In the last twenty years, the adoption of mobile technology has revolutionized financial services inside and outside Europe. The banking sector – both for individuals and companies – has been revamped, and now customers are more informed and require much more careful attention than before.
Today, banking operations are digital and you no longer have to go to a branch to open an account or to transfer a large sum abroad. In a connected world, banking services cannot only operate during business hours or close on weekends. And although traditional banks have been offering services over the Internet for years, customers are no longer satisfied with consulting their bank statements on their computer or mobile, but they need many more options.
The Second Payment Services Directive (DSP2) of the European Union came into force in 2015 to regulate payment services and encourage the adoption of mobile and online payments through the open banking. The open banking model (also known as “open banking”) requires banks to provide payment and customer data to pre-approved third parties. Thus, it is intended to improve transparency and provide facilities to customers, allowing them to consult all their banking information in one place.
This is partly why banks have emerged in Europe as groundbreaking as Starling, Monese, Nickel or Wise. They are the so-called “challenger banks”, whose meteoric advance in just a few years has completely changed the landscape of digital banking and has made traditional entities feel uncomfortable in a world that they themselves had created. The challengers have created modern banks, with well-designed interfaces and intelligent messaging, inspired by their customers’ favorite mobile applications.
Consider, for example, Monzo, a bank founded in 2015 that owes its success not to competitive interest rates or financial incentives, but to the simplicity of its functions, such as real-time balance updating or possibility to turn the card on and off by clicking an application button. Generation Y – who according to their detractors spent on avocados what they should save for the entrance of the apartment – went crazy with the user experience of Monzo and its messages full of emoticons, and now the bank has more than five million customers. Monese, for its part, has carved out a niche in the market with a similar strategy: allowing its clients to open an account from their mobile in less than three minutes.
Traditional banks have reacted quickly and they have hired digital experts capable of offering these same benefits to users and creating their own exclusive services. Meanwhile, new digital banks continue to innovate and compete with each other with increasingly smart customer-facing features and methods that solve problems in record time.
Now we no longer get so nervous if we can’t find the bank card, since most entities allow it to be switched off from the mobile. And the financial services industry has quickly realized that simplicity and the customer experience are critical.
Follow the footsteps of customers
In order not to be left behind in a world dominated by mobile devices, you have to offer your customers a unique and fluid interaction. European financial services companies have already taken note: according to our report on customer experience trends in 2021, 64% tried new channels in 2020. Most are taking steps not to lag behind the challengers. 78%, for example, say they have looked for new ways to interact with customers.
The courier, quick and easy to use, is much more present in the daily lives of consumers, which also affects communication with banks. When they have a question, customers are no longer willing to call on the phone and put up with it being passed from one agent to another; that’s why API integrations are needed that contextualize queries out of the box. Wise is collaborating with Zendesk for precisely this purpose, and also so that your agents can take advantage of automation. The goal is that when an agent takes a call from a customer, they have the latest information on the person in question. According to our studies, financial services companies with the best customer experience results are 1.7 times more likely to be using messaging channels.
According to him customer experience trend reportLast year, EU call center agents interacted 19% more with their customers, a figure that combines financial concerns caused by COVID-19 and the simplicity of digital banking communication. In fact, financial services companies with the highest customer satisfaction are 2.6 times more likely to have invested in an omnichannel communication system so they can serve their customers anytime, anywhere.
Beyond retail banking
But it’s not just retail banking that winds of change are blowing. The digitization of corporate banking is also leading companies to keep your accounts digitally and adopt technology “Blockchain”, big data and artificial intelligence.
Traditional financial services companies use these technologies to optimize their professional clients’ experience, anticipate their wants and needs, and offer more efficient and enjoyable processes. Profound industry changes are coming, based on agility, improved customer experience, omnichannel banking, and employee engagement.
Now, digital ledgers and blockchain data transmission (the essence of blockchain technology) allow companies to create centralized and transparent accounting systems that are fully secure but agile. In 2018, 22 European countries (including the United Kingdom) signed an agreement to create an alliance around blockchain technology. Its objective was to place the European Union at the forefront of the development and use of this distributed ledger technology which, in different ways (either by reinforcing the security of banking transactions, consolidating the supply chain or centralizing the database of customer records), allows companies to be more competitive and improve their responsiveness.
The numbers in our customer experience report already reflect this trend. 49% of financial services companies acknowledged that they were trying to be more agile, and banks with shorter resolution times were 2.2 times more likely to use workflow management tools.
Many sectors completely changed their business model with the invention of mobile phones (and more so last year, which, with the COVID-19 pandemic, had an even greater effect). Well, now banks have to digitize, not to improve, but to survive. It is time to focus fully on the customer experience and face the future with optimism. Keep this data: the 70% of financial services companies plan to allocate more budget to invest in customer experience technologies in 2021.