Digital has disrupted many industries already and not even some of the most conservative sectors, like the financial services industry, can avoid it anymore.
The reality is that there are many barriers to innovation in the finance sector: legacy technology, rules and regulations and highly centralized systems. Although security and compliance are two serious matters, they shouldn’t come at the cost of your customers’ experience.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common struggles customers face when dealing with financial services companies and how they can be solved.
1. Getting started with the service
The very first interaction with a company will determine the success of the relationship with the customer. This can either be a productive and reassuring introduction to a new service or a challenging obstacle that can scare customers away.
Long gone are the days, when customers were required to visit a branch for opening a new account. Customers now expect a full digital onboarding in a frictionless, but secure environment.
Financial services companies need to work hand in hand with regulators to develop onboarding safety requirements that fit modern digital reality.
Simplifying the authorization process has been a major focus for many financial institutions. Security is a sensitive aspect for financial services users and while it can also be perceived as an obstacle, companies must find the right balance between security and the convenience of their users.
According to a Visa study, 86% of consumers are interested in using biometrics to verify identity or to confirm payments and about half of them would switch away from a card network or bank that doesn’t offer biometric authentication in the future.
3. Omnichannel customer service
Most financial services companies have made it easier for customers to engage with them whenever they want by increasing the number of available channels: online, over the phone, in a branch location, or using a mobile app.
However, this doesn’t mean that they made their customers’ experience better. Customers now expect seamless, integrated and personalized experiences across all touchpoints, no matter the channel.
Experts and creators of financial products often overlook the financial knowledge of their users and understanding of how the service is being used. Customers sometimes try to perform tasks the designers did not anticipate or perform certain actions accidentally, which service creators wrongly call “user error.”
5. Lack of customer understanding
Very often the organization’s development road map doesn’t take the customer perspective into consideration. As a result, companies end up putting a lot of valuable resources into building features and products that gain little to no traction.
Prioritize improvements and development efforts based on your customers’ needs. Customer feedback shows that financial institutions don’t need to invent the next big thing, but rather fix issues that impede customers from completing financial transactions.
6. Complexity and ambiguity
Financial offerings are quite complex for most of the people. Customers are already confused by the financial jargon and the underlying mathematics, not to mention the technicalities of the systems they use.
Financial companies need to facilitate their customers to build financial literacy and to feel comfortable and prepared to select financial products, manage their accounts and assets and make investment decisions.
On top of that, institutions must make it easy for customers to easily perform transactions and payments and view detailed information of their accounts.
7. Self-service options
As Gartner predicts, by 2020 all customer interactions will be automated. People have come to rely more on digital tools for their service needs than on support agents.
As expected, customers want to be able to manage all financial transactions on their own with minimal effort and without additional human interaction. For this reason, financial institutions must improve their self-service channels and discover innovative means to assist their customers with what they are trying to accomplish.
Completing a payment or making a transaction can be a tedious process especially when you’re faced with long and complex forms. Although they are becoming simpler each year, there’s a lot that can be done to improve the user’s experience.
For example, users should be able to effortlessly access their latest transactions list, use autocomplete search to find an exact transaction or make payments in one-click. Also, payment limits that prevent users from completing tasks should be easily and instantly changed by the user themself.
Notifications are an integral part of financial activity monitoring. Although customers grow frustrated with the influx of notifications from different providers, they are still interested in the relevant ones.
Companies must wisely determine which notifications are of interest to their customers and the information that their customers dismiss or get frustrated about. Notifications can be set for a wide range of functions: salary notifications, bill monitoring and payments alerts, budgeting and saving targets tracking.
Customer experience issues that financial services companies presume to be insignificant not only lead to loss of clients, but also to spread of negative opinions that can have a significant impact on the reputation of the company.
Everybody is in need of financial services, but with the growing competition, customers now have the upper hand. Financial companies don’t need to have the best-in-class technology, but they need to have the technology that meets customer expectations.