In a recent BWG Strategy survey, feedback was acquired from 77 US banking professionals across a spectrum of bank sizes and locations. They answered questions on the frequency of branch visits, the frequency of digital use, and their predictions for the next couple of years.
Not surprisingly, the survey showed that the overall number of in-person branch visits is going down, and the frequency of digital use is going up. However, the survey revealed some shocking new insights.
There are a few key themes banks are looking at right now. This includes seamless payments and API-driven experiences (also known as banking as a service), future-proofing infrastructures, and integrating business models offered by organizations outside of banking.
On top of this, banks are digging into technology. They’re analyzing cloud capabilities, moving beyond data lakes, and considering the impact of AI and other technologies. They’re also focused on regulation and security measures.
Two of the biggest upcoming trends in retail banking are personalization and data-driven banking. Consumers are receiving personalization in other areas of their life, and they expect the same from their banking tools. They’re looking for specific information or a product or service that’s unique to their needs.
As customers ask for increased personalization and ease of use, banks are moving toward the most convenient set of tools. Oftentimes, this means digital tools. But what about the customer who isn’t tech-savvy?
Alex reminds us that personalization is all about the customer, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be digital-based. Alex explains, “Whatever you do in one area should be applicable elsewhere. So when we talk about personalization and giving advice to customers, it should not just be we are only going to do that on the mobile app, or we're only going to do that online. At a branch, that kind of personalization bubbles up because the branch employee gets the information to relay that advice to a customer in person or call center person as well. So you’ve got to be thinking holistically about all the channels and how customers deal with them.”
It’s not about in-person or digital — all of your services have to work cohesively and cater to the customer journey.
To ensure that you’re improving the consumer journey, it’s important to communicate effectively, keep the consumer top-of-mind, and gather data to make informed decisions.
As Christopher says, “You cannot optimize or fix what you can't measure.” Investing in technology can help build data stacks, analyze and measure data, and, ultimately, enhance the user experience. “For us,” Christopher explains, “we're looking to aggregate data from different sources for activation purposes — unification and activation. How can we have a common understanding of the individual across that journey and then ultimately be able to activate that data in real-time?”
Technology advancements may be the answer. This can be a major cost, but investing in technology can help you build a better funnel (both digitally and in physical branches) to get more people through the pipeline and acquire more clients. If you’re not investing in technology, you’re losing clients who are frustrated with an inadequate personalized journey. Technology, data, and the customer journey are all connected, and when you put effort into these areas, you’ll see significant success.