By Reena Raichura, Director, Head of Product Solutions, Glue42
Digital banking really came into its own during the onset of the pandemic when customers from all generations were forced into digital adoption to take care of their everyday banking needs and beyond. As the world ‘normalizes’, how do banks keep their customers engaged digitally and build on the digital relationship? Will 2022 finally be the year of digital customer experience in retail banking? There are a few digital CX trends that I predict will continue to build momentum throughout 2022:
Simplifying the Customer Experience
In a digital world, having a fast, easy-to-navigate, user-friendly platform is key. A retail banking app, website or communication channel is the ‘window’ to the retail bank and if the digital experience is slow, inconsistent, poorly designed and, with complex customer journeys, consumers will just look elsewhere. This is probably one of the most common reasons for customer attrition. As firms look to accelerate their digital transformation, the focus is firmly on customer-centricity with a growing trend towards modernizing client-facing portals first and building from the outside in. To do this, firms are looking at platform modernization with a broader lens and analyzing customer journeys end-to-end to then build out targeted solutions. Desktop integration technologies can help in this space as banks look to blend best of breed products and give their customers an effortless, cohesive, and attractive user experience regardless of which channel they are using. Therefore, simplification will continue to be an important theme throughout 2022.
Hyper-personalization and Smart Servicing of Customers
Simplification is not just important for the customer experience but also for the banking agents that are servicing customers. In the past, when speaking to a customer, banking agents have had to scramble for information from different applications. Not only is this an inefficient use of time but agents could miss important information to help them engage with a customer. Using desktop integration technologies, agents can now curate customer-centric cross-application workspaces so that when a customer contacts them, in a single click, they have all the information they need at their fingertips and thus create this ‘hyper-personalized’ experience.
Linked to this is the concept of ‘next best action’ which is also gaining momentum in the customer servicing space. Not only it is important to have contextual and meaningful information related to a customer ready when they make contact but using AI technologies agents can also receive ‘next best actions’ for a customer based on the customer’s profile, needs and previous actions.
Blending the two technologies empowers agents to have better customer conversations, strengthen relationships, and open up new opportunities and thus allows agents to be more effective and successful in their roles. 2022 will see a continued push towards smarter servicing of customers and hyper-personalization will come into its own.
Proactive Customer Engagement
It won’t be enough though to service the customer when they contact a firm. Digitally savvy customers expect an ultra-personalized and bespoke service front-to-back. Therefore, hyper-personalization will need to extend outwards too in the form of ‘proactive engagement’. Customers expect to receive insights, information and notifications that are highly contextualized and tailored to their needs in the right format, at the right time and through the right channel. To achieve this, different channels of communication will need to be aligned in the types of data and information they offer to provide a consistent experience throughout.
There is also an opportunity here for agents to take on an active customer engagement role. By overseeing the omnichannel experience, banking agents are best placed to step in when a method of communication fails and be ready to contact the customer and continue to engage with them. For example, from personal experience I know how frustrating it can be going around in a loop with a chatbot when all you want to do is talk to someone. The result? I give up and close off the chat and end up looking elsewhere. What if behind the scenes an agent is alerted that I was going around in a continuous loop and jumped in to either message me or call me directly? They could even initiate a co-browsing session with me. This type of ‘proactive engagement’ will become the focus of the future. To make this happen, contact centers will require a complete overhaul and agents will need to be empowered with the right technologies to provide the personal touch.
Desktop integration, AI and communication technologies will play a central role in both types of proactive engagement.
Creating an Emotional Connection through Digitization
Empathy, integrity, and trust are core values that consumers look for in their retail bank. The ultimate goal then of making the digital customer experience sticky is to create emotional engagement and build consumer loyalty. Whilst older generations would ‘stick’ with the same bank over a lifetime no matter what, digital natives are more likely to ‘jump ship’ if the customer experience doesn’t meet their needs.
It is therefore vital that retail banks consider their digital transformation and customer experience strategy holistically rather than digitizing aspects of their products and services in silos to create a consistent, contented, and sticky customer experience.