Consumers Have Spoken

And Bankers Should Listen

By Steve DuPerrieu

The Banker’s Guide to GDPR

The most effective way to attract and retain customers is to understand them. But what are banking customers’ expectations, and how can financial institutions utilize their input to form relevant banking strategies?

To find out, CSI commissioned an online survey, conducted by global market research firm The Harris Poll, of more than 2,000 U.S. adults age 18 and above. Through the survey, consumers gave us valuable feedback on their digital and in-branch banking experiences.

Here’s what they had to say.

I Am Satisfied with My Bank’s Digital Offerings … for Now

According to the survey, 86% of all Americans say they are happy with the current digital banking offerings available through their bank. This number varied only slightly when broken down into age and socio-economic groups, with respondents ages 65+ at the highest satisfaction rate of 89%.

“To see such widespread similarity is noteworthy here,” says Bob Meara, senior analyst with Celent’s banking practice. “It’s not just the millennial who has expectations of a really whizz-bang digital experience.”

True, the younger crowd — those ages 18-34 — came in slightly lower, at 82%. For millennials, digital access to banking services has resulted in their constant use, and digital interactions are where these potentially lifelong customers are won or lost. And, there remains that 10% of Americans who say they’re not satisfied with their digital banking experiences. A small number, to be sure, but it is pause for reflection.

Eric Cook, digital strategist with WSI, agrees: “Those who were not satisfied with their financial institution’s digital capabilities already left for another (likely larger) bank that could support them.” If that’s the case, banks shouldn’t rest on their laurels, but continue to ensure that their digital banking solutions rise above the rest, allowing flawless connectivity no matter the channel or device.

When I Visit a Branch, A Single Employee Should Have All the Answers

According to CSI’s consumer survey, 85% of Americans want all their branch needs met by a single banker, at the initial point of contact. This number jumped still higher for certain demographics, with 92% of women age 65+ expecting this to be a reality.

“This experience needs to be delivered via educated banking professionals — enter the ‘universal banker’ — who have been crossed-trained in all areas of the bank to provide a seamless, holistic experience for the customer,” says Cook. “This banker needs to be empowered by the right tools on the back end, such as AI and predictive technologies, to help prepare them for the right conversations with the right customers at the right time.”

We’re talking far beyond the routine here — toward a key factor in branch optimization — the staff. “It’s not a new idea, but there’s still debate around how do we really do it well,” says Meara. “Universal bankers cost more to acquire, train and compensate, so if we staff branches that way and they’re still processing lots of teller transactions, then that’s a waste of money. The human capital considerations are where banks wrestle with implementing universal bankers.” Clearly, based on the survey results, banks should be heading toward branch optimization with staff and technology.

Anticipate My Needs, and Offer Me a Solution

CSI’s consumer poll found that 83% of Americans want advice from their institution toward reaching their financial goals. This proportion reached slightly higher, at 87%, for those whose household income is $100K or higher. This should come as welcome news to financial institutions, and serve as a call to arms in the race for profitability.

“The one area where I see the biggest opportunity from a service and differentiator perspective is the expectations of the customer that the bank proactively offers the right mix of financial products and services,” says Cook. “So many consumers don’t know what they don’t know, so they won’t be coming into branches and asking for some of the services that will help them, not because they are not interested, but because even the customer likely does not know what’s best for them.”
Using solutions like business intelligence and CRM software, banking employees can provide proactive recommendations through a real-time view of the customer’s footprint, including relevant transactions and appointments (e.g., mortgage inquiries).

Further, personal financial management (PFM) tools help customers track their expenses and progress toward goals, empowering them to manage their budgets and plan long-term objectives. And for younger customers, offering financial tips or classes taught by a staff member or other knowledgeable professional is an opportunity to deeply engage them in a way they prefer.

The Tip of the Iceberg

Understanding your banking customers is the key to fulfilling their wants and needs. So, when consumers voice their opinions, bankers should listen intently.

But, we’ve hardly scratched the surface here; to get the full results of our survey, including insight on security, social media and digital payments, download the entire Executive Report: CSI Consumer Poll 2018.

Steve DuPerrieu is vice president of channels and analytics for CSI. In his role, he provides leadership for CSI’s delivery channel strategy, which includes digital banking, payment services, business and analytics software, and branch/retail delivery solutions. Steve is also a board member for the Association for Financial Technology (AFT).





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