Other parts of this series:
In parts one and two of my series on Accenture’s 2017 Financial Services Global Distribution & Marketing Consumer Study, I outlined shifting consumer trends and three distinct personas—Nomads, Hunters and Quality Seekers—with regard to the banking sector. In this final part, I will detail specific ways in which banks can respond.
The shifts in consumer behavior and expectations identified in our research, as well as the different needs and attributes of customer personas, have a host of implications for banks and how they serve their customers. We have identified five components with which to formulate the banking response.
- Let Customers define their experience
Consumers are seeking speed and convenience as well as tailored advice, and they want it on their own terms. Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are opening the door for banks to provide effective automated support as an additional route for customers to access personalized information and guidance.
While Nomads are keen to embrace these new channels, even Hunters—who are less motivated by digital innovation—are relatively open to the idea of automated support, provided it delivers practical benefits. And all three groups show willingness to share data to obtain better products and services or more competitive pricing.
Further, there is growing appetite for emerging mobile tools that put more power into customers’ hands. Teaming up with innovative financial technology (fintech) firms or setting up incubator programs will help banks deliver this capability to customers more quickly.
- Re-write customer processes for the digital era
Banks will need to establish new customer processes to deliver the digital service customers want, and to enable effective digital distribution of their products.
Customers, particularly Nomads, also show interest in helping to shape future products. Banks will need to establish processes that enable co-creation, so they can involve customers in their research and product development process
- Get API-enabled
As they seek to multiply their interactions with customers, banks will need to think about products or services delivered through application program interfaces (APIs) that can be accessed and sold outside of the bank’s boundaries, but with the assurance provided by the bank’s ability to validate the identity and creditworthiness of all parties involved.
The increasing openness of certain customer demographics to a GAFA model of banking indicates a need to develop a platform model for banking services. Whether integrating their products onto third-party platforms, or curating proprietary platforms, banks will need the right API infrastructure to succeed. They will also need to plug into the dominant social media and messaging platforms where customers are likely to want to transact on an everyday basis.
- Tailor branches to add value
The branch is still an important part of the banking experience for many consumers, but its role need not be the same for all customer groups. Nomads may be comfortable with the majority of transactions being delivered online, but Quality Seekers may still require a whole suite of services to be provided in the branch.
As banks look to implement branch efficiencies and drive down costs to serve their customers, they can design branches for specialist functions that will add the most value based on the needs of the local population. Detailed tracking of branch activity will be important in informing these decisions. The ultimate objective is to provide value to customers in all age categories by re-thinking and reinventing branch functions.
- Win the data game
Banks will need to access more customer data to offer more competitive prices and faster, easier services, and to offer products that are relevant to customers’ financial needs. This is particularly important for Hunters, the most price-conscious persona.
The emerging data-driven relationship between bank and customer can also open a fresh opportunity for the bank to deepen customer trust by acting as a trusted steward of security. There may even be a role for banks in assuring customers’ online security more generally, with some traditional banks already taking tentative steps in this direction.
In conclusion, changing customer demands may prompt shifts in banking priorities. Our global study of almost 33,000 banking customers across 18 markets found striking changes in behaviors and expectations.
However, one size does not fit all, as distinct customer personas require—and demand—a customized approach that goes far beyond digital innovation.
To learn more, access the complete Banking Report.