Andy Watts, Senior Account Director – Financial Services for Odigo describes what he believes is next for the financial services industry when it comes to customer experience.

Self-service is transforming customer experience (CX) in banking, and mobile apps are at the forefront of this wave of change. An estimated 93% of the UK adult population uses some form of mobile-based online banking. And as many as 1.9 billion people worldwide actively use online banking services.

The digitisation of CX in banking has reduced the number of physical interactions between banks and their customers, with the vast majority preferring to handle everyday transactions digitally. However, for detailed or complex issues such as mortgage applications, security concerns and billing questions, there is still a real desire to speak with an agent. At key moments in a customer’s journey, the advisor remains critical and this can’t be ignored as we look to the future of CX in financial services.  

Automation has simplified banking

In 2022, 93% of people used digital banking in the UK, a 15% increase from before Covid. Covid was clearly the catalyst for both banks and customers realising the benefits of digitising more aspects of interaction and engagement. The automation of certain tasks within banking has enabled agents to focus more on advising and assisting customers with more complex queries. 

With an ever-increasing number of tools within CX channels in banking, such as chatbots, new automated customer interaction management solutions are helping advisors have seamless conversations with customers. Something which in banking is essential, as the whole conversation revolves around people’s personal finance.

Bots have also now advanced to the point that they are equipped with Natural Language Understanding (NLU). This means they can identify and resolve a wide range of interactions and understand when they need to hand off to a human agent. As time goes on, NLP capabilities will develop even further, making the lives of both agents and customers easier.

Further, the implementation of technology that spans across multiple channels has given customers a more personalised experience. Agents can now have access to historic and real time information specific to the customer, regardless of which channel they’ve used, which assists in sorting out complex issues in a shorter time frame because agents can tailor their solutions and offerings to the customer’s exact circumstance.

Maintaining agent-led banking

From simplicity to ease, there are clear reasons as to why digital banking has become the norm. However, for serious enquiries such as mortgage applications, security concerns and billing questions, nothing beats speaking to an agent, especially in banking. When people are using self-service technology, there can be a worry of malfunctions in the system, potentially jeopardising a mortgage application. Speaking to an agent can alleviate those worries.

Banking is an industry where the customer needs absolute trust in the people they are speaking to, as they are often dealing with their personal finances. This means any data that is being dealt with needs to be treated with the utmost confidentiality. As such, it’s imperative banks prioritise agent-led banking as part of the customer experience, whether in branch or via the contact centre. This way, customers who are reticent or unable to use online banking and other digital communication channels have the flexibility necessary to bank however they see fit.

Further, when customers are dealing with large amounts of money or a sensitive issue, having someone to speak to can offer great reassurance rather dealing with a robot. This can serve as a competitive advantage to banks, as a majority of banks are closing their branches at a rapid pace, and are not prioritising agent-led banking. 

The future of banking CX

The future of banking CX includes both self-serve and agent-led services. Banks need to adopt CCaaS tech to help deliver this to customers, ensuring they cater for both those who want to self-serve first and people who are reticent or unable to use online banking and other digital communication channels.

Banking needs to be inclusive to all needs and by closing banks that gap is closing. If banks want to stay ahead of their counterparts, it is imperative that banks adopt CCaaS technology. It’s key to remember that all the technological advancements made in self-service are not universally understood by everyone.