Expectations are changing. People are bombarded with a constant stream of updates, upgrades and improvements to technology every day, and financial services needs to evolve with this. The explosion of digital platforms such as tablets, blogs, social media sites, smart TV’s etc means that financial products and services need to be aligned with these if banks want to engage with customers in a meaningful way.
Plenty of non-financial brands are embracing technology to engage with the public… couples counselling apps where you can speak to a therapist in real time when you’re arguing over who’s turn it is to take the bins out, hotels which provide guests with suggestions for the best instagram shots and suggestions for the perfect selfie (yes, seriously).
These might be extreme examples but they perfectly encapsulate the ways in which successful brands are using technology to their advantage.
Banks obviously need to deliver a seamless multi channel offering with a consistent level of service across channels…this is a given nowadays. Customers expect speed, choice and control over where and how they interact with their bank. However, even this level of service is becoming the norm and banks should look to engage customers further if they really want to increase customer loyalty.
The banks which take banking experiences to the next level and really innovate will be the ones who connect with customers the most effectively. Some financial services are already paving the way…mobile payment apps have been around for a while and certain US banks have introduced photo banking such as US Banks ‘mobile photo bill pay’ and ‘mobile photo balance transfer’. Further examples of those who are leading technological innovation include the Virgin Money ‘Money Lounges’ and Allied Irish Bank ‘LAB’ interactive branch. Then there are the banks who are moving towards producing apps which are personalized for each user by predicting customer behaviour – a sure fire way to increase loyalty if they get it right. All of these examples take financial support and facilities to the next level, providing that elusive connection with customers which simply does not exist with generic online banking. Our research has shown that 43%* of customers want a closer relationship with their bank and those using technology to encourage maximum interaction will be the ones who achieve this.
As for me, I like the sound of virtual assistants…a voice command mobile app which allows you to tell your bank to pay £50 to your gas company or whoever. Saves me having to get off the sofa to hunt for the HSBC pincard calculator. #internetgeneration #lazycow