Reinventing banking: 4 technologies to modernize your consumer banking experience

By  Brent Heslop

In 2020, customer experience is expected to become the main differentiator between brands. Already, nearly 90% of businesses say they’re competing mainly on their customer experience. But unfortunately, 51% of consumers report that most companies aren’t meeting their heightened expectations.

The silver lining here is that there is plenty of room for your financial institution to break away from the pack and deliver banking experiences that are sure to please customers.

How to Use Technology to Transform the Consumer Experience at Your Bank

Whether you’re a legacy banking institution or are just breaking into this competitive sector, this transformative technology helps you reinvent your consumer banking experience to keep up with consumer demands.

Automate Customer Support with Chatbots

Today’s banking customers don’t just want convenience — they can get that from walk-up ATMs. Modern technology has led them to expect quick, smart, around-the-clock customer service that meets their specific needs.

Nearly 80% of North Americans say they’d trust computer-generated investment advice, a job which is  perfect for chatbots. Chatbots are software tools that use artificial intelligence to hold simple conversations via text. These digital customer support “agents” empower banks to provide informed and personalized advice around the clock. They also enable customers to be more self-sufficient when it comes to completing simple tasks like checking balances, ordering checks, and more.

Implement Modern Devices and Spaces

Not long ago, Apple reinvented the retail shopping experience by implementing sales associates that brought the customer service and purchasing process to you, instead of the other way around. Recently, some banks have started to catch on to this same strategy.

By supplying tellers with tablets, banks give employees the freedom to move around the space so they can complete transactions faster and establish stronger bonds with customers. This freedom of movement also means that banks can mix up their layouts to provide the most comfortable and convenient customer experiences possible.

Some banks choose to stick with their existing floor plan, and some implement private pods throughout the bank where more sensitive transactions can occur. And some — like a few Numerica Credit Union branches in Washington — implement “tech bars” where customers can use the branch’s mobile devices to take care of their paperwork and other digital banking tasks.

While this is a relatively simple technological upgrade for banks to make, it’s also relatively impactful for customers who still prefer to do their financial activities in-person.

Personalize Each Customer’s Banking Experience

Eighty percent of consumers are more likely to do business with companies that provide personalized experiences. When it comes to banking specifically, 40% of customers said they would switch financial institutions to get more personalized service.

A personalization engine automatically gathers context about a consumer and applies predetermined rules to create unique and relevant content, suggestions, and other interactions — at scale.

Scalability is the operative concept here. Over half of consumers interact with brands on more than four different channels, and 90% expect their interactions to be consistent across all of them. Manual personalization isn’t a smart investment in today’s digital environment.

Here are the high-level tools and steps to creating a personalization engine from scratch:

1. First, round up the content, data, and marketing management platforms that will run your personalization engine. Start with the technologies improve consumer banking experience(CMS) you’ll use to create and distribute the content that powers consumer experiences. Ideally, choose an option that’s capable of integrating with personalization tools.

If you’re already using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, it should help you develop behavioral insight about customers and leads. If you aren’t, good options include Salesforce, HubSpot CRM, Zendesk, Intercom, and Insightly. You may also choose to layer on a customer data platform (CDP) like Evergage or Exponea to build more complete profiles. A data management platform (DMP) such as LiveRamp or Clearbit can boost your personalization efforts by enabling you to gather and leverage user data from your digital domains, partners, and third-party aggregators.

2. Next up, conduct behavior tracking. Whether monitoring consumer behavior manually, using a website analytics platform, or implementing specific tracking software, the goal is to learn where each of your essential customer segments interacts with your brand on their journey to make a purchase.

3. Now you’ll create metadata, which is information that describes the content of a digital item such as its name, topic, keywords, and more. The CMS you chose earlier should have fields that allow you to attach metadata to digital items. Personalization tools use this metadata to find and display the right content to the right user segments.

4. Create personalization rules. Personalization engines run on rules that are basically “if, then” statements that help them decide when certain pieces of content are appropriate.

For example: “If the user has visited the site five times in the past 30 days but has never had an account with us, then display messaging about the benefits of signing up.”

5. Finally, you’ll use your CMS to create content that targets each customer segment at each touchpoint. By attaching detailed metadata to this content, your personalization engine can select the right messaging, at the right time, to the right audience.

It’s important to remember that all of your personalization efforts will be for naught if consumers never actually experience them. It would be best if you found a way to deliver personalized experiences across the always-changing litany of channels your customers use.

Seems like a heavy lift? It may be, but it’s doable with a headless content management system.

Deliver Flawless Experiences on Every Banking Channel by Going Headless

More than 70% of consumers shop on multiple channels. In the financial sector, 60% of customers engage with their bank’s online and mobile channels, while 75% of sales still occur via telephone or in-branch.

The banks that can keep up with product, service, content, and support demands on these and even more outlets are the ones that will outlive their competitors. And a headless content management system (CMS) is just the tool to help financial institutions develop and deliver personalized, relevant offerings across channels.

A headless CMS is modern content management technology that replaces the inflexible, traditional CMSs (think WordPress) of the mid-1990s.

On its back end, a headless CMS platform empowers marketers and content people to create and optimize content in a single repository. On its front end, designers and developers have the freedom to build out the best display for that content depending on if it’s going to live on a web page, a mobile app, a chatbot, or another smart device.

Thanks to the modular architecture that separates the creation and delivery of content, headless CMS makes it easy for banks to deliver personalized experiences across the diverse communication channels their consumers use.

Start Reinventing Your Retail Banking Experience Today with Transformative Technology

Whether you choose to automate your customer support using chatbots, implement mobile devices to reshape the in-branch experience, or automate personalization, you’re taking action to give consumers the kind of banking experience they demand.  Even small steps toward personalization can have a big impact on the customer experience. And with customer experience becoming the primary differentiator among brands, that is a worthwhile investment.

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