Developing Omnichannel Banking Systems with a Customer-First Approach

McKinsey estimates that 60% of all active banking customers use digital channels to conduct their business. While these results are from 2017, it’s clear to see that customers are increasingly demanding digital banking solutions to make it easier to manage their finances. In 2020, with physical banking channels severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more vital for the financial industry to utilize digital banking channels.

Omnichannel banking during this time of remote working and social distancing is also providing banking customers with the financial support they need to continue living their lives despite current restrictions. Customers will always continue to plan house purchases, major renovations, new cars, and other large purchases that may need a bank loan to complete.

With that in mind, digital banking channels must be optimized with a customer-first approach to ensure that every customer receives a streamlined, accessible experience.

Creating Customer Personas

As customers struggle to access the same in-person banking services they used before the pandemic, banks must invest in digital tools that allow for these services to be digitized.

When designing a digital banking channel with a customer-first approach, it’s vital for banks to keep in mind how their customers usually progress from the start of their query to accessing a solution with your in-person services. It’s for this reason that the first steps banks should take in this process is understanding customer personas, or what their customers are likely to be looking for based on their demographics. Once a bank understands each customers’ likely journey through their system, they can build tools that make that journey easier.

Understanding this means that banks can invest in the right technology for their customers, not just the technologies that they think will benefit their customers. This way, banks can improve their reputation with their customers by making the digital process as simple and streamlined as possible.

Building Onboarding Tools

All too often, customers download an app or sign up for a new account and they’re faced with a dashboard that they have no idea how to navigate, leading them to get frustrated with the software and unable to achieve what they need to.

Banks can avoid this frustration by introducing customers to banking software and apps with a robust onboarding process, which includes everything that a customer needs to know about how the system works, in a simple and easy to digest way. Many modern applications, whether browser or smartphone-based, do this by giving the user a “tour” of each of the features and explaining what they’re used for.

The best onboarding tools also make sure that users know why they’re giving applications certain permissions or information, such as their location or the ability to send push notifications. As users are becoming more aware of their online security, this is a great way to foster trust with your customers by being transparent about how you use their data.

Maintaining User Records

A key part of any omnichannel banking system is ensuring that customers can move seamlessly between communications through different channels. However, according to Zeb, only 27% of banks currently have unified customer records that track interactions through all channels. This means that customers who have conversations in-branch often have to repeat those conversations if they need digital support, and vice versa.

Customer-first digital banking channels should have the support of a robust customer record database behind it so that customers aren’t left frustrated by having to constantly explain what support they need. This ensures that customers can get the same level of care no matter which communication channels they use, providing them with a more streamlined and comfortable experience.

This is a great way for banks to improve their relationships with their customers as it provides individual care for each customer. Instead of feeling like another number, each customer is left with the impression that they are well supported by the bank. Not only will this improve their satisfaction with the bank, but also increase the likelihood of referrals and recommendations.

Using AI as an Intermediary

While customers will always prefer to deal with a human customer service advisor when managing their finances, the rapid growth of AI makes it a perfect tool for both reducing the strain on customer services and increasing a customer’s satisfaction with their bank.

AI chatbots are becoming an increasingly popular tool for helping to categorize customer concerns and send data to the relevant departments without leaving a customer to do all the work. They can be used to direct customers to FAQ answers, a tool in the app that will help them, or channels through which they can contact a human agent. Another major benefit of the development of AI is that they can often appear human, appealing to customers that are technology-adverse.

Here are some examples of how AI chatbots help put the customer first with digital banking systems.

Linda wants to take out a new credit card, but she’s not sure which card will work best for her. The chatbot sends her to a comparison page for the bank’s credit card products, but she doesn’t find this useful. So, the chatbot gives her the option to schedule a callback from a customer service agent, or to be put through to a customer service agent on live chat.

Daniel’s noticed a transaction on his account that he didn’t make. The chatbot flags the transaction on the bank’s database, automatically generates a case number, and immediately transfers Daniel to a customer service agent on live chat for support.

In both of these cases, the customer’s concern has been dealt with swiftly without them needing to call and wait to speak to a customer service representative. The chatbot can send customer data to a database, meaning that any interactions they have with customer service can pick up where the chatbot left off. This reduces the amount of time that the customer needs to spend fixing their problem, increasing their satisfaction with their bank’s service, and encouraging brand loyalty.

Written by Mauro Mambretti, Managing Director of CPQi LATAM. To chat with Mauro about omnichannel banking, book a free consultation or email today.