We’re living in a world where banks need to challenge the status quo. Cost management for banks has never been more important. Bank efficiency ratios continue to deteriorate due to the ever-changing regulatory environment, causing added stress and pressures for management teams and boards as they struggle to focus on innovation and maintaining a positive customer experience.
Yet the industry has never been better positioned than it is today to lower costs and improve processes while maintaining if not exceeding customer expectations. Of course, this is easier said than done. The proliferation of mobile devices and the continued evolution of technology has allowed consumers to voice their banking expectations via a multitude of avenues.
Banks must challenge themselves to engage with customers at every stage of their purchase journey—not just because of the immediate opportunities to convert interest to sales, but because two-thirds of the decisions customers make are informed by the quality of their experiences along the way. Banks that fail to adapt their customer relationship programs to the evolving needs and demands of the consumer will be left by the wayside as consumers no longer hesitate to bounce between banks that best meet their needs.
In order to evolve, banks need to examine their processes, customer engagement channels and service design frameworks on a regular basis. This requires breaking down silos within the organization to serve today’s more empowered and discerning customer.
Banks and other financial institutions can leverage the power of new analytical tools such as customer touch point analysis to create procedures which address inherent gaps in process, communication and customer expectations. Innovative new technologies such as voice biometrics, smart assistants and self-help kiosks are now available to enable a more personalized and timely customer experience.
Behavioral profiling, segmentation and forecasting of customer needs are also popular tools available to help banks address their key customer experience issues and challenges. Analytics can provide key insights to help predict problems and prevent them from happening. In addition, organizations can leverage the power of online predictive analytics to serve up online ads that will resonate with the buyer.
Where banks can truly excel is through design thinking, an anthropological approach geared towards understanding the opportunities and pain points along the entire customer transaction lifecycle. This exercise can provide banks with customer engagement journey maps and process roadmaps which identify the implications of future strategies, providing a prioritization of initiatives. So how do banks and other financial institutions manage the expected customer experience? And how do they do it while also bearing the burden of increasing pressures to control rising compliance and regulatory costs, reduce operational expenses and invest in new technologies?
Robotic process automation (RPA) has emerged over the last few years as a transformational technology. And banks are beginning to view RPA as a holistic value proposition versus a specific point solution.
This increasingly popular technology delivers advanced operational and process analytics and ensures technical viability at more lucrative price points than previous automation approaches. Key features within RPA allow for lower incidents of error and improved compliance management. RPA can expedite back-office tasks in finance, origination, servicing, procurement, supply chain, accounting, customer service and human resources. It be used to improve a variety of processes including data entry, purchase order issuance, creation of online access credentials, account management, disclosure generation and business processes that require access to multiple existing systems at the same time.
Banking process management partners are readily available to help banks use analytics to build and improve the customer experience. Data can be used to identify customer preferences, evaluate customer satisfaction scores and tie those to quality scores. Those insights can also be leveraged by design thinkers who look to reduce the pain points a customer might experience during their banking interactions.
Focused and strategic use of analytics to redesign the digital customer experience will have a positive impact on customer satisfaction. The process efficiencies reaped by automation have a direct impact on cost reduction, thus lowering these efficiency ratios to optimal levels. For banks that haven’t yet started this transformation, the time is now. This is an exciting time for banks. It’s time to reinvent and immerse within the digital world, enabling easy, fast and seamless transactions that keep customers engaged.
This article was originally featured in Bank Director's 2016 3rd Quarter print magazine.