What Do Customers Expect From Their Financial Services Provider?

What do customers expect from their bank? This is a burning question–one that many banks and insurance companies feel they may have conquered, when in fact the reality from a customer’s perspective is completely the opposite!

Avaya recently published a report on customer expectations, with a spotlight on the FSI market, which highlighted several factors that answer this conundrum.

The research found that the overwhelming majority of business managers (97 percent) said that customer experience management is an important (or extremely important) part of their 2014 strategy. That said, just 64 percent of respondents said they felt they had a comprehensive CEM program in place.

Despite their enthusiasm for customer experience management, few financial services companies can deliver against all of the elements customers expect–less than half can do so, in fact.

That is a huge gap!

The study revealed that 70 percent of customers expect financial services companies to link all threads of communication together in real-time across channels. An estimated 69 percent of customers expect to be treated as unique, which is essentially being contacted the way they want, when they want, with products and services tailored to their preferences and shopping habits.

So, why is a truly omni-channel customer experience so hard to find in this marketplace? On the customer side, they increasingly expect a personalized and proactive customer experience across any device, anytime, anywhere.

On the financial services provider side, the impediments are many, but the top three obstacles that emerge are technology limitations (44 percent), inflexible business processes (37 percent) and inadequately trained staff (32 percent).

Interestingly, 68 percent of IT professionals working in the financial services industry said technology was the limiting factor, while 55 percent of business managers felt lack of customer insight is what’s holding their company back.

This is an area where technology can help by spearheading an omni-channel strategy and enabling great experiences!

Nine of the world’s top 10 banks have already deployed Avaya’s Customer Experience Management solutions, either on-premise or in hybrid and cloud models. We can help your bank make the transition to omni-channel CEM a reality.

To learn more about the survey results, click here for the full Avaya press release.

Click here for more information on Avaya’s solutions for the financial services industry.

* Survey Methodology

This report was commissioned by Avaya and executed by Dynamic Markets on the company’s behalf, across 13 countries with business managers in large financial services companies and with adult consumers. The countries covered are the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, the US, Canada, Singapore, Japan, India, China, Australia, Mexico and Brazil.

For the business element of the research, a sample of 153 interviews was collected with respondents who confirmed prior to interview that, as part of their job, they come into contact with customers and/or prospects, operate at middle manager level and above, and that in total their organization has at least 1,500 employees. For the consumer element of the research, a sample of 8,500 people aged 18+ was gathered across the 13 countries. The split between male and female respondents was 49% to 51%.

Related Articles:

Branch Banking vs. Mobile Banking: Is It Really An Either-Or Decision?

In a recent article, Dave Martin, EVP at Financial Supermarkets, talked about the future of branches as a differentiator for banks. He believes that branches will undergo a transformation from a place where customers go to conduct transactions, to a place of relationship-building and human interface.

The next day, Ron Shevlin, Senior Analyst at Aite Group, penned a response, arguing that bank branches are not the differentiator, and that mobile/digital technology allows banking employees to connect to consumers, negating the need for physical branches in the future.

This got me thinking about my personal banking experiences with branches, as well as mobile/digital channels:

  • Branches were originally built to facilitate transactions (the teller) and relationships (the banker) with customers. Today, self-service and automated systems can support many transaction types without the need for a branch.
  • However, when you go to the branch in the morning, you will see many small business transactions–such as deposits and cash withdrawals in different denominations–that do require teller interaction and help build relationships with the local branch personnel.
  • When it comes to community banking, a branch gives a physical anchor for the brand and representation for local charities and social activities.
  • Ron is correct in that the interaction between bank employees and customers—which we at Avaya refer to as customer engagement–can be delivered effectively through mobile and video technology.
  • Perhaps the answer lies in not having to choose between the physical branch and mobile/digital channels, but the convergence of both. In the retail industry, consumers have come to expect an omnichannel shopping experience, with seamless interactions across physical stores, Web, social, the phone, etc. For banks, perhaps the solution is going to be the same, ultimately requiring them to be “on” with all channels, from branches, ATMS, phone, email, Web, social media etc., on all devices in order to differentiate.

To learn more about Avaya’s Solutions for Banking please visit our website or click here for customer case studies.

Addressing Technological Uncertainty in the Banking Industry

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review analyzes where certain vertical industries sit in an uncertain world, using scales of demand and technology.

It’s interesting to see banking and insurance companies face technological uncertainty, which can be attributed to the adoption of big data and other analytics technology and what (if any) effect those uncertainties will have in driving revenue.

New technologies and new competitors are hitting the markets at an unprecedented rate. Having the ability to manage the uncertainty generated by these disruptions is the key to enabling success.

While uncertainty is certainly increasing, it isn’t affecting all industries the same way and the Harvard Business Review article highlights this issue well, with some thought-provoking questions:

  • Are new technologies or startups threatening my company or my industry?
  • Over the past five years, have new competitors entered the market and captured 10 percent share by targeting our customers with a different value proposition than what we offer?
  • Over the past five years, have we begun to see customer preferences change, resulting in a different mix of products and services being demanded?
  • Have you recently started offering (or are planning to offer) a product or service that has never been offered before?

I encourage you to answer these questions and take a look at the “grid” and decide for yourself – do you fit where you expected to?

Is Big Data in the Financial Sector Just a Numbers Game?

Banking has historically been a very data-oriented industry, but there has recently been a significant push toward implementing “big data” strategies to refine processes and better understand customers.

I was fortunate enough to attend a recent IDC webinar that talked about this very topic, with a particular focus on how banks can adopt big data analytics and how this newfound surplus of information can be used in innovative ways.

Omni-channel interaction, hyper-personalization, and single-customer view are among the areas where data and analytics are enabling innovation.

“In-market adoption of big data and analytics has reached the point where the capabilities and applications these technologies enable are becoming mainstream for a growing number of financial services firms,” said Michael Versace, Global Research Director at IDC Financial Insights.

Big data analytics can help banking executives deal with a variety of business issues such as customer engagement, risk management, productivity, and shareholder profitability. This can provide banks a potential competitive advantage, which–let’s face it–is always well received in such a tough market.

Without doubt, mobility and big data are leading the technology needs in banking. When it comes to technology enablers, we tend to make a beeline to the CTO office.

In addressing some of the business imperatives mentioned above, and specifically relating to big data, we need to look beyond the world of IT executives. Why? Because data impacts beyond IT, and line of businesses in this sector are incredibly varied, very influential and need to be considered in bids.

With a coordinated technology lens we can help support global banks and enable them to “know their customer better.” Who wouldn’t want that?

If you are an IDC customer, watch the replay of the webcast here.

Click here to learn more about Avaya’s banking solutions.