What large financial service providers know about customer experience and how your organization can compete by applying some of these lessons to exceed your customers’ expectations, provide value, build loyalty and grow customer relationships.
Customer experience is a driving force in every marketplace today but especially in financial services. Even though the customer experience in financial services might look different than in other consumer industries, the case can be made that it matters even more. Customers have come to expect easy-to-use, high-value, and convenient experiences with their favorite consumer brands, and from their financial service providers, they rightfully expect even more.
Financial service providers hold their customers' assets – an undeniably personal relationship, so building strong customer relationships is essential for every interaction. Do you have the tools to exceed your customer’s expectations and differentiate yourself in the marketplace?
When it comes to providing financial services in a way that provides this kind of exceptional experience, it requires a careful audit of each customer touchpoint. In this article, we’ll discuss the relationship between customer experience and financial services, how to develop a customer experience (CX) plan and the latest customer experience trends in financial services.
What Is Customer Experience?
In financial services, the customer experience, or CX, refers to how your customers feel when they interact with your organization. These interactions aren’t limited to specific services or types of interactions (in-person, over the phone, digitally, etc.). The customer experience of your financial organization involves every stage of the customer journey and every interaction. This includes, but is not limited to, the following elements:
- Customer Service: How friendly, helpful, and personalized your customer service communications are on all channels (in-person, phone, chat, email, messaging, etc.)
- Digital and Mobile Interfaces: How easy each platform is to access and navigate and how these interfaces visually represent your brand
- Usability: Are your services intuitive, and easy for your customers to use?
- Accessibility and Convenience: How easily can customers access your services, and do you provide multiple points of access for your customers’ convenience?
- Effectiveness: How well your services solve your customers’ problems
- Overall Experience: Did you solve their problem quickly and effectively, and was the process to the end result positive and enjoyable?
- Cumulative Experience: How your customer feels looking back on all their experiences with your organization. Is their experience consistently positive and improving, or have there been inconsistencies, gaps, or declines in your financial services over time?
How Does Customer Experience Apply to Financial Organizations?
Historically, the financial services industry has been focused on two things: profitability and efficiency. However, a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) revealed that a significant majority (73%) of modern consumers consider the customer experience to be an important contributing factor in their purchasing decisions. In fact, customer experience is more important to these consumers than both price and product quality—meaning, CX is the last competitive edge you might have in the modern era. In addition to competitive advantage, providing a quality customer experience has been shown to increase your profitability and introduce new efficiencies within your organization: it’s a win-win-win overall.
Not only does customer experience affect consumer decision-making, but a high-quality consistent customer experience builds customer loyalty. When your customers feel engaged by your organization and find value in its services, they’ll look to you first when they’re in need of new financial services or are approaching big financial milestones and decisions. Loyal customers are also your greatest advocates: recommending your products and services to friends and family and weighing their full cumulative customer experience even when trends, deals, or PR crises attempt to capture their attention. Over both price and product, customer experience is the most important area to invest in to grow brand loyalty as a financial organization.
How to Build a Financial Services CX Plan
There are three key components to consider when building a CX plan in financial services. Each element contributes to a comprehensive customer experience and should be implemented in every customer touchpoint, platform, and within the company culture of your organization.
The most important part of the customer experience is to effectively address your customer’s needs. The rest of CX focuses on making that process enjoyable, but without a product or service that solves the customer’s problem, making the process enjoyable is an uphill battle.
Effective financial services today focus on solutions that employ the latest technology to bring speed, security, and convenience to the customer. Not only can you solve their problem, but you can do it more effectively than your competition.
Making your financial services accessible across multiple platforms creates a more convenient customer experience. When your services are limited to business hours or require in-person or over-the-phone verification to attain services such as checking an account’s status, you add barriers to the customer experience and opportunities for dissatisfaction and frustration.
Instead, create a customer experience that gives quick and easy access to your services through a variety of channels. With a partner like FirsTech, you can provide access points via digital, mobile, in-person, or telephone platforms. Because of their dedication to security and technology, you can rely on modern verification systems like 3D-Secure and biometric authentication so your security remains uncompromised while simultaneously adding new points of access for your customers’ convenience.
The modern customer wants the same experience no matter when, where or how they interact with your organization. This consistency in financial services can be achieved in one of two ways—both of which are specialties of FirsTech:
Integrated Core System
API solutions offer new ways to connect with your customers and provide additional services, however, the customer experience can vary across channels when these APIs are standalone services outside the core-owned tools of your financial institution. Even with accessible and effective solutions across multiple channels like E-banking and mobile apps, it’s possible that you’re missing a key ingredient of a positive customer experience by using APIs that are not integrated into your Core System.
Layered APIs like FirsTech’s securely integrate into your existing Core System so these additional customer touchpoints provide the same value and quality service as your owned tools, offering a more consistent and comprehensive customer experience overall.
Omnichannel Payment System
For organizations offering multi-channel payment services, FirsTech’s Omnichannel Payment Systems offer multiple services from a single source: unifying the customer experience and providing the consistent customer experience consumers are looking for.
With an omnichannel payment system, your customer service team, online portal, and client account access are all connected to a single hub of data. This keeps all departments connected so that you can craft a consistent customer experience through each touchpoint of your customer journey.
It’s no longer enough to simply provide multiple services and offerings to your customers. Each service should reflect the same brand experience, convenience, and effectiveness regardless of how your customers choose to interact with you.
2022-23 Customer Experience Trends in Financial Services
What are the current leaders in financial services doing to improve their customer experience in 2022 and beyond? Below, we’ve highlighted some of the latest CX trends in finance for you. As you read through the following trends, consider your customers and how you might leverage any of these to deliver a world-class customer experience, expand your customer relationships and build loyal advocates for your financial institution.
A key to a convenient and intuitive customer experience is to meet your customer where they are. These days, most interactions are through digital channels. Now, more than ever, it’s important to provide convenient digital solutions that make your customer’s life easier. This not only includes offering multiple touchpoints of connection via mobile, online, live chat, phone, etc. but also digital access to customers’ own data at their own convenience.
This might mean offering mobile payments that make it easier and faster to make payments by simply replying to a text message on their phone, while also being able to quickly access their account data and reflected payment both online and with their mobile device, and speak with a customer representative via live chat if they have any unique or personal questions. This cohesive customer experience goes beyond connecting digitally and instead integrates across multiple digital platforms to provide quality service at each touchpoint.
Providing Value Through Personalized Customer Service
Whether through educational resources, interactive programs, or easily accessible services, modern financial service organizations are placing an emphasis on providing value to their customers rather than focusing on the value of their customers. This means investing in your own products, services, and offerings to create exceptional experiences that enrich the lives of your customers, including customer service.
One key way to implement this trend is to maintain quality customer data through an integrated internal network. When a customer service specialist is working with a customer, they should be able to provide a personalized customer experience by having access to all previous needs and concerns, current services, and the most up-to-date customer information. From here, they can reduce call times while increasing customer satisfaction with accessible account information, personalized recommendations, and relevant resources for each customer.
This kind of integrated data network stems from integrated services like FirsTech’s omnichannel payment platform. With all touchpoints being directed to a single source, customer information is easily accessible and equally secure.
Numerous touchpoints from online, mobile, in-person, on the phone, or through live chats leave customers wanting personalized experiences that match their immediate needs. Without the assistance of modern technology, these access points can wear your customer service teams thin and leave your customers frustrated from delays.
Instead, large financial institutions are finding ways to meet their customers’ expectations through technology while still providing quality, personalized customer service.
Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR), chatbots, and modern AI can now provide thoughtful and personalized experiences for customers so that staffing time can be focused on more specialized customer needs. These modern technologies can be customized to create a cohesive customer experience that matches the quality of your customer service team.
More often than ever, consumers prefer self-serve features from their service providers, and this is no exception in the financial services industry. Self-serve financial services provide quick access to the information and functions customers want at the convenience of their own schedule and platform of their choice.
Financial service providers are employing tools such as FirsTech’s omnichannel payment processing system which provides customers with multiple options to access their data and services through various channels. Because the omnichannel payment platform seamlessly integrates across the multiple payment platforms you offer, customers have access to efficient self-service options that provide the convenience and speed they’re looking for.
Investing in Modern Security Solutions
Security has long been an industry standard in financial services, but more and more organizations are investing in greater security systems to combat the increasing threats of cyberattacks on financial institutions. While security is a fundamental need of financial services, employing secure technology solutions such as AI to identify cyberattacks early or Elockbox services to reduce network vulnerabilities becomes ever more necessary for implementing an improved customer experience plan.
With more service offerings and touchpoints come more potential vulnerabilities for security and data breaches. The more personalized and customized nature of the modern customer experience also requires more personal and financial customer data—making the data of financial organizations highly sought-after goods in the digital black market, and the entities storing the data attractive targets for the ever-increasing amount of cyberattacks.
Today, top financial service providers are placing an emphasis on modern security solutions to improve their customer experience and gain their customers’ trust. This is done through rigorous technology and through partnerships with service providers like FirsTech who specialize in both security and technology so you and your customers can rest assured that your data is safe and secure in the hands of security experts.
Partnering with FirsTech for a Better Customer Experience
If you’re looking to expand your payment service offering, integrate your Core System, or secure your data to create a valued customer experience, we want to help.
For nearly forty years, FirsTech has been a leader in providing security and technology-focused solutions for financial service providers like you. Our regularly audited PCI-Compliance and SSAE 18 Certification keep our services secure and up to date on the latest security trends in finance. Not only are we providers in the financial service industry, but we are your partners. We are genuinely invested in your success and your customers’ positive experiences so we craft solutions that match your current needs while allowing room to grow into an expanded service offering in your own time. This partnership allows you to scale at your own pace without sacrificing limited services, security, or technology to fuel your customer experience.
Our focus on security and technology, along with being a wholly-owned subsidiary of Busey Bank, keeps our services secure, compliant and competitive in the financial services marketplace.
To learn more about our payment services and how we can help you create a better customer experience for your organization, contact a FirsTech specialist today.
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