The world was brought to a stand-still in March by the ongoing global pandemic. The subsequent accelerated transition to digital channels and the shift in customer behaviour in 2020 presents both an immediate need to digitize but also long-term opportunity for banks to reinvent how they service customers.
In many ways the pandemic has changed the customer perception of banks in the eyes of the customer, replacing some of the leftover sentiment from the financial crisis and repositioning banks as the trusted advisor and part of their customer’s support network during what’s been a difficult year.
However, that shift in perception also initially led to call centre spikes, long waiting times and an increased need to digitally service customers both for ‘everyday queries’ but also for high touch products and journeys which would traditionally be done face to face.
This has both created a mandate, but also a pressure to immediately digitize and roll out strategic, secure and compliant solutions. Staying ahead of the curve will ensure you retain your customer base to prevent them defecting to digital first challengers but also keep your employees safe and able to service customers in a streamlined way.
Although the spikes have evened out, we are not home and dry. The struggle will likely continue as the virus continues to surge during the winter months and into 2021 whilst the vaccination programme is rolled out. In addition, we will continue to see the economic impacts of the pandemic on customers livelihoods and finances, heightening customers reliance on their bank for support and guidance.
Many organisations reacted quickly during the pandemic, shifting their workforce to a remote model, quickly enabling new journeys digitally and implemented tech solutions overnight. However, what is now needed is a more strategic response and to ensure that none of those solutions were ‘sticking plasters’. Banks have an opportunity to reinvent how they service customers going forwards and can create the right hybrid model that works for their physical footprint, existing channels and digital aspirations. By looking at this holistically and also capitalizing on the consumer shifts during the pandemic they can achieve a model that is not only cost effective and future proofed but also provides optionality and an excellent customer experience to ensure they retain and expand their customer bases in a competitive market.
With careful positioning and product/service offerings banks can emerge as much more than a transaction processor and instead reassert themselves as innovative, forward thinking, trusted advisors who can help their customers through this period of uncertainty.
What tangible steps should organisations be taking in their January 2021 planning:
We suggest a three-part approach which balances quick wins and strategic future proofing:
1) Facilitate digital channels: Assess where you are now and get the foundations in place
2) Reduce Cost and Protect Revenue: Focus on how you can reinvent both processes and tech to better run your business, reduce cost and identify new revenue streams
3) Differentiate and Future Proof: Look ahead to define market leading propositions centered on the customer rather than ‘me too’ offerings to help you truly stand out in today’s market.
And what about technology?
Technology plays a central role to reinventing customer servicing whether that’s improving your KYC process through Karbon, creating a virtual branch experience with Klarion or reinventing your legacy stack to prevent it becoming a blocker to innovation through OpenLegacy.
Wherever you are on your digital journey and your servicing of customers we are here to help – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how we can work with you to reinvent your customer servicing.