Many view the act of “banking” as being pretty dry, mundane and a necessary evil. Let’s face it, gaining product information and advice, developing a financial plan and completing the transactional tasks required for one’s daily financial wellbeing won’t ever be as emotionally gratifying as other aspects of our daily lives. …or could it be?
For years our industry has focused on simplification, cost reduction and automation to transform traditionally resource-heavy financial services offerings – but along the way we have tended to forget the key actor in this play – the consumer.
Without a doubt the industry was (and still is) on a trajectory of reducing footprint, releasing capacity in terms of headcount, optimizing operational costs, etc. – and the pandemic over the last 2+ years has accelerated those mandates. But what remains central to building a loyal and profitable consumer base is certainly not centered around how much we can squeeze out of the system – but rather, how much we can make banking simpler while at the same time building and maintaining emotional connections with our consumers.
Technology can actually enable a better consumer experience; Alyson Clarke, Principal Analyst from Forrester and recent guest speaker at Diebold Nixdorf´s Intersect conference, explains that driving a feeling of being valued, respected and appreciated by the financial institution will impact consumer experience in a positive way. Yet traditionally we’ve focused on leveraging technology to reduce, simplify and optimize the operating model for the financial institution. In a conversation I had with Alyson and Anja Popp, Diebold Nixdorf’s Senior Consultant, we discussed some recent research and how emotions play a big role in a consumer’s banking experience. Watch now to hear more on this topic:
Our partnership with NielsenIQ to define “Motivations in Modern Banking” has illustrated that consumers’ are not as simple as we think…they expect and respond best to their ability to bank in a flexible, hybrid model leveraging a mix of digital and physical engagement. On average, upwards of 60% of unique users in any given country use the self-service/ATM channel every month…and while self-service experiences are well suited to deliver simplicity to everyday banking needs, we should not underestimate the demand for appreciation, reassurance and safety, which are most effectively established through human engagement and can yet be increasingly empowered by technology. Nor should we let legacy assumptions around socio-demographic segmentation of the consumer population drive our banking delivery strategy. To provide an example: Being asked what matters most when using an ATM or banking kiosk, the awareness of security measures that protect them when using an ATM turned up as a top 5 demand for US respondents. Also, one in five respondents emphasized the importance of easily getting support when needed. Notably (and perhaps, counter-intuitively), GenZ and Millennial respondents were more likely to emphasize their desire for access to support than members of the GenX and Baby Boomer generations. Regardless of the consumer motivation or segmentation – they are collectively looking for ways that ease their banking journeys, drive effective outcomes for their financial needs and acknowledge their need for emotional connection.
The one greatest asset financial institutions have is their people. Even with the pressures to reduce costs, there are ways to leverage technology and services to release people capacity and redeploy that talent to make connections and support the consumer - even small elements can have a relevant influence on consumers´ experiences. Simply acknowledging and putting emphasis around consumers’ emotions into how you deliver banking journeys can differentiate your brand. Think about confidence and trust where high availability, high security and personalization would differentiate you from your competition – and build appeal and loyalty by enabling access to staff when needed, on the consumer’s terms.
The good news is you can achieve both objectives; optimize your operating model and costs while also developing emotional connections with your consumers. The key is to think holistically about what you are best at and take pressure out of the system by leveraging technology solutions and services partners to augment your team and your consumer journeys; you don’t need to take it all on your shoulders.
How does that make you feel? Reassuring, liberating, exciting, confident, empowered? Not so different from how your consumers feel when they have emotional connections when they bank!
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