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Essential resources for banking executives:Enter ‘Banking Reinvented’

Superior customer servicing: 5 transformation tips to help you modernize your journeys

Many banks aren’t equipped to offer gold-star banking customer service — and overcoming their legacy systems is easier said than done. Here's a few tips for getting started.

by Backbase

6 mins read


Think about the last time you used one of your personal bank’s products or services. What was the experience like? Did you find it functional — perhaps even enjoyable? Or was it a tedious affair? Now think about the last time you reached out to your bank for help. Did you get the assistance you needed? Were you even able to get through to an actual human?

Everyone in banking knows it: customer service matters. That’s because people have a long memory when it comes to positive experiences — and an even longer memory when it comes to negative ones. Being on the receiving end of sub-par service can be a deal-breaker for banking relationships, and yet many financial institutions aren’t equipped to offer the experiences that customers now expect.

In fact, according to a recent Microsoft survey, 49% of bankers say their organization’s customer experience is only somewhat consistent across channels, while 18% say it's somewhat inconsistent. Thanks to a myriad of problems like siloes, legacy systems, and limited digital functionality, these banks have their hands tied. And with an incredible array of choices on the market — ones that may better meet their needs — customers are no longer afraid to jump ship.

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably well aware of this situation. But finding effective banking service solutions? That takes considerable time, effort, and risk.

Thankfully, in our guide, Superior, scalable servicing: transformation tips for retail, business, and wealth management, we lead you on a step-by-step journey for modernizing your servicing experiences and providing quality customer care in banking. Here’s a high-level overview, so you can get started.

The secret power of self-service

It may be counterintuitive, but it’s the truth — the path to customer service perfection begins by empowering your customers. No financial experience is complete without banking self-service options, which gives them the power to do everything from checking their balance to authorizing new users. McKinsey has a great quote about this: “Customers should be able to resolve any query, satisfy any service need, and buy any product simply by using the app.” That’s a tall order, of course, but that should be your guiding light while modernizing your journeys. 

And if you can pull it off, you’ll reap the rewards. For one thing, by creating a seamless self-service experience, you’ll boost customer engagement, satisfaction, and retention. And on the employee side, you’ll increase efficiency, minimize errors, and reduce cost to serve, making it a win-win situation. Just make sure you’re on hand when your customers need you — just because they want to do things alone doesn’t mean they want to feel alone. Also consider that some users may not want to self-service, so simply digitizing all your services — at the expense of the human touch — isn’t the way to go.

So make sure you’re not the bank that lags behind when it comes to customer empowerment. To return to Microsoft’s survey, 46% of respondents said they’re planning to increase their organization’s customer experience budget in the next 12 months — with 59% likely to invest in digital self-service options. And rest assured, the ones that aren’t prioritizing this will be doing so soon, so act fast. You don’t want to keep your customers waiting.

Creating consistency with an omnichannel approach

And on that note, it’s key that you create a consistent level of service across both physical and digital channels. One-size-fits-all solutions don’t work for your banking architecture, so why should they work for your customers? Users should be able to bank their way — for example visiting a branch, starting a transaction on their phone and finishing it on their desktop, you name it. Your job isn’t to tell them what they want, it’s to empower all their potential needs across all possible channels, creating a consistent, omnichannel banking experience. By offering these kinds of journeys, you’ll build a sense of brand uniformity, helping customers navigate your channels with ease. 

And on the back end, you’ll treat your employees to unified customer data, resulting in superior service, as well as increased productivity. And that will have a huge impact. As the Microsoft survey demonstrates, 53% of respondents said they struggle to track customer cases across channels as part of delivering consistent, high-quality experiences — and 50% said they struggle to build meaningful customer relationships. Those stats go hand-in-hand. If you can’t give your teams the tools to service customers effectively, the relationships will suffer. That’s a fact.

Through it all, be sure to consider how digital tech can enhance human-assisted interactions, or, as Cornerstone terms it, the “human + digital” approach. By doing so, you’ll get the best of both worlds, creating a personalized customer service experience while communicating to your customers that you respect their time and preferences. And that’s the kind of bank that wins users for life.

Giving employees a single source of truth

Once you’ve taken care of your customers, you’ll be ready to give your employees the tools they need to deliver proactive banking customer service — and that begins with creating a 360° view of your customers. Right now, data shows that only 29% of service agents feel they’re effective in getting the information they need to help customers, and that’s thanks to loads of silos and tools that don’t communicate with each other. It’s a bad experience for everyone involved — it takes longer, it’s less accurate, and it’s incredibly inefficient.

But by providing a single source of truth, a unified hub for all customer data and interactions, you’ll help your employees to better understand individual customer needs and preferences. That will enable them to provide value-added experiences, as well as increase user engagement — all while boosting employee efficiency and satisfaction. So save yourself a major headache and create a 360° customer view. Your employees and customers will thank you.

The additional advantage of AI

Even the best front-office team in the world can benefit from AI, automation, and machine learning. By using this innovative tech, you’ll help them unlock a truly personalized customer service experience and scalable engagement. You’ll even eliminate data silos and unite customer information from multiple sources, touchpoints, and platforms. Want to power differentiated user experiences, as well as timely issue resolution? This is the way.

Of course, you’ll need to start small, using out-of-the-box algorithms to power things like spending habits and credit scoring. But once you’re up and running, you can start aiming for straight-through processing, and that’s where the real impact is, both for your employees and customers. Imagine things like real-time analytics for a glimpse into customer behavior or smart insights that will help create new opportunities for cross- and up-sell. You can even use segmentation to help target capabilities to the most relevant customers. The possibilities are endless — and so are the benefits.

Assembling and training your dream team

But all the coolest tech in the world won’t make a difference if you don’t have the right team to use it. That’s why you’ll need to build a skilled, empathetic, proactive group of employees so you can provide customer-centric, efficient servicing. Don’t think of it as a tradeoff to become either more digital or more empathetic. As Accenture’s data shows, empathetic leaders grew revenue by 1.3% in 2020, while laggards managed only 0.6%. It’s a small difference, but imagine that over years, decades even, and you’ll start to understand the importance of empathy.

And providing empathetic banking customer service doesn’t have to be a hassle. Just try to consider your customers’ emotional profile, which influences everything they do. Another tip? Don’t try to sell every product to every person. That’s a fast way to show you don’t care about them or their needs. Instead, use your knowledge of the customer to personalize and segment them, allowing you to scale up — while keeping them at the heart of everything you do.

The Backbase Engagement Platform

Look, digital transformation is never going to be a walk in the park. But that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. We’re here to empower your bank to re-imagine and modernize its IT and business operations with a strong focus on customer-centricity. By using the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform, you’ll be able to break free from the constraints of your legacy systems. And when you factor in over 400 composable, pre-integrated capabilities and out-of-the-box journeys, you’ll even do it in record time.

Picture it — a single, omnichannel platform that co-exists with your other tech, vendors, and banking standards. No more costly maintenance budget. No more point solutions. Just a fast-track to success with a partner that’s here to help you foster innovation and enhance your customer experience — all while driving efficiency and ensuring your sustainable growth.

We even have targeted products for your unique use case. By leveraging Backbase Digital Banking, Digital Assist, and Digital Engage, you’ll get everything you need to empower your customers, employees, and marketing teams, allowing you to truly thrive in the new generation of banking.

Want to read more about modernizing your customer servicing journeys? Get your copy of the full guide now for targeted advice for retail, business, and wealth, essential digital transformation KPIs, and illuminating stories from your peers.