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What makes for a meaningful customer experience?


Let’s start off with a customer service scenario that makes us all cringe. A customer is clicking through an online dashboard for five minutes – an eternity in the online world – looking for a service they know the bank offers, and to no avail. It’s hard to overstate how this annoyance can sour a bank’s reputation. From the customer’s perspective, there is no reason for this annoyance to exist. Why? Because they can order something on Amazon or Apple in under a minute and with just three clicks.

That frustrating five minutes represents the next competitive battlefield for the industry. Such customer annoyances can translate into lost revenue, that fintechs are ready to absorb, cutting into the profit margins of traditional banks. We see their effect in the decline in customer loyalty: one in three customers are contemplating a switch to a bank that charges less and provides better service. According to McKinsey research, 60% of core banking profits are at risk within the next decade.

But the situation is far from hopeless. Banks can differentiate themselves from this disruptor type of competition by providing an outstanding customer experience – and they have the digital tools and expertise to do just that.

Don’t Sell Products: listen & solve problems instead 

Banks have to shift their focus from selling products to embracing digital innovation for the primary purpose of meeting customers where they are. Quite simply, that is what customer are asking for – and if they don’t get it, they will go elsewhere to where they feel valued. It goes without saying – we can only provide a meaningful customer experience when we know what customers need and want. Every interaction with every customer every day, whether on social media, or over the phone or in an online chat, is an opportunity to learn something about customers. As Steve Jobs said, we have to start with the customer experience we want to provide, and then work our way back, using technology.

Pay attention to the gap between reality and perception

Most banks have already invested heavily in their digital transformations. But there’s a clear disconnect between how banks perceive their digital experience and how customers see them. In a survey conducted by NTT DATA, only 16% of consumers said they are satisfied with their primary financial institution’s digital experience, yet 76% of banks and credit unions describe their digital customer experience strategy as “rock solid”.  If banks are going to tackle this discrepancy, they need to become hyper-focused on understanding the customer journey, every point of interaction, as well as every hindrance along the way. Instead of approaching digital engagement as an exercise in cost reduction, banks must reorient their digital strategy to focus on how it can enhance the customer’s experience.

Simplify things for the customer

According to the NTT DATA survey, customers’ frustrations with their digital experience include:

  • not being able to accomplish or find what they want
  • too many options that are either irrelevant or complicated
  • routine tasks that take too long
  • entering the same information repeatedly

Not surprisingly,  customers want a digital experience that is institutive, contextualised and relevant, and one that takes minimal effort to use and makes transactions quicker.  This is an easy fix with the latest in collaborative online tools, such as unblu, which is designed for an optimal online experience.

For banks to attract new clients and develop strong relationships with their customers, they have to deliver more than their existing portfolio of digital products and services.

Every digital strategy has to be re-calibrated for the purpose of creating a meaningful, customer experience. In the end, it’s meaningful customer experiences that will set a bank apart.