Banking is a service based industry, which means that their core offering relies on customer service, since most of their operational activities involve serving and interacting with customers. In order to build long-term client relationships, the element of customer loyalty is essential, which solely depends on customer experiences. The success of a bank depends on the sum of total experiences the bank’s employees create for customers. These experiences leave a meaningful and powerful impression, hence differentiation in this area could determine a bank’s survival and profitability. Banks need to work in the following areas to improve customer experience for their clients:
According to EY Global Consumer Banking Survey 2014, 61% of banking customers are inclined towards meeting the bank representative in person, while 50% prefer communication through phone. 49% of the respondents were in favor of using online financial management tools.
Banks must have a structured branch operating system in place, while a visible branch leadership oversees the operational activities to ensure customer service quality. Customer service representatives need to be adequately trained and experienced to deal with all kinds of clients. Staff should be dedicated to guide and assist clients in filling out forms and understand various transactional processes. Moreover, depending on the number of customers a bank expects to deal at the branch, the counters and bank staff should be accordingly adjusted so that long queues and long waiting period can be avoided. It is also very important that all systems and processes at the branch are simplified, and all superficial and redundant activities should be eliminated. Token system should be introduced to better manage queues, in addition to offering branchless services so that traffic at the branch can be reduced. Friendly and helpful staff with an overall comfortable environment significantly improves the banking experience.
Customer analytics provide insights that can be used for better customer interaction in order to create value and offer tailor based products and services. The information retrieved from customer analytics can be applied to various situations to enhance customer experience. The basic insights should be accessible and should be generated in such a way that can be easily understood by staff and customers. Moreover, the bank needs to maintain a complete and up-to-date customer profile. This would make it easier for bank staff to offer better services to the customers in addition to expert advice. E-banking apps can be designed in a better manner if customer insights are available, which will result in user friendly apps and encourage e-banking.
Many customers find it difficult to work around the complex processes in order to acquire banking services. Banks need to clarify roles and responsibilities, and simplify product menu. It must be ensured that customers know exactly who to contact, and various tasks should be appropriately divided amongst bank staff. It should be clearly stated as to who is responsible for what task, hence eliminating ambiguity and confusion. Redundant form filling and paperwork should be eliminated, because they only add to the confusion and complexity of the process.
Integrated Channel Experience
It is important for any business in the service industry to have strong communication with customers. Same applies to banks, where there is a need to stay in contact with their customers, respond to their queries, tailor the customer experience according to their needs and wants.
Banks must effectively adopt and integrate multiple channels for communication. This process would only yield result if customers’ needs are understood. Customers spend a considerable amount of time researching new products online, which should be a bank’s cue to integrate online support as a communication channel. In the same way, with the growing popularity of smartphones, it has become possible to carry out banking processes through the phone. Banks must have smartphone apps, allowing customers’ access to conduct transactions in a safe, secure and effective manner. Bain’s proprietary research found that more than 50% of customer’s interaction on average takes place through online or mobile channels in developed countries, while due to the unavailability of online access in developing countries the figure is a lot lower.
Premium customer service can considerably increase the bank’s ability to attract new customers, increase profitability, cut costs and create brand loyalty. When banks invest time and effort in improving customer service, tangible results on long term basis are produced.