How Customer Experience is Essential to Growth & Differentiation in the Retail Banking Sector

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Customer Experience in retail banking has become an increasingly vital factor in how customers make decisions about which bank they choose and they have more power today to easily change their bank than at any time previously. Indeed, in today’s mobile-first world banks are finding that their customer experience offering is just as important as the setting of rates and prices when it comes to drawing in and retaining customers. In recent years banks have begun to leverage customer analytics in their retail pricing and engagement strategies, this new strategy is giving banks previously unattainable insights into their customers’ needs, yet it also brings with it its own operational challenges.

To discuss the importance of customer analytics and the overall experience factor in retail banking we gathered five leading industry voices in the lead-up to the 2017 Banking Growth Forum.

Our panel of esteemed industry leaders in banking customer engagement, deposits and lending from across the globe.

The 2017 Banking Growth Forum served as a platform for deposits and consumer lending executives to come together and develop new ways to grow and manage their retail products. Our webinar functioned as a precursor discussion on some key themes in banking customer experience strategies and as such the agenda covered the following and more:

  • How to create valuable differentiation & improve the customer experience
  • The role of customer analytics when making decisions about pricing & offers
  • How decisions on engagement strategy should be communicated to customer-facing representatives
  • The use of customer analytics in building relationships & retaining customers
  • Where banks ought to be investing in order to improve the sales experience of their retail customers

Creating Tangible Differentiation & Aligning with Client Priorities

On the first agenda topic of creating valuable differentiation in customer experience our panelists all came to a consensus on one central theme, that the importance of viewing engagement strategies through a consumer lens, as opposed to the traditional banking product lens, is essential to effectively engaging potential clients.

Sandra Rondzik stressed the importance of recognising where clients assign value when choosing a banking provider. She identifies how clients do not simply compare rates & prices when choosing banking products, but rather that they consider the “overall customer experience… the tangible and intangible value that we provide to our clients alongside these more traditional choice factors.

Sandra also argues that a bank can achieve differentiation through careful consideration of its language and framing of certain products, for example; the messaging around a mortgage product ought to revolve around “buying a house, not getting a mortgage”.

Optics are an invaluable asset in achieving differentiation from the crowd.

Rutger van Faasen agreed on this point and added that banks need to acknowledge in their client communications that “they are not the primary product”, for example a mortgage is a necessary evil on the path to securing a home and Rutger believes that banks ought to align themselves to that primary objective in order to demonstrate to their clients that they care about the client’s hopes and ambitions.

The Role of Customer Analytics in Pricing Decision Making

“It is not much of a stretch to say that customer analytics are increasingly the key to offers and pricing… we’re not all there yet in terms of maturity, but clearly the race is on” (Christopher Yu).

Our panel all confirmed their agreement that customer analytics will continue to be the main driver of customer engagement going forwards in to the future of retail banking.

When asked about the potential of analytics to better understand retail banking customers, Sandra Rondzik highlighted the progress that has been achieved in how banks gather information on their customers; whereas banks used to rely on in-branch interactions to get a picture of a customer’s potential needs, now banks can leverage data including “postal codes, number of children in the household and proximity to a competitor”, all of this does not necessarily require a face-to-face meeting and can be used to “…identify what kind of offer, through which means and what rate” is right for a specific customer.

Customer analytics are helping banks to to more effectively identify their customers’ needs and offer solutions in ways that are appropriate to each individual.

Rutger van Faasen echoed Sandra’s comments when he brought up the “greater reliance on big data” in engagement strategy on the lending side. He outlined how banks now use big data to more effectively:

[Big data is increasingly used] to come up with an understanding of customers’ needs and preferences and to make sure that they target those customers at the right time, with the right offer with an optimal price… all delivered through the right sales channel”.

Engaging the Frontline in a Bank’s Analytics Strategy

On the matter of frontline staff integration in to analytics-driven customer engagement strategy, Christopher Yu responded to Frank Bria’s questioning by laying out how the role of the frontline has been changing now that analytics are so much more powerful, he argues that:

“…we’re getting to the point where the role of frontline personnel in banking is changing as our use of information and communications evolve, shifting from mostly transactional to mostly advisory responsibilities.”

Customers are increasingly turning to human contact for advice when making significant banking decisions relating to their long-term financial well being, therefore having access to a centralised and user-friendly database of all customer analytical data will enhance the frontline’s ability to provide personalised advisory services to the bank’s customers. In essence, staff need to know that analytics are designed to complement the work that they do and not to replace them altogether.

The role of frontline staff is becoming increasingly advisory as automated solutions become able to handle routine customer interactions with their banks.

We have merely dipped our toe in to this wide-reaching and fascinating webinar discussion. The full content covered the use of analytics in retaining customer relations, key targets for investment when developing engagement strategies, an extensive Q&A with the webinar attendees in addition to the topics touched upon here. Be sure to click the link below to download the full, free content which can be listened to at any time.

Download the webinar and the accompanying slides here:

Thomas Bannister

Marcus Evans
101 Finsbury Pavement,
London, EC2A 1RS



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