In retail banking, it’s clear customer experience matters, and the stakes have never been higher. Study after study confirms the importance of providing personalized, integrated experiences for satisfaction and retention of financial services customers. According to JD Power, “Nearly 90% of retail banking customers who are highly satisfied with the advice provided by their financial institution say they “definitely will” reuse their bank or credit union for another product” (The Financial Brand). And it’s not just about happy customers… Boston Consulting Group data indicates personalizing customer journeys can lead to a 10-30% increase in revenue.

But, when it really comes down to it, how can banks, saddled with regulations and security challenges, compete with the experiences offered by customer-obsessed tech powerhouses and agile fintechs?

To satisfy customers in an increasingly competitive market, banks must identify and optimize on critical opportunities to connect with customers in more personalized, meaningful ways, both in branch and remotely.

But what exactly are those opportunities, and how can retail banks deliver when it matters most?

Opportunity #1: When opening a new account

Account opening is, in most cases, the very first touch point for customers, and first impressions can be everything. Whether it occurs on a managed device in the branch or on a customer’s own mobile device at home, the account opening process itself, regardless of delivery channel, must be seamless, simple, and efficient.

And when it isn’t?

“The potential cost of a poor user experience for mobile banking is high. Of those that abandoned at least one mobile activity, 31% shared their negative experience with a friend or family member, opened an account at another financial institution, filed a complaint, or discontinued their relationship. This obviously has major consequences for an institution’s reputation and a direct impact on brand loyalty” (The Financial Brand).

And those abandonment rates? They’re still shockingly high (some reports indicate upwards of 40%). Yet surprisingly, in a recent Celent survey of 13 major mobile account opening tools, abandonment reminders were rarely employed, even when contact information was captured early in the process.

Ultimately, customers want to be known and valued. Features such as end-to-end online account opening and simple, secure ID verification tell customers “we see you, and we value your time.” And when interruptions do happen, “save and resume” and abandonment reminders say “we’re here for you, whenever you’re ready.”

Supporting enhanced digital onboarding experiences requires an integrated, intelligent branch infrastructure. For more information on enabling customer-focused digital branch experiences, check out the Cisco Digital Branch AAG.

Opportunity #2: When customer satisfaction is on the line

Customer service, one of the most fundamental components of the overall customer experience, is still an enormous opportunity for growth for retail banks. Overall customer satisfaction is directly tied to problem resolution, and currently, almost all customer service delivery channels are failing to produce tangible results.

According to the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction StudySM, “declining satisfaction in the areas of problem resolution and telephone customer service offset the gain [in satisfaction scores from 2018]. Telephone is the most frequent servicing channel customers use to resolve problems. Customer satisfaction scores also decline in online assisted customer service (online chat, email or social media channels). Of all the delivery channels measured in the study, only ATM increases in customer satisfaction.”

When only ATMs experiences are increasing customer satisfaction, banks have a lot of work to do. And what about when the initial attempts to resolve issues don’t deliver?

The same survey indicates that “[Bank] Reputation declines further when customers perceive that problems are unresolved or resolved in a manner put the bank’s interests ahead of theirs.

When issues go unresolved, or the resolution is perceived to be in the bank’s best interest, reputation scores plummet.

To effectively guide customers through problem resolution, banks must employ sophisticated, interconnected collaboration tools that integrate call management and customer relationship management systems. Tools like Cisco’s Contact Center provide contextual experiences with comprehensive reporting so customers are connected to the right resources at the right time. Context in communications is crucial to helping customers and employees navigate the red tape and, ultimately, find the right solutions together.

Learn more about Cisco Collaboration Solutions.

Opportunity #3: When it’s time to get personal

Businesswoman leading meeting with colleagues in office

Customers step through the doors of a retail branch looking for a trusted advisor, and banks must remember this. Certainly, when it comes to mobile engagements and simple transactions, speed and efficiency are the name of the game, but in-branch customer engagements demand a different focus entirely. Customers come in looking for a real conversation, or they wouldn’t have set foot in the branch in the first place. As one of our financial services experts put it, “Every customer wants be asked those questions that cross the line,” where a transaction becomes an interaction with a real person that can be trusted. Banks must consider these interactions opportunities to answer the million-dollar customer question: “Does my bank really care about me?”

There are several tangible ways to answer this question with a resounding “yes.”

• Mobile sales engagements allow branch employees to step out from behind the desk and engage customers with corporate-owned mobile devices/tablets for a side-by-side, personalized experience (Learn more about Cisco DNA Spaces).

• In-branch customer analytics and insights empower branch staff with the right information to have more meaningful conversations (Watch Video).

• Branch employees must be empowered to engage on a deeper level. This requires supporting the workforce with the right training and tools to build relationships, and not just accounts, in a flexible, collaborative work environment (Read E-Magazine).

Opportunity #4: When customer trust is on the line

In a world where customers can access sensitive information from anywhere, security vulnerabilities abound. Sometimes, regardless of preventative measures and safety nets, the worst-case scenario occurs. Customers will inevitably face data breaches, identity theft, and fraud. The vulnerability customers experience in these moments cannot be underestimated.

In these moments of helplessness, banks must provide customers with the confidence that comes with secure, comprehensive network visibility and a plan for threat mitigation. While there will always be evolving threats, banks can reassure customers with confidence in their own security strategy.

Learn about Cisco Security for Financial Services


Financial Services at Cisco Live 2019

To learn more about delivering all the right digital experiences for retail banking customers, make sure to attend our Financial Services Session at Cisco Live 2019 in San Diego:

Delivering an efficient, optimized financial services branch customer experience through physical/digital integration (PSOGEN-1025)

For the details on the sessions and full agenda, visit the CiscoLive! 2019 website.