The most effective way to attract and retain customers is to understand them. But what are banking customers’ expectations, and how can financial institutions utilize their input to form relevant banking strategies?
To find out, CSI commissioned an online survey, conducted by global market research firm The Harris Poll, of more than 2,000 U.S. adults age 18 and above. Through the survey, consumers gave us valuable feedback on their digital and in-branch banking expectations.
Here’s what they told us.
We Are Satisfied with Digital Banking
According to the survey, 86% of all Americans say they are happy with the current digital banking offerings available through their bank.
“To see such widespread similarity is noteworthy here,” says Bob Meara, senior analyst with Celent’s banking practice. “It’s not just the millennial who has expectations of a really whizz-bang digital experience.”
True, the younger crowd—those ages 18-34—came in slightly lower, at 82%. For millennials, digital access to banking services has resulted in their constant use, and digital interactions are where these potentially lifelong customers are won or lost.
And, there remains that 10% of Americans who say they’re not satisfied with their digital banking experiences. A small number, to be sure, but it is pause for reflection.
We Want a Single Point of Contact
According to CSI’s consumer survey, 85% of Americans want all their branch needs met by a single banker, at the initial point of contact.
“This experience needs to be delivered via educated banking professionals—enter the ‘universal banker’—who have been crossed-trained in all areas of the bank to provide a seamless, holistic experience for the customer,” says Eric Cook, digital strategist with WSI. “This banker needs to be empowered by the right tools on the back end, such as AI and predictive technologies, to help prepare them for the right conversations with the right customers at the right time.”
We’re talking far beyond the routine here—toward a key factor in branch optimization—the staff.
“It’s not a new idea, but there’s still debate around how do we really do it well,” says Meara. “Universal bankers cost more to acquire, train and compensate, so if we staff branches that way and they’re still processing lots of teller transactions, then that’s a waste of money. The human capital considerations are where banks wrestle with implementing universal bankers.”
We Want Proactive Recommendations
CSI’s consumer poll found that 83% of Americans want advice from their institution toward reaching their financial goals.
This should come as welcome news to financial institutions, and serve as a call to arms in the race for profitability.
“The one area where I see the biggest opportunity from a service and differentiator perspective is the expectations of the customer that the bank proactively offers the right mix of financial products and services,” says Cook. “So many consumers don’t know what they don’t know, so they won’t be coming into branches and asking for some of the services that will help them, not because they are not interested, but because even the customer likely does not know what’s best for them.”
Using solutions like business intelligence and CRM software, banking employees can provide proactive recommendations through a real-time view of the customer’s footprint, including relevant transactions and appointments (e.g., mortgage inquiries). Further, personal financial management (PFM) tools help customers track their expenses and progress toward goals, empowering them to manage their budgets and plan long-term objectives.
And for younger customers, offering financial tips or classes taught by a staff member or other knowledgeable professional is an opportunity to deeply engage them in a way they prefer.
Read the Full Executive Report
Understanding your customers is the key to fulfilling their wants and needs. Get the full results of our survey, including insight on security, social media and digital payments, by downloading the entire Executive Report: CSI Consumer Poll 2018.
Steve DuPerrieu is vice president of channels and analytics for CSI. In his role, he provides leadership for CSI’s delivery channel strategy, which includes digital banking, payment services, business and analytics software, and branch/retail delivery solutions. Steve is also a board member for the Association for Financial Technology (AFT).