a direct debit. The process should be smooth and intuitive, with fully personalised options available that can guide customers through any process with ease.

For the mobile-led challengers, the key is to prove they can provide industry-beating service in-branch and online & mobile, whilst offering a suite of useful, simple and quick services to customers. Conversely, the established banks generally have the brand recognition for longevity and security, however they need to develop experiences that will appeal to technology-savvy millennial customers looking for ways to simplify their banking that offers the service on the move without having to go into the bank itself. While the report by the CMA focuses its attention on the known brands and chides them for not meeting growing customer demand, challenger banks shouldn’t rest on their laurels. Online and mobile banking will only become more prevalent, particularly as more people take up mobile banking over the physical branch, so all banks need to consider innovative ways to prove their worth to customers while still giving them a good banking experience through the small screen in the same way as if they were in the branch itself.

The best way to achieve this is to consider a personalised approach that doesn’t just offer a basic online service, it delivers a personalised approach that is enabled through online data alongside an experience that effectively replicates in-branch practices.