By Elie Auvray, CEO, Jahia
Today’s business climate requires that the customer be the centre of everything – systems, personnel, technology, offers, messaging and more. An organisations’ ecosystem needs to orient around the customer; as a result, the customer will have a seamless, positive experience with the brand. One sector lagging behind when it comes to customer centricity is retail banking.
According to the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), customer service in the retail banking sector has failed to improve in the last year. Banking was the only sector of the economy that has not improved its rating for customer satisfaction since July 2015, despite efforts to increase competition and quality of service. In fact, banks have slipped down the industry rankings in the past year, dropping from fourth to seventh.
These figures indicate that a change must take place if the retail banking sector is to improve. When it comes to delivering high-quality experiences for today’s increasingly demanding and completely connected consumer, agility and the ability to deliver fast and personalised services are key to making customers happy. However, financial organisations have long been burdened with legacy infrastructures which make them inflexible and, therefore, lose the ability to quickly personalise services. This is a main cause of brand failure for banks.
Consider what happened in the mobile market when T-Mobile disrupted an entire client locking-based market by saying, “Welcome, you are free to go. If you stay, it’s for the service – not because of the contract.” Banks need to offer the same open approach to retaining their customers.
Instead of locking customers into unsatisfying financial products, financial organisations need to restore trust in the industry by focusing on delivering personalised and unified customer experiences. Customers expect banks to meet their needs in a personalised way, meaning that their first touch and post-sales experiences need to be seamlessly unified. This requires that financial organisations’ content, data and business applications be unified.
Arguably, banks also have the added pressure of higher standards of trust. Despite the customer expecting to be known at all their touch points (digital AND physical), this does not mean banks can do what they want with customer data.
The way customer data is handled defines a company. The general consensus is that data privacy is a constraint; however, the power of customer data privacy is evident. Banks must be transparent with customers about what information they have about them, how they plan to use the data they have collected and give the customer the choice of opting out of any data collection. With the rise of social media, mobile devices, and the Internet of Things (IoT), customers have become very aware of what data is being collected about them on the Web, in the cloud and in business databases.
To many, this state of affairs is reaching a tipping point between being convenient and creepy. If the industry is to improve, banks must respect consumers and treat them as human beings rather than as data points that can be monetised. One way banks will be able to foster trust is to be open with what information they have on consumers at all times. The more open and transparent banks are with their data privacy practices, the more trust they will earn and the more loyal their customers will be which, naturally, cultivates brand advocates.
Across all industries, organisations need to find better ways of interrupting the status quo to improve customer satisfaction. Today’s consumers only have two demands. The first is to be recognised as a unique person. This means that, throughout the entire customer journey, each touchpoint needs to be personalised and based on real-time intelligence. Secondly, each customer needs to remain in complete control of how their data is collected, what it is used for and know where it is stored. Transparency around data collection practices is imperative as good customer experience is all about brand credibility.
Ultimately, banks – as with all businesses – have only a ‘micro-moment’ of a buyer’s decision time, so they must make sure that there are no distractions and build an environment of trust. The next UKCSI will be released in January 2017. The clock is ticking for banks to put in place systems and processes which will return the customer to the heart of the business.