From the days of ledgers & record rooms to computers & server rooms, and now to smartphones & smart watches, the “what” of banking has not changed much, but the “how” of banking has changed a lot. Empathy, defined as “understanding of another’s situation, feelings and motives” is one of the most important concepts that should be incorporated by anyone who aspires to delight customers. CX is all about how customers feel, and customer-oriented service providers are constantly striving to find the best ways to make their customers feel good. This requires understanding their context and concerns, and presenting an experience which is contextual, frictionless, personalized, adaptive and consistent across all channels of interaction.
The Cambridge University dictionary has two definitions for the word context. These are:
“the situation within which something exists or happens, and that can help explain it” and “the influences and events related to a particular event or situation”.
In a financial application, the engagements and experiences offered to the customer should be tailored for the context the customer is accessing the application in. It is necessary to connect with banking customers in a way that is most relevant to them, individually. Deriving the context is crucial in order to understand and relate to each individual customer on the various aspects of banking that they come across or engage with. A context-aware banking solution, can arrive at the steps required to help customers in all their transactions and make the experience so personalized that it makes the customers feel as if it’s made especially for them. For example,
Greeting the customer for birthday and relationship anniversaries
In case of scheduled transfers, knowing the customer’s balance to alert a possible overdraft, or providing guidance on the expenditures being made to prevent an overdraft can help a customer greatly
Making use of information such as location to detect and notify fraudulent transactions
For a customer, banks can derive the context at various levels, and create great engagements and experiences. Context is determined by a combination of business moments, personal attributes and real time attributes. Deriving the appropriate context helps in understanding and forecasting the various engagements relevant to real life situations.
One of the definitions of frictionless experience advocates limited clicks and data entry to complete a transaction. But, to provide a true frictionless experience an application must eliminate all the factors that make a customer move away from the screen, deduce values in mind, use an external tool to arrive at a decision, etc. The application should utilize device data and lifestyle-based behavioral data to tailor experiences in addition to adapting the experience based on the customer’s usage pattern and history. This makes the application appear very personal to the user.
The importance of human psychology when it comes to perception of time, determines how fast an application is. While the clock time is absolute, the “mind time” differs based on the experience received during the interaction. There are two moments or modes of interaction with the user, disengaged and engaged. In the disengaged moment, the user keeps waiting, or does not know the state of the action they have performed, whereas in the engaged moment, users may not realize they are waiting for any operation on the app, so the users (kept in engaged mode) believe the application is running flawlessly without any issues, and thus feel a frictionless and seamless experience. Such a belief is imparted to the users by following techniques such as instant feedback, usage of familiar gestures/actions, appropriate spinner/loaders, etc.
As mentioned initially, these concepts don’t apply only to online or mobile banking experiences, but to branch banking and all other channels of interaction too. In addition to using technology to connect with the customers, banks must also consider financially sustainable technological solutions that can be offered to all their customers. For example, expensive propositions such as robots and digital walls are currently limited to prototype branches. But, smartphones could be the primary means for communicating faster with a customer visiting a branch. Face detection to notify a relationship manager about a customer visit, Augmented Reality (AR) for personalized offers, beacons to greet and welcome the customer, fingerprint scanners for faster authentication, infra-red object counters to intimate the crowd analysis real-time on the customer’s mobile app, voice assistants to take care of some mundane FAQs, smart watches for token and virtual queues management, etc. are some of the other technological nodes that could be leveraged to offer a simple, cost-effective and seamless costumer experience at branches.
Thus, offering a great customer experience is a mix of various parameters and all of the above measures or suggestions if followed can make for an extremely compelling and engaging experience for the customer.