Here are some timely reminders to the industry on the considerations needed to digitalize with an overarching customer-obsessive stance

Despite the multitude of options banks have in pursuing digital transformation, many of today’s financial institutions still grapple with reimagining and elevating their customer experience (CX).

While ad hoc approaches to tech-investment decisions may be adequate in the short-term, in the long run, financial institutions may face a proliferation of systems that cannot communicate and integrate with each other, and that are difficult to scale or modify.

More critically, it is almost impossible for banks to make consistent, coordinated decisions over customer engagement or interaction due to silos and prolonged decision-making lead times that foil efforts to offer personalized CX at scale. 

Addressing consumer needs with AI

Amid a highly competitive financial services landscape, the urgency of effective digital transformation directly impacts banks’ ability to delight customers and, ultimately improve the bottom line.

With open banking development emerging as a new reality, enhancing business ecosystem strategies and hyper-personalization will be the cornerstone of rewiring customer-facing functions and driving banks to become customer-obsessed.

This is why many banks have already deployed AI or are working on adopting it to boost efficiency and resilience. However, the technology is not just about crunching data and building models: it can be used to enable more personalized, frictionless and intimate experiences for customers

For example, AI can provide data-driven insights about each customer, so that bank representatives can manage their needs more proactively and effectively—regardless of whether the interaction takes place face-to-face at a physical branch office, or if a customer calls a hotline for assistance.

At the same time, banks can also use the insights derived from these engagements to develop their products and services, enhance their employee training programs and discover untapped opportunities to deliver more innovative offerings to their customers.

The step to creating relevant, moments-based CX is about deeply understanding customer journeys. When banks can understand the emotions and the ever-evolving needs of customers across each touchpoint, they can enhance and tailor their offerings accordingly.

Consumers, too, will delight in a frictionless user experience that offers convenience, speed, greater choice and more informed decision-making about the financial decisions that they will make. 

Humanizing CX
Customers and employees alike now demand more transparency, fairness and value from banks they do business with. Banks can meet these demands by continually refining their CX strategy to forge better connections, especially through strategic partnerships with non-financial players or fintechs.

The customer journey is broken into numerous touchpoints where decisions have to be made with high relevance at scale, and in real-time. However, the point-to-point engagements are not linear: some interactions can be automated with chatbots; others with an assigned bank officer. With customers increasingly dependent on connected technology, numerous interactions can be of a self-help nature to speed up processes, while others require a human touch.

That is where digital transformation can help each bank differentiate itself from the competition. With customer obsessiveness driving each bank’s business innovations and unique offerings, data and technology can be meshed together with AI and ML to enrich CX, allow continual discovery of new customer wants and needs, and to help banks to predict and exploit market trends faster.

Integrating AI to uphold customer centricity, by way of gathering timely information and feedback, humanizes CX and enables banks to deliver enhanced experiences that are genuinely caring. In addition, a data-driven CX approach enhances adaptive planning, journey activation, and real-time decision making—all of which can serve to increase customer loyalty and engagement.

Digitalizing without losing the human touch

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerated digital transformation in the banking and financial services industry not only improve resilience and spur innovation—the modernization also provides new opportunities for the industry to reimagine the banking experience for the ever-more digital-savvy customer and also for beneficiaries of enhanced financial inclusion.

Humanizing CX for this new era requires more than just knowing and understanding what the different groups of customers need. Understanding the “Why” and “What” of customer mindsets via real-time data and insights will help banks to improve products and services to meet the constantly-changing needs, to create bespoke CX every time, all the time.