The customer experience will serve as the great differentiator for banks in 2018.
This comes according to CSI’s 2018 Banking Priorities Study, which polls banking executives from across the country. This year’s survey captured feedback from 236 bankers nationwide, all sharing their perspective on which issues, technologies and strategies would affect the financial industry the most during 2018.
Here’s what they had to say:
A Focus on the Customer Experience
48% of bankers plan to increase spending on customer experience initiatives in 2018.
Based on the study, bankers obviously find value in the customer experience—they are willing to spend more to enhance it, after all—but do they truly understand what it means? What value does your institution bring to your customers’ everyday lives? How do customers feel when they are at your bank or use your services? These questions help define the customer experience for your institution.
So how do bankers plan to improve the customer experience this year? The first step centers on digital enhancements.
The Drive to Digital Intensifies
38% of bankers will improve the customer experience with digital enhancements.
Today, more than ever, external forces shape customer expectations. Banks must realize that they are not solely competing with other financial institutions when it comes to customer experiences. Netflix and Amazon, among others, have ushered in an age of instant accessibility and gratification that have defined customer expectations.
Matching this expectation is no easy task. But, more and more, banks are focused on how they deliver products and services to their customers in a new era, where digital is the primary channel. They’re undertaking various projects that help them streamline their service delivery, accomplishing two feats: giving better products and services to their customers, and doing so in a more efficient and cost-effective manner that drives customer profitability.
According to CSI’s poll, digital innovations for the upcoming year will center on:
Digital enhancements, though vital to the success of financial institutions, cannot be isolated. They must interact and collaborate with other banking initiatives to formulate an omnichannel strategy.
Opportunities through an Omnichannel Vision
At 48%, reaching new customers through an omnichannel strategy took the second spot for greatest opportunities in 2018.
The idea behind omnichannel banking is consistency: creating a singular customer experience across all channels. For example, a feature-rich mobile app, though initially enticing, falls flat as a standalone innovation. If a functionality of that app—say, opening a new account—doesn’t integrate with other channels, the customer experience takes a hit.
But how will banks realize an omnichannel strategy? Although each institution must take stock of their unique customer base, CSI’s survey unearthed the three most sought-after omnichannel tactics:
- 53%: Customer relationship management (CRM) tools
- 50%: Online account opening/funding
- 39%: Interactive ATMs and self-service kiosks (combined)
Each on their own, these items cannot provide maximize value to your bank. However, use them in conjunction with other functionalities across your institution, and you have the ability to greatly enhance a customer’s experience—and thus, their loyalty.
To learn more about what your peers and industry experts have to say about the year ahead, download CSI’s Banking Priorities Executive Report 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).