5 Customer Experience Trends That Will Transform Banking in 2021

Banking in Australia is at an inflection point: Changes in customer needs and behaviour that were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as Australia's transition into an open data economy have vast implications for the future of banking. In response, banks are accelerating their efficiency gains and reinventing operations and processes. As banks across the spectrum embark on a transformation journey, here are 5 predictions for customer experience trends that will reshape the financial landscape.

1. Differentiate with personalization and clarity

Open banking is expected to be fully implemented in Australia by late 2022. The Consumer Data Right (CDR) makes it easier for consumers to manage, compare, and switch banking products and services. As competition between traditional banks and fintechs rise, personalized customer experiences are one of the few remaining ways for banks to differentiate themselves and drive loyalty.

Expect a surge in personalized financial products and services to show customers that the bank understands their specific needs, driving loyalty and retention. To get there, financial institutions will need to focus on leveraging customer insights at scale, redefine back-office processes, and provide straightforward customer communications.

2. Automation + AI + human support = Essential capabilities

From robo-advisors to conversational banking, banks are increasingly merging digital and human channels to support customers faster at a lower cost. At the height of the pandemic, many banks worked with tech partners to quickly implement and deploy chatbots and messaging options to deflect calls from their at-capacity customer service centres and reduce wait times.

We predict that optimizing the handoff from automated tools and AI-powered bots to humans and vice versa will become table stakes as customers continue to demand fast support and financial firms compete on delivering the best experience, especially with less branch foot traffic.

3. Cybersecurity & fraud prevention reach new levels of scale, efficiency, & reliability

Along with an increase in online banking, data sharing, and remote work comes a host of cybersecurity and fraud issues. Cybercrime has become more lucrative than ever. Simply hiring more cybersecurity experts is not the answer. Companies need to reach the scale, efficiency, and reliability required to guard against constantly evolving fraud and cyber attacks.

We expect more financial firms to focus on cybersecurity that balances automation and AI with human expertise. Fraud detection and response systems should be automated by AI while human effort is primarily focused on enhancing the AI and addressing complex situations.

4. Deliver effortless omnichannel customer experiences

Customers today expect to have the option of completing transactions online, at a branch, through a mobile app, or via telephone. Whichever option customers select, they expect to have the same brand experience--in real time, every time. Fintechs and financial startups that weren't weighed down with legacy infrastructure are already capitalizing on omnichannel experiences.

Now is the time for traditional banks to catch up. In an open data economy, customer-centric financial firms will double down on leveraging data and insights collected throughout the customer journey to create a seamless, personalized experience that delivers value, increases satisfaction and reduces costs.

5. Drive innovation with customer-centric cost savings

The race to mobilise contact centre resources to service banking customers in the past year while adapting to remote working arrangements demonstrated the importance of a nimble workforce and operating model.

Banks are looking for a sustainable, resilient path forward. Savvy financial leaders will prioritize innovative ways to eliminate waste and increase cost savings in the contact centre without negatively affecting the customer experience. Critical accelerated digital initiatives include: cloud migration, remote delivery, data management, consolidating operation solutions, and automating more parts of the customer journey.

Get ready to thrive

Rising customer expectations and legislation that empowers customers are pushing banks to rethink their business models. How banks prepare for and respond to these changes will determine their ability to not only survive, but thrive in a new financial landscape.