Financial institutions are working to implement digital strategies that not only draw in customers but keep them coming back for more. For many banks, the digital focus has overshadowed in-person transactions, leading to a change in how bank branches are used. This evolution, both in-person and online, must focus on the customer experience and customer journey for financial institutions to be successful.
A recent report by Celent took an in-depth look at how financial institutions must provide a positive, memorable customer experience to stay relevant. “Often, CX is viewed through a digital lens. Doing so may be appropriate for transactions which have already massively migrated to digital (and continue to do so). But customer engagement remains solidly in-person. Optimizing those experiences should therefore be a high priority,” stated the report.
While digital interactions are top of mind and extremely important, so are the in-person financial interactions which are becoming less frequent and less accessible for many customers. In the past, financial institutions were seen as pillars of the community. Employees knew their customers and how to provide them with a great experience. Technology and digitization have changed the way customers interact with bank branches and many now view the branches as outdated, inefficient, and inconvenient.
“Branches aren’t dead, just different,” said the report. And bankers must adapt. Simple transactions are no longer being handled in the branch, but the ones that are usually require a higher level of interaction and offer bankers a chance to provide an educational experience for customers. When asked which experience would motivate a customer to switch banks, 47 percent said a poor in-person experience at a branch. Surprisingly, this answer resonated with both millennials, 43 percent, and baby boomers, 54 percent.
“In self-service channels, technology defines the customer experience. In the branch and contact center, customer experience is in the hands of frontline staff, but it can be heavily influenced by technology,” said the report. “While branches aren’t the transaction centers they used to be, facilitating convenient and efficient transactions remains a priority among a declining number of customers entering the branch.”
For this reason, financial institutions must create a positive customer journey and experience with both in-person and online platforms.
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