8 Actionable tips for improving customer experience in banking

Customer Experience

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Banks, credit unions, and other financial services companies are vying for market share. Customers have many options for their banking and are likely to choose the institution known for providing a high-quality customer experience. Is your institution providing the experience they expect?

Meeting customer needs in banking is not only about forming positive customer relationships and empowering them to take more control over their finances; it’s also about providing support to manage your customers’ finances on their behalf.

In this article, you’ll learn what customer experience looks like in banking and share 8 actionable tips for improving their experience.

What is customer experience in banking?

Customer experience in banking is the experience a customer has with a financial institution from every touchpoint, including prospecting to an ongoing relationship. Your goal is to create a customer experience that exceeds their expectations and encourages long-term customer loyalty.

Why is customer experience important in banking

Simply put, customer experience is important in banking and the financial services industry because there’s a lot of competition. Banking customers can choose from hundreds of banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions, but they’ll likely stay with you for the experience you provide—if it’s positive.

Customer experience is directly linked to customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. Customers who have a regularly good experience will be more likely to remain as loyal customers.

What do banking customers expect?

Banking customers generally want five things from your financial institution:

  1. Easy and quick: Customers want to perform their transactions and manage their accounts easily and quickly. They expect that you’ll have an easy-to-use digital banking experience.
  2. Simple: Remove barriers to onboarding and day-to-day banking by simplifying as many processes as possible (including onboarding, account maintenance, and contacting support).
  3. Personalized: Banking is highly personal, and many customers expect personalized services. This may include educating customers on financial best practices according to the accounts they have or personalizing their online experience by name, location, and other customer data .
  4. Transparency: 74% of your customers expect you to communicate openly and transparently with them. They expect that you’ll always act in their best interests.
  5. Security: Customers expect their money and personal information will be safe with their financial service providers. Banks and credit unions are expected to have security measures to protect customers from fraud.

If you can provide all five of these experiences for your customers, your customer satisfaction rankings will likely increase, and you’ll retain existing customers longer and attract new ones with greater ease.

Customer journey metrics to track customer experience

There are many ways to collect data to understand your customer’s experience and inform improvement decisions. Here are a few of them:

Collect customer feedback

This first-hand information is crucial. You can obtain customer feedback through surveys, focus groups, online reviews, social media comments, and other types of voice of the customer data sources you may have. But, listening to the voice of the customer only tells you part of the story.

🤖 This is where a customer feedback analytics platform like Idiomatic is particularly useful: at taking your raw data, and using AI to organize and analyze it, giving you actionable insights to help you make business improvement decisions that matter.

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Web and app analytics

Understanding how your customers use your digital channels is critical to ensuring it meets their needs. Looking at data from your mobile banking app, website, digital channels (like social media), and overall digital customer experience can help you uncover the following:

  • Features that are used often
  • Features used rarely
  • Where customers need help to complete tasks (such as logging in)

Support Inquiries

Track customer support queries and use this data to better understand where your customer struggles most when engaging with your banking services and which support channels they use. Be sure to track:

  • Reasons for contacting support (the exact problem they need to be solved)
  • Whether their problem solved sufficiently
  • Transcripts of chatbot and live agent text chats
  • How long the customer was in a virtual queue before talking to a live representative
  • Any ratings or surveys they provide after the support interaction, such as feedback surveys
  • How long it took to resolve the customer’s issue

This information helps provide trackable insights to other feedback data you have, like customer sentiment.

Benchmark data from other financial institutions

Look for benchmark data for other financial companies to see how you compare to your customers. Net Promoter Score surveys can help you determine your score to compare to your competitors. For example, the average NPS score for a financial services company in the US in 2021 was between 34 and 49%.

8 Ways to improve customer experience in banking

Do you need to provide a better customer experience? Here are seven ways you can improve the experience:

actionable tips for improving customer experience in banking

 

1. Optimize the onboarding process

Your client onboarding process should be optimized and easy. A lengthy and complicated onboarding process can scare away a potential new customer. Onboarding is the first part of the banking customer experience, and it’s when they’ll form critical opinions about your brand. If a customer’s first experience is negative, it can be hard to regain their trust later. However, if a customer’s first experience is positive, it’s much easier to maintain that good first impression.

2. Support mobile banking

Many banking customers expect mobile banking options. 86.5% of all customers view account balances through mobile banking apps. While Gen Z and Millennials lead regarding mobile banking usage overall, mobile banking apps are also regularly used by Gen X and Boomers.

Mobile banking aims to make access to banking services more accessible and convenient, as long as mobile banking technology remains easy and convenient. This is why regular monitoring of your digital banking apps is important to ensure they continue to meet your customer’s needs.

3. Make the log in process easy

A major pain point for many customers is logging into their mobile or online banking apps. This pain point results in about 28% of all support cases, ranging from issues with inaccessible phone numbers, password reset problems, and error messages or bugs. With proactive engagement and communication with your customers, however, you can minimize this struggle in the future. Prioritize eliminating technical bugs and system downtime by having regularly scheduled maintenance schedules and communicating these in advance to your customers.

If you have a technical bug preventing users from logging in, notify customers promptly by putting a message on your login page with an ETA for service to be restored.

The image below shows statistics for log-in related customer support issues, aggregated from Idiomatic’s banking industry clients in 2022.

4. Boost digital security features

Most people know someone who’s experienced identity theft or had their banking information compromised through theft or scammers. The security category typically makes up about 3% of support tickets for banking institutions. This number could be even higher when you consider negative sentiment tickets related to security.

Banks are expected to maintain a high level of security. If this is an area your customer experience analysis determines is lacking or behind the competition, it’s worth investigating and optimizing with the latest security technology.

5. Improve customer support

Complaints about member services make up about 2% of total complaint volume for the typical banking institution. This tells us that a considerable part of the customer experience is still the human interactions with your staff. This includes customer support staff, tellers, and financial advisors. If your customer satisfaction scores are low in this area, look into how you can make contacting customer support easier and faster.

Here are some examples of how to improve customer support in the banking industry:

  • Make it easier to contact or book a meeting with a financial advisor.
  • Provide multiple ways to contact or get support (such as chatbots, live chats, knowledge bases, and video tutorial libraries)
  • After each customer support interaction, ask customers to complete a brief, one- or two-question survey. This will help you gauge customer satisfaction.

6. Consider new banking technology

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace. For example, the first digital banking apps only allowed login with a typed username and password. Today, some smartphone users can use fingerprint or facial recognition to unlock their mobile banking app, making it faster.

We don’t know what tomorrow’s technology will be, but ensure your IT and security teams are staying on top of the latest in mobile technology and security to ensure you’re using as advanced technology as possible. This will help ensure you don’t fall behind competitors who may already be adopting these or other technologies.

7. Offer value-added services

Another way to improve customer service is by creating value-added services. Customer experience is based on perception. Perception is based on the customer getting everything they want or need. You can accomplish this by providing value-added services, like access to real-time booking for financial advisors, members-only lines in physical branches for VIP customers, or access to a free financial services educational video library. Value-added services don’t have to cost your institution but still be considered high-value and helpful for your customers.

8. Educate customers

Customers who understand banking, investing, and your company, generally have a better customer experience in financial services. Many customer service inquiries and customer confusion are because someone doesn’t understand how or why to take an action. Provide opportunities in-person or digitally to educate customers about banking basics and your company.

Customer experience trends for 2023

The banking industry is changing rapidly. While many things, like the general expectations of your customers, will stay the same, we’re expecting to see many other continuing or emerging trends in the industry:

Mobile-first banking experience

Mobile banking is already a huge part of the customer journey. We don’t expect mobile or internet banking to go away, but we expect to see it evolve with the latest technology. When compared to eCommerce consumer apps, banking apps tend to lag behind in embracing emerging tech. Make full use of smartphone capabilities to develop improvements like using facial recognition to log in to your app, location-based push notifications, AI to track spending and deposits, or chatbots to help customers find new services and products easily. Mobile banking will always be part of an omnichannel customer experience, and it’s your job to ensure it’s integrated with your existing channels and systems to make it most convenient and secure for your customers.

The image below shows statistics for mobile app-related customer support issues, aggregated from Idiomatic’s banking industry clients in 2022.

Personalized customer service

Superior customer experience usually requires personalization. A hyper-personalized banking experience requires existing systems to be integrated so they can pass information between them. For example, your account holder database should be easily accessible to your customer service reps. Once the customer confirms their identity, the agent can see all account information and history to provide tailored responses or recommendations based on their profile.

Meeting customer needs quickly

Like many other service-oriented companies, customer service is a significant pain point for many banking customers. For 25% of customers, this is related to delays reaching a support rep through call centers or text messaging platforms on the website or through your app.

There are many ways you can meet customer expectations regarding the expediency of contacting support, including incorporating multiple channels for contacting support (social media, email, phone, chatbot, live chat). Chatbots, like Ada for example, can help handle quick and commonly asked questions without needing to engage a live agent. This provides the customers with a quick resolution and frees up support agents to deal with larger or more unique support queries.

Develop an omnichannel experience

Your customers expect your banking operations to include a fully omnichannel experience. This means they can view the same up-to-date information whether they bank on their smartphone, on their computer, in physical branches with a teller, or through their bank’s financial advisor. The experience should be the same regardless of which channel they engage in.

Education

One of the positives from the COVID pandemic was our general desire to learn. We expect people to continue to expand their knowledge of personal and business finances and investing. Banks that provide these types of value add educational opportunities will likely be favored over those who don’t.

Consider it like proactive customer engagement. Create online or in-person educational videos, courses, or tutorials that support your commonly asked questions and support queries. When you empower customers through education, they’re better equipped to handle most of their banking needs without needing to seek consultative services as often.

How to boost customer experience using machine learning

Having access to multiple data sources on the customer experience throughout the customer journey can provide valuable insights for improving customer experience in banking. To generate the most detailed insights, use an AI-driven customer experience management platform like Idiomatic to process and categorize your customer feedback data.

With Idiomatic, you get detailed customer experience insights to align your organization and drive changes that will matter to your customers.

Book an Idiomatic demo today to learn how to get human-quality, actionable insights for your customer feedback data and drive a customer experience transformation in your company..