By Maurice Vink, principal consultant, PeopleTECH
Customer experience has never been more important than it is currently in financial services (FS). Where banking and other services were once dominated by a small number of organisations that had been established for decades, there are now more options for consumers and businesses than ever before.
These new market entrants are fresh and agile and can offer services much more in step with the fast pace of modern life. This, combined with ease of switching providers and less inert customers means banks have to deliver the very best experience possible or facing losing customers to competitors. Key to this quality experience is mobile; yes, the ability to make payments but also the overall experience that customers receive.
Money on mobile
It’s a constant surprise to me how some FS brands perceive mobile and how its relationship to the customer experience. Given the ubiquity of mobile and the fact that people use their mobile for so many aspects of their day to day life, you would think that most FS brands have made their mobile proposition a core focus. Most customers are now used to convenience and ease of use with their other mobile apps, and are able to identify and reject brands that do not demonstrate an appreciation of their needs. It therefore stands to reason that if customers expect a good mobile experience, then a FS brand would deliver it.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. While some FS brands have a first class mobile proposition and have made it a high priority, there are many others that have not. This goes beyond mobile banking services such as payments and transfers, and applies to the whole experience. Here are some ideas about what FS firms should be doing to address the overall experience.
The first step to a first class mobile customer experience is a simple one; allow customers to view any required information (details of products and services, local branch opening hours, contact information and more,) easily and clearly. How frustrating would it be for a customer to try and find the Saturday opening times of their local bank branch on a mobile site, only for the information to be presented in a way that made it hard for them to read or navigate?
Time-pressured consumers want to find information without any fuss. This really does feed into an FS brand’s entire content strategy; if a majority of people are viewing a site via mobile then all content should be tailored to that. Mobile optimisation is essential in modern financial services.
Many consumers are comfortable banking entirely through self service. But many others are not, and a human touch is still important when those customers are online. If an FS business is to be truly customer-centric and deliver a memorable mobile experience, it is important to offer the opportunity to communicate with a live customer service agent.
Sometimes the technology doesn’t work as it should, or a customer is unable to locate what he or she needs from their FS provider. In that situation, directing them to FAQs isn’t enough; there needs to be an easy connection to a human being, whether via the phone or live chat.
Making it easy
Customer data security and transaction protection are especially important within FS, but allied to this is the need to let customers move from mobile to other channels if and when they wish. So if a consumer wishes to leave a website to visit that brand’s mobile app, then they have to be able to access that easily.
Customers simply do not want to be entering a password every time they access another channel. With mobile voice there is the possibility of using the customer’s unique voiceprint for authentication and there are other ways of addressing this, such as the new Microsoft Authenticator for both iOS and Android, which combines a simple user experience with the highest level of security for any accounts linked to the app.
Likewise, when they do switch channels they want to retain the context from their previous interactions. Mobile should be fully connected to a contact centre, allowing the customer to change channels should they require, without having to re-explain what their issue is or what it is they require.
Consumers increasingly want to carry out most of their banking and other financial services using their mobile. FS brands that ignore this will pay the price, with customers changing providers to find the mobile-focused experience that they require.
PeopleTECH is a customer experience management consultancy.