The Importance of Improved Customer Experiences within the UK Banking Sector

Barclays Bank

The UK banking industry is nothing short of cut-throat with financial giant Barclays losing more than 10,000 customers during the second quarter of 2017. According to the Current Account Switch Service (CASS,) the main culprit responsible for the devastating loss of customers: continuous unsatisfactory customer experiences. TSB, one of the banks that gained a significant number of customers, conducted their own research into the account-switching phenomena and found that the ‘Big 5’, namely Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest/RBS and Santander, only did the absolute bare minimum to keep their customers happy.

In our day and age customers have countless options in terms of financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, credit card and other reputable personal finance providers. Due to the extensive implementation of digital banking services, customer demands have increased substantially, making it vitally important for these institutions to improve their customer experiences as much as possible. Banks such as TSB and Nationwide have proven that the institutions that are able to provide customers with a memorable experience are more likely to increase customer loyalty and retention. Luckily there are numerous strategies can be employed to help enhance the customer experience of a bank or other financial institution.

Be inspired by other industries and focus on the customer journey

In recent years the banking sector has fallen behind other industries such as retail in terms of offering an outstanding customer experience. The banking industry needs to find ways through which they can reproduce the consumer behaviours noted within the retail industry, such as making purchases across a variety of channels, while satisfying their need for personalized customer experiences. It is also of vital importance that a seamless end-to-end customer journey is created if a bank aims to improve the quality of the overall customer experience.

Due to the operating structures of many banks, customers often feel like they are at the receiving end of a very conflicting experience. This can be eliminated by ensuring that relevant information can be effectively shared between various departments while enforcing coherent brand values, ensuring an inclusive encounter for the customer.

More users expecting an entirely digital UX

An increasing number of bank customers want to be able to carry out financial tasks digitally including opening accounts, subscribing to new services, applying for loans and changing their personal details. UK-based digital banks such as First Direct and B are reinventing the banking industry by appealing to entirely new generation of mobile-first customers. These customers are looking for a first-class self-service encounter that includes the latest biometric verification technology, easy-to-follow guides, digital forms, FAQs and online support.

Focus will shift to the millennials

Millennials (those born between 1983 and 2000) are expected to become the consumer group yielding the greatest amount of power within the next 10 years. Due to their self-governing and tech-savvy, natures they are also less brand-loyal with personal experience being the main driving force behind their decisions. Banks who want to be guaranteed of their survival need to focus a lot of their attention on these millennials, finding out who they are, what they want and how to improve their UX.

Unless banks and other financial institutions reconsider their approach towards enhancing their overall user experience, more will see their customers shift their loyalty and move to other institutions. The power of offering a pleasant experience to every customer, every time, cannot be reiterated enough and can mean the difference between swimming and sinking in an increasingly competitive industry.

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