Consumer demands have evolved in recent years. Today, the customer wants convenience, speed, and efficiency - and digital channels can fulfill this demand. Chatbots are just one example. 43% of customers now deal with their banking problems by using a chatbot rather than going into branch (Humley, 2018). However, total reliance on digital channels can leave customers alienated and frustrated. They still value human-to-human contact, which is the basis for building trusting relationships.

Let’s dive into the customer service trends that are changing how banks and customers interact:

#1: Digital does it best

Today’s customers favor digital channels to communicate with customer support - such as email, online chat, instant text messaging, social media, or video call. 63% of U.S. consumers say their go-to channels are self-service tools like websites, applications, and chatbots (American Express, 2017) while 54% of customers used email in 2018 (Forrester, 2018). To meet evolving customer demands and keep up with changing consumer expectations, financial services need to offer a wide range of digital channels for contacting customer service.

#2: The advent of AI

Voice assistants like Alexa have become part of daily life. And in customer service, artificial intelligence applications like chatbots, and other conversational interfaces, are also increasingly popular. 54% of customers are likely to use voice-activated assistants to communicate with a company (Salesforce, 2019). 60% of Generation Xers in the US interacted with chatbots in 2016 (Business Insider, 2016). To attract younger consumers, offering voice-activated assistance distinguishes banks from their competition. Chatbot self-service combined with a live chat solution also allows banks to keep all bases covered.

#3: A hybrid experience

A total transition to digital channels forgets one important thing about consumers: they still value human contact. The solution? An omnichannel experience. The stats prove it. More than half of those surveyed by Accenture expressed a desire to be able to switch between human and digital channels (Accenture, 2019). Banking is first and foremost about trust. Digital solutions permit a streamlined and convenient service, but building a trusting relationship requires the familiarity and reassurance of speaking to a real person.

#4: The importance of trust

When it comes to financial dealings, feeling confident in your bank is key. But among millennials, reports indicate that banks are failing to inspire this trust. Only 28% of more than 30,000 millennials surveyed said they trusted banks to be fair and honest (WEF, 2017). That means less than a third of young consumers trust their financial provider. How can banks regain this trust? By building relationships. Digital channels create contexts for meaningful conversations that can build a rapport and re-engage this generation of customers.

#5: Feeling understood

To trust their bank, customers need to feel they are understood. Customer service teams can communicate understanding through a personalized service that’s specific to each customer. Failing to provide this level of customization results in lost business. 33% of customers who abandoned a business relationship in 2016 did so because personalization was missing (Accenture, 2017). To provide the customized service that consumers expect, advisors need tools that allow them to offer this personal touch - such as secure messenger - while also providing a convenient service.

#6: Building loyalty

Of course, customers still desire speed and ease. Those banks that offer a pleasurable, seamless, and personalized experience are those banks that customers will continue to return to. In one survey, only 16% of consumers said they were satisfied with their primary financial institution’s digital experience. Yet 76% of those institutions described their digital customer experience strategy as “rock solid". There is a disconnect between providers and consumers. Banks are failing to provide the service customers want. Loyalty comes from providing an enjoyable user experience that prioritizes the customer.

#7: Recommended by a friend

Finally, when it comes to choosing a bank, younger generations are more influenced by personal recommendations than by factors such as location or convenience. Consumers under 35 are more likely to open a primary account with a bank because of a recommendation from friends or family (50%) than because it’s local (30%) (PWC, 2019). How can banks ensure their services are recommended and reap the rewards of referrals? By providing consumers with an efficient, personalized, and pleasurable omnichannel experience.

Conversational banking & Unblu

At Unblu, we understand the customer’s desire for high-tech banking combined with a personal touch. This understanding is at the heart of our Conversational Banking solution. Unblu empowers you to provide a meaningful experience for customers and accelerate sales in the process. Book a demo and one of our team members will reach out to help. 

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