The personalised banking experience has quickly gone from being a novelty to a necessity. But research shows that customers are feeling a big disconnect when it comes to personal relationships with their bank. In a survey on customer behaviour and attitudes towards their banks, more than half the respondents reported they don’t have a personal relationship with a staff member at their branch. Furthermore, business banking customers lament that “my bank does not know me very well.” In fact, more than one-third of customers have walked away from a business banking relationship because the personal experience was lacking.
The same survey indicates that banks believe they are delivering a personalised experience. Almost half of banking executives rate their institution’s personalised experience as “excellent,” while only 8% describe it as “average. Rather than assume they are excelling at personalisation, banks would be wise to instead assume that customers want much more than they are getting.
We know that customers want to be treated as “special” in a business relationship. Relegating them to a demographic based on their age or income or neighbourhood is a pointless exercise at this point in time. Why? Because their expectations far exceed any actionable insight from these categories. According to the 2017 Global Consumer Pulse Research, published by Accenture, almost 50% of customers expect special treatment as a reward for their loyalty.
According to financial industry strategist Jim Marous, “Consumers want their primary financial institution to know about their personal financial goals, lifestyle, major life events, etc. …they expect their banks to look and act more like their non-financial partners to understand where they are financially and what may lay ahead.”
While financial services are quick to announce that improving the customer experience is their top priority, they are failing to demonstrate that they are, in fact, looking out for customers’ specific best interests. One key missing component is the ability to deliver specialised insights in real time, across all digital channels. A digital tool like the unblu suite can position a bank so that it can integrate within a customer’s daily life, providing real-time advice when they want it and how they want it. When a more personal touch is needed, the suite’s video feature provides the same kind of personal service a customer gets during a branch visit. This extra step in personalisation can make all the difference to a customer who needs help with decision-making but can’t make it into the branch.
To succeed in this digital economy, banks have to deliver these special experiences consistently. Sometimes it’s a highly personal experience, where the customer needs to look you in the eye; sometimes it’s the convenience of self-service that is deeply satisfying to a customer. Other times, it’s a mix of both. With every interaction, an individual needs to feel like an experience was specifically tailored to meet their needs at that specific moment in time, when they wanted it.