Have banks been focusing too much on creating digital channels, at the expense of customer experience?

In recent years, banks have been investing heavily in digital transformations, offering new digital channels for anytime-anywhere service. A recent article by The Financial Brand suggests that banks may have focused too much on developing these channels – while neglecting customer experience that these channels were designed to deliver. The article quotes a study that surveyed customers on their experience using digital channels of service providers in various industries – including banking and personal finance. According to this study, 63% of consumers said that their primary financial provider is either ‘behind’ or just ‘keeping pace’ with competition.

 

This suggest a troubling finding: massive investments in fancy banking apps and slick websites simply don’t seem to create real customer differentiation.

 

Looking at it from the bank’s perspective, an app does a good job in offering a one-stop-shop for popular retail services at customers’ fingertips. It’s a huge leap from the days that these services required going to a physical branch. But from the customers’ eyes, this is simply not enough anymore: mobile banking today requires users to drop everything else they’re doing on their phones to get even the most basic account info. This means that you have to drop from that chat you’re on, quit the email you’ve started typing or leave the store app you were browsing, in order to launch your bank’s app (which is usually buried amidst dozens of other apps on your device).

 

This is simply not the experience that customers expect today. This is particularly true in light of the introduction of new non-bank alternative services by Amazon Pay, Google Wallet, the Apple Card and soon by Facebook Libra. These companies were built from the ground up around customer experience, and you can count on their financial services to be cool, easy to use – and extremely sticky.

 

So how should banks compete with Big Tech and stay in the game? The key is making their services truly seamless and frictionless, driving a vastly improved customer experience. Here’s how The Financial Brand phrases it:

“Financial institutions need to follow the lead of other sectors to innovate solutions that meets the needs of the changing consumer base… Too often, the focus on the digital consumer is lost in the entire payments value chain. Consumers should be the first touchpoint in the value chain, not the last. The payments industry must craft solutions backward, working from the consumer out.”

 

PayKey’s Social Banking Solution™ does just that: it enables customers to access banking services from ANY app, directly from their keyboard, delivering a frictionless user experience that customers have learned to expect in the digital age.

 

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