The word seamless seems to be on everyone’s lips these days. We know we have to move away from the bulky silos of old infrastructures and thinking to seamless customer experiences – but how do we get there? We know that we need to quickly get on board with providing an integrated omni-channel presence. But there are serious gaps to contend with. There are antiquated back-end legacy systems. There are different approaches to customer experience across an organisation. Website developers don’t speak with customer service teams. It’s hardly seamless behind the scenes.
As PwC’s banking 2020 survey puts it, there is “a growing awareness to develop a more customer-centric business model, but a significant gap in preparedness remains.” According to the survey, just over 60 percent of bank executives say that a customer-centric model is very important. While 75% of banks are making investments in this area, only 17% feel “very prepared”.
Just about everyone in the industry understands that digital transformation is a do-or-die imperative. So how do we do cross the divide between a transformation strategy and a bank’s reality? According to a PwC report, that depends on a bank’s appetite for risk as well as how much they are willing to spend on their digital transformation journey. The report outlines three routes for transformation:
- Front End Only: Improve the customer experience on the front end, leaving back-end infrastructure as is.
- Wrap & Digitise: fix the front end while gradually replacing legacy infrastructure with digital technology, that is integrated with middle and back end.
- Go All-In: create a digital native bank from the ground up using a fully digital customer interface and back-end.
It’s important to remember that customers do not care nor do they want to know about a bank’s transformation challenges. They expect a certain standard in service, regardless of a bank’s internal challenges in operations or with antiquated back-end infrastructure. They expect conversations to be open when they want. Research from Google indicates that 98% of Americans switch between devices in the same day. With 46% of the population managing their finances online, this means some customers will switch between devices before completing a financial activity. They expect to start a task on their mobile phone at home in their pyjamas and then complete it later in the day when it suits them, either in person or on any one of their devices. They also expect not to have to repeat their personal information online or in person. This is the kind of seamless experience that bank must deliver for these interrupted transactions, regardless of the device used along the way.
The good news is that there are tools available to bridge the gap between aspirations and reality, creating meaningful and efficient omni-channel customer experiences. A key element of a great customer experience is access to customer knowledge that in turns, empowers agents and advisors to support and advise customers on any channel they choose. Features that offer a 360-degree view of the customer and their context make all the difference between an annoyed customer who has been on hold for too long to a satisfied customer who had their needs anticipated and met.