Customer Experience Trends in Financial Services to Watch for in 2023 & Beyond
To compete in 2023 and beyond, financial service companies such as credit unions, banking and lending must turn their attention to, and invest in, the customer experience. A firm that consistently delivers awesome customer experiences will outperform their competitors, building brand loyalty and growing through repeat business and referrals. But what areas of CX are worth investing in? The following trends aren’t just fads or phases, but customer experience considerations that are not only proven to level up your CX, but are here to stay.
Using AI to Increase Human Connectivity
When we think about AI, the word “replacement” often comes to mind. We think all machines, no humans. However, despite the rise in mobile financial services apps and online customer banking, when it comes to more complex finance services like getting a home loan approved or opening an investment account, 63% of customers prefer to interact one-on-one with a person instead of a software program or bot.
Therefore, the brands with the best customer experiences aren’t using AI and automation to replace frontline work, but to enhance it. Often, customer-facing teams in the finance industry are bogged down with time-consuming and menial administrative tasks that could easily be automated. For every minute spent on this kind of work, a minute is taken away from a frontline team member connecting with their customers in an empathetic, personalized and meaningful way.
Personalization has been a hot topic among CX trends for a while now, but as Simon Nilsson, Chief Commercial Officer of Northmill Bank points out, financial service companies can turn to brands outside of their sector to get inspiration for new and innovative ways to create personalized experiences. “We take more of our cues from companies like Netflix and Spotify than we do from the big Swedish banks” he says.
Personalization in financial services is all about delivering a valuable service or product to a customer based on personal experiences and historical customer data. It's about meeting customers where they are, and delivering on the things that matter to them the most. For example, the Bank of Ireland is implementing data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning to recommend the right products and offerings to their customers depending on what’s happening in their lives. The equivalent of the “recommended for you” section of Netflix is beginning to shape the future of financial services as well.
Personalization can also be as simple as addressing customers by name, keeping clear records of past interactions to address customer needs, and empowering frontline employees to deliver beyond policy and procedure.
Establishing Fast Feedback Loops
More and more financial services companies are catching on to the power of fast feedback loops. A fast customer feedback loop is created when feedback is collected immediately after a service is completed (or at another big moment of truth in a customer’s journey) and delivered in real-time to customer-facing teams. The loop allows a firm to stay on top of ever-changing customer needs, and coach their frontline teams based on what matters most to the customer. When feedback loops are slow or broken (e.g you’re collecting feedback infrequently or the feedback never reaches frontline teams) it’s difficult to take meaningful action on the feedback, as customer perceptions may have changed over time, and frontline teams are left relying on guesswork or general CX training to serve their customers.
Chris Wong, New Zealand Home Loan (NZHL) former Head of Customer & Product says that using immediate feedback in real-time puts them a step ahead of their competitors. “With other competitors, banks and whatnot, you don’t necessarily get that; where every single customer will receive [the survey] at that very big moment of truth”, it was a change Chris noted was “massive for [NZHL]”. Not only was the impact massive for the bottom line, boardroom and customers, but also the employees responsible for delivering the experiences. With a whole new real-time oversight on their work, teams are celebrated for getting things right, and have clear insights on the areas they can improve on every day.
EX Driving CX
Financial service companies are also catching on to the importance of the employee experience, and its role in driving exceptional customer experiences. Think about it: if a loan consultant is overworked, underpaid and underappreciated, the experience they deliver to customers will be negatively impacted. In comparison, when companies invest in their frontline employee experience, by providing them with the technology, tools, pay and recognition they deserve, their high-vibe ripples onto the experiences they deliver. Employee experience is determined by a combination of factors including the culture and environment of the business they work for, fairness and inclusion, well-being, support and feedback, colleagues, and more.
Investments into the frontline return on customer experience. In fact, a study by Deloitte found that by delivering a best-in-class EX, banks can increase by four times their profit per employee than those that don't.
While the customer needs and expectations in the financial services industry are always changing, the following four trends are here to stay:
- Customers will always value some form of human connectivity, especially when dealing with high-risk or personal financial issues such as mortgages, insurance policies or investing. Use automation and AI to enhance this human connectivity.
- The key to staying ahead of competition is personalization. How can you provide an experience to customers that meets them exactly where they are, with exactly what they need?
- Fast feedback loops are essential for understanding what matters most to your customers, and for guiding, coaching and recognizing frontline teams.
- You can win on customer experience without investing the employee experience.