Customer Experience will make Winners and Laggards
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder, Amazon, “Online Extra: Jeff Bezos on Word-of-Mouth Power”, BusinessWeek, 2004
Our trends forecast for 2016 repeatedly talked about how quality of customer experience would determine the fate of banking institutions. As we head into 2017, customer experience remains a huge priority: the latest EFMA Infosys Finacle study reveals that creating a customer-centric organization and providing omnichannel digital experiences are priorities for 3 out of 4 banks.
However, results on the ground are yet to match intent. In a recent survey of 700 millennials, an overwhelming 75 percent said they were dissatisfied with their mobile banking experience. Banking clearly lags many other service industries in this area.
This is a matter of some concern because the customer experience conversation has moved ahead in the couple of years. The imperative is no longer about enabling a 360-degree customer view or making the “next best” recommendation, but of how to manage customer experience when there’s a machine, software or intelligent application at the service end. Customer experience will increasingly benefit from Artificial Intelligence enhancing human-machine interaction with better quality, consistency and efficiency. The customer experience of the future will be highly contextual thanks to analytics; conversational, involving humans and machines; and immersive thanks to Virtual and Augmented Reality etc. This pace of evolution will be too fast for many banks, which lack the foundation to deploy such technologies.
Those banks will increasingly fall back in the coming year. Gartner says that 89 percent of companies will compete mainly on customer experience. We agree. It is our belief that 2017 will see a further widening of the gap between those who understand how to use digital technologies to empower customers and enhance service experience, and those who don’t. This will be the year when laggards lose market share, even as winners pull ahead, faster than ever before.
So what can banks do to come out on top? First of all, they must become aware of a very significant shift in the technology-consumer dynamic, which will result in technology adapting to consumers’ personal choices rather than consumers adapting to technology changes. The arrival of self-learning systems means machines and applications will learn how to deal with people, even behave differently with different people.
So when banks think of customer experience, they must think not of one experience, but experiences for various segments-of-one. Here, analytics and artificial intelligence will play a huge role in sensitizing financial services to the unique needs of each customer in their immediate context, and fulfilling those needs in real time.
To provide unique customer experiences throughout the customer’s lifetime, banks must train their design focus on the customer journey. In 2017, we believe leading banks will try to articulate how the customer journey will evolve in future, in an attempt to add further value to their customers. They will also reimagine the organization and its various elements according to these journeys, and put dedicated teams in charge. Some banks might even reorganize budgetary allocations and reporting structures around customer journeys, instead of products or lines of business.
Last but not least, to attract and retain digitally empowered customers, more and more banks will reimagine banking business, processes, and products around their needs, and look to deliver truly personalized and contextual experiences.