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Banking is set to change more in the next ten years than it has in the past generation as Millennials – a massive customer group for financial institutions – approach their 40s. The perception of banking has changed for this generation. Millennials have high expectations around customer service and an interactive, polished banking process; while still being brand loyal, they are even more “convenience loyal” embracing a “do-it-for-me” culture where technology simplifies their lives.

If Big Banks fail to adapt, upstart FinTech operations and emerging Challenger Banks will dominate the landscapeTraditional Financial Institutions are not ignorant of this new type of competition, but it is clear that they have yet to truly grasp the opportunity and transform how they deliver products and services for their customer.

Banking is changing. Fast.

Mobile banking 

It’s no secret that digital is a big part of the interaction between customers and banks today. Take a quick browse of the app store and it’s apparent that every bank has wedged online banking into an app, mainly to provide customers with instant access 24/7/365. These mobile apps are built for customers to check balances, pay bills, transfer money, and so on. 

In some cases, there are also budgeting tools and analytics to help manage personal finances, but really it’s the same thing across the board. This makes it difficult to stand out and establish brand loyalty with today’s customer let alone attract new ones.

Banks that create new experiences that leverage mobile and other digital technologies to make their customers’ lives more convenient – while not completely losing the human aspect which has traditionally built trust between banks and their customers – will soon lead the pack. For example, RBC has invested in Borealis AI which supports the Financial Institution’s innovation strategy through fundamental scientific study and exploration in machine learning theory and applications. 

The aim is to develop state-of-the-art technology for financial institutions and support academic collaborations with world-class research centres in AI. AI will no doubt become a catalyst for improving customer experience in the FI space.

Redefine the digital customer journey 

So where to start? A banking customer journey is a good place. Redefining it – on all fronts, not just digital – is an excellent opportunity for Financial Institutions to establish themselves as market leaders. Every customer interaction is important and each should be tracked and analyzed. Banks need to consider the intent behind each specific interaction, clearly define an outcome for each step of the journey, and ultimately create delight for each individual customer.

By understanding the intended value of each interaction, financial institutions will be better able to tweak and optimize customer flows to create the best possible experience. As well as eliminating friction in the customer journey, opportunities for new products will materialize as gaps become apparent. Whoever does this first will leave their competitors trailing and establish substantial loyalty with their customers.

We approach problem-solving from a human angle. It’s a simple concept, but in order to succeed product development must be customer-led. Every time a user engages with a product – whether it is a customer-facing mobile app or an internal back-office tool – they expect a certain value or outcome in return for their efforts. The easier it is for the user to interact with the product and reach the expected outcome, the more likely it is they will happily come back in the future. The best technology is the one you don’t know you’re using!

In order to streamline a product or service in this way, it is important to establish metrics or KPIs. Every interaction should be measured. This proves, or disproves, if an approach is working or if it needs to change. This is the point at which truly engaging, personalized customer experiences come to life and these are precisely the kind that keeps customers coming back. 


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