New Face of Financial Services Blog

Blog: The New Face of Financial Services

September 12, 2023  |  HELENA MÜLLER

For most consumers the relationship with their financial services provider has significantly changed. Gone are the days when most transactions took place in the branch, and now the focus is on meeting customers where they are with flexible offerings. Fitting into a consumer’s daily life has never been more important, and we are seeing this reflected in how and where services are offered. This ongoing evolution is constantly moving, but how do we ensure that the industry is on the right path to flourish in the face of change? Let’s look at some of the critical focus areas right now.

Through the Eyes of the Consumer
First and foremost, the consumer needs to be at the heart of any change. This is nothing new, and we all know that even the greatest solutions will not succeed unless they are tailored to the expectations of the consumer – and beyond. Keeping customers close to the transition, providing sufficient education and support, and flexing as you go will all create a foundation for brand loyalty and competitive differentiation.

The real challenge for financial institutions is to do all of this in an environment where efficiency is not just a nice to have, but fundamental to continued operations. This is where mapping the right services in the right places creates the opportunity to prosper – both now and for the future.

The Right Place
The trend of branch closures is likely to continue as financial institutions look to rationalise their physical presence and cut costs. For many in the industry, this is where the provider’s leave behind strategy comes under scrutiny. Consumers still value and demand innovative customer service, specialist advice and access to cash – but all in a much more agile and secure fashion.

In response to this we have seen pop-up branches, ATMs and banking kiosks become a crucial part of the channel mix. Mapping demographics, channel usage and consumer profiling against the organisation’s strategic objectives can help build a network of physical touchpoints, which are aligned with the overall digital strategy; as well as crucially keeping the customer satisfied and close to the brand.

The Right Pace 
Change is prevalent across the whole industry and is a natural part of evolving services for the future. The more sensitive part is setting the right speed for driving this change. Consumers are becoming inherently more digital and typically expect services across the board to be fast and user-friendly. Alongside this, they want to be heard and feel like their banking services add value to both day-to-day transactions as well as bigger financial decisions.

Leaning back into the importance of physical touchpoints, a plan that transitions services purposefully and transparently is likely to encourage a more seamless journey. For example, providing a multi-functional ATM in place of a branch that is no longer financially viable is providing customers with a continuation of banking services in convenient locations.

The face of financial services has altered significantly in recent years and is likely to continue to adapt as innovation advances and consumers wants and needs accelerate. How we consume banking services has undoubtably changed, but that does not mean that banking will eventually become ‘faceless.’ In fact, quite the opposite. With the potential for services to be truly personalised, flexible and highly available, an enriched end-user experience is on the horizon. Contact us today to learn more.

Originally publish in Global Banking and Finance Review

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