In the previous part of the article, we discussed on the importance of putting the customer at the center and providing both tangible and intangible values to give the utmost personalised experience.
In this part of our article, we will discuss on the experience ‘bank of tomorrow’ should provide – Invisible, Intuitive, Immersive, and Integrated into the customer’s lives and the importance of being Channel agnostic.
Before time and proactive
Today, the banks are focused on providing products and services its customers ask for. The customer experience of today is all about ‘real time’ and being ‘proactive’. The banks of tomorrow will have to focus on providing products and services that customers ‘are more likely to ask for’. The customer experience of tomorrow will be all about being ‘before time’ and ‘proactive’.
Amazon is reportedly trying out a new business model where it will fulfil the orders of its customers on a predictive basis. The orders will be based on the different interactions that customers have with Amazon.
Imagine if your bank were predictive. You would never have to run around for a home loan or apply and wait anxiously for a credit card. Like a trusted advisor and a concerned guardian, the bank will decide what is right for you.
Invisible, Intuitive, Immersive, and Integrated
The ‘bank of tomorrow’ and the experience it provides will be Invisible, Intuitive, Immersive, and Integrated in the customers lives.
Banking is a transaction-heavy business. It is the role of the ‘bank of tomorrow’ to make each of these transactions as seamless and frictionless as possible.
By making each of the customer’s transactions and value exchanges as seamless and frictionless as possible, the ‘bank of tomorrow’ will become an invisible habit of the customer’s life. Only the truly invisible habits are truly integrated into an individual’s life. Ever wondered why we do not consciously breathe or blink? Because they are a habit and is done by the subconscious part of our brain.
Similarly, each of the transactions or the exchange in value that the ‘bank of tomorrow’ enables, would need to be as intuitive as possible. Only intuitive things stick to the brains of most customers. The purpose of each transaction will certainly help banks build more trust with their customer.
Easy and Simple
Easy and simple are not the same. As per exponents of the English language, when something is simple, it does not mean that it is easy. Is it simple to write a book? Yes, it is. You just need a topic, an outline, and then the flair for writing. Is it easy? Certainly not, because it needs a lot of effort.
For the ‘bank of tomorrow’ to become invisible, intuitive, immersive and integrated, it will need to make its customer experience easy and simple.
As Microsoft points out, ‘in our fully mobile, app-driven world, customers demand simplicity and are far less complacent when confronted with structural inefficiency. They want services that are on-demand, integrated and friction-free. They expect consistent, intuitive and meaningful experiences.’
But making banking experience easy and simple will not be easy and simple. If it was easy and simple, someone would have already done it.
Let us take an example of how a new age bank does things easy and simple. MYBank, started by Alibaba, approves loans instantly, using automated processes and leveraging the applicants history with Alibaba. No forms, no waiting, no signing. Of course, Alibaba is helped by the fact that they have loads of data and power of technology to support them.
But automation and leveraging data is not the only key to becoming easy and simple.
Making banking processes and products easy and simple also means that banks will have to invest a lot in building transparency across its products and services. The ‘bank of tomorrow,’ as part of its strategy to be easy and simple, will also need to build module-based products and create processes that are digitalized. These products and processes will need to be backed by data that the bank and its partners can leverage.
While the base product variations will be small, modularity will help in creating a variety of products that are catered to each customer. The ‘bank of tomorrow’ will also have forms that will be easier and simpler to fill. The entire process of banking will also be easy and simple. The key will be to map the value stream and make the process lean so that non-value adding processes are weeded out.
Just think, how hard is it to get a debit card? How many steps does it take to fill an online form?
The ‘bank of tomorrow’ will have to get into the details to create an easy and simple customer experience. Only this will ensure customers stick.
Right now, because of the way banks work, most of them play a policing role. They have a list of do’s and a bigger list of don’ts. Going forward, the ‘bank of tomorrow’ will be like a guide or a guardian which will not have a list of do’s and don’ts but provides guidance on what can be done and the potential pros and cons of each such action.
As a guide, the ‘bank of tomorrow,’ will certainly improve the trust the customers place in it. Only with an improved trust will it be able to build long lasting customer relationships.
The first step to become a true guide is to help customers with financial guidance. Many banks have started this journey.
Becoming a guide is even more important to reclaim the high ground the banks had lost after the crisis of 2008. A responsible bank should not just inform and educate through mass offerings and massive online courses but help its customers achieve financial stability.
Banks across the world are taking different strategies to become a trusted guide. For example, SNS Bank, a Netherlands-based retail bank, has restructured its branches to function as advisory units that serve as a convenient extension of their physical bank branches.
To become a guide, the ‘bank of tomorrow’ will have to provide a higher degree of transparency in its products and features while ensuring that they protect customer data like their own. Would you trust a guardian who is not open with you and shares your information with others?
The ‘bank of tomorrow’ will also have to radically change every employee’s ability to provide the best advice to its customers, even if it is saying that a competing product is good. Customercare executives of companies like Zappos are known to advocate other products if Zappos does not have products that their customers require.
The ‘bank of tomorrow’ will have to move beyond the role of providing advice and become a guide in the true sense. People trust guides with their lives and only then can the ‘bank of tomorrow ‘deliver an unmatched customer experience.
By definition, channel is a ‘a distinct method of engaging with or transacting with a customer.’ Banks need a channel to deliver their products and services. A few years ago, it was all about multi-channel. Recently, the catch phrase for customer experience is omni-channel, or the ability to provide a seamless experience across channels. I believe that the customer experience for the banks of tomorrow will be all about being channel agnostic.
Before we proceed further, let us define what ‘channel agnostic’ really is. It is moving beyond channels, and delivering the customer experience through a holistic approach where channels are just a means of obtaining input.Becoming channel agnostic will help banks ensure continuity of brand promise across channels.
As the banks of tomorrow focus on providing personalized products and services to its customers, it will be virtually impossible to create an omni-channel experience for an infinite number of possibilities. In such a scenario, the key will be to forget about the channel.
Channels can overlap. For example, the physical branch can come to your mobile through virtual reality. The bank agent can come to your office through a 3D hologram. The ATM may be virtual. Voice assistants and chat-bots will act as customer service agents.
With unlimited choices and flexibility to select, study and shop, the key will be to go beyond channels, identify the pain points, solve them, forget traditional and modern channels, and let the customers buy what they want when they want, from where or how they want to access it.
By being omni-channel, the banks will have to optimize their available resources to provide the optimum customer experience. Going beyond the channels will remove one constraint and help banks achieve a better optimum. By being channel agnostic, the banks of tomorrow will also not be burdened with a set of channels and will be agile to shift to evolving channels. The banks will also gain operational efficiency as they do not have to cater to different channels and can build messages to which the channels will adjust to.
The ‘bank of tomorrow’ will also be to adopt to evolving needs as the focus of a channel agnostic customer experience is the customer, and not the channel.
To be fair to banks, banks have only recently made the transition to being omni-channel. The shift to being channel agnostic will take time, but this shift is something they cannot ignore.
 Why Amazon’s Anticipatory Shipping Is Pure Genius https://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2014/01/28/why-amazons-anticipatory-shipping-is-pure-genius/#d9da4a14605e
 The Way Forward: Confronting Today’s Challenges in Financial Services https://enterprise.microsoft.com/en-in/articles/industries/banking-and-capital-markets/the-way-forward-confronting-todays-challenges-in-financial-services/
 Banking Experience: The Best Customer Experience Strategy for Banks to Improve CX https://www.ameyo.com/blog/banking-experience
 Moving from Omni-Channel to Channel Agnostic https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/moving-from-omni-channel-channel-agnostic-don-delzell/