The need B2C financial organizations to create excellent customer experiences has never been greater – yet it has never been a more difficult objective to achieve. As technologies change the nature of banking to an increasingly transactional model, the assumption is that they themselves now have fewer opportunities to differentiate themselves to customers.
This has created the perception of a highly toxic mix for the traditional finance industry (especially banking). On one hand, competing on price with fintech disruptors that enjoy low overhead costs is financial suicide. On the other hand, in a world where everything is digital, banks’ institutional knowledge about how to provide a personal touch is unhelpful, if not entirely irrelevant.
Fortunately, this perception is incorrect. Just because banking customers have moved online and mobile doesn't mean that none of the old rules apply. Specifically, the idea that because banking is now digital, all banking customer experiences are by definition uniform is patently incorrect.
Simply put, the nature of the game hasn't changed, only the rules have. Banks that understand this and take proactive steps to enhance their customers’ digital experience will continue to enjoy growth and profits.
The Self-Service Data Revolution Is Real
The biggest mistake that many traditional banks are making right now is that they're relying on outdated methods within the construct of a new paradigm.To win in the digital banking age, you must use the tools of the digital banking age. Today, crafting a great banking customer experience is no longer about offering handshakes and friendly smiles.
That's the old way of doing things.
What's the new way of doing things? It’s largely wrapped up in a single word: Data.
The reason for that is not only because branch usage is at historic lows. Crafting great customer experiences has always been about understanding what the customer wants. And today, it's easier than ever to get information.
Every interaction that a customer has with a bank online can be tracked. In fact, with the advent of self-service options, it has never been easier to understand exactly what a customer's journey looks like and how it can be best improved.
One of the most important ways to do this is via self-service tools such as knowledge bases and community forums. These provide a look into the mind of the customer. Banks that have the right technology to understand what customers are saying will be in a better position to create customer experiences that successfully achieve differentiation.
Below, we look at the top three ways banks can use self-service data to improve the experience they provide to customers.
Ensure your Self-serve Channels are Optimized to Collect Data
Not all data is created equal. Knowledge bases and community forums are repositories of complex information relating to how a bank’s customers interact with these tools. It is critical that banks have the best software available to get the complete picture of what’s going on.
Many banks will collect the lowest hanging fruit, such as finding champions on their forums or identifying recurring customer complaints. But this only scratches the surface of what a powerful self-service software can bring.
For example, more advanced software provides users with specialized methods of interacting with your forums — such as avatars and user profiles — which entice the customer to provide insightful information without even being aware of it.
Have the Tools Necessary to Analyze the Data Properly
All the data in the world is useless if you don't know how to analyze and create actionable items from it.
Successful self-support forums see thousands – if not tens of thousands – of interactions every day. It takes a truly complex piece of software to not only collect all this information but to analyze it properly. If you don't have a powerful backend tool to make sense of the data, you're going to miss out on important opportunities to improve.
Adding things like smart histories and advanced search capabilities into a bank’s software allows it to connect the dots more completely and thoroughly. This in turn allows you to better understand the nature of customer journeys so that you can produce better customer experiences.
Drive Personalization and Advocacy
Regardless of how powerful your data collection tools are, they can be misleading. Because the reality is that aggregating data — no matter how much of it you have — is never sufficient to create a good customer experience. While this may drive improvement by identifying customer pain points, it leaves half the value of self-service data on the table.
Having software that can take the self-serve data it collects and immediately use it to personalize experiences for customers is critical.
Just like customers used to value the smile of a known and trusted bank teller, today's digital customers love to feel like they're getting a personal touch added to their digitized experience. This ‘cycle of virtue’ is the modern version of word-of-mouth at the grocery store — and banks need to make sure they have the software necessary to provide it.