Accenture Q&A: The Future of Banking and the Customer Experience

Protecting clients’ financial assets and information is the biggest concern for the banking industry. Financial services companies must earn trust with security and provide amazing customer experiences on voice, chat, and digital channels. In a March 2022 survey by Industry Dive and Genesys, for 75% of banks, 41% or more of their total customer interactions occurred online or in digital formats over the last year.  Three-quarters of banks report they’re actively working on a customer experience (CX) improvement plan.

Whether you’re a small credit union, a large global bank or a wealth management firm,  digital transformation is always evolving to improve CX. Genesys makes it possible to understand your customers’ needs and intent through data-driven insights.

Genesys, and our partners, believe real impact happens when companies become people-centric and innovate for good. What works today, won’t work tomorrow. We use industry-leading technology to advance human understanding at every level.

Dilnisin Bayel, Accenture Managing Director, Head of Advanced Customer Engagement Europe, has expertise in financial services. She recently joined experts from Genesys and Microsoft in a panel discussion about the business of human impact.

Dilnisin advises banks and other financial services companies on how to stay ahead of the significant changes happening in credit. This helps them plan for the future and transform their businesses. She also leads the Future of Banking initiative for Accenture globally, which highlights new business models for banks.

We wanted to expand on our video panel with Dilnisin to learn a bit more about integrated technologies and best-in-class customer experience.

First, thank you so much for participating in the panel discussion with Genesys and Microsoft. During the panel, you talked about the four elements: empathy, enablement, engagement, and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) consciousness. Why is this important and how can the banking industry use the four elements for their customer experiences?

Dilnisin Bayel: Empathy is not just having a better understanding of customers but being able to put yourself in their shoes; being “in the moment” in a way that’s relevant to them. Enablement takes this a step further: helping them and easing or solving their problems.

Engagement, in this context, is mostly about providing the technological capabilities that allow the organization to connect and interact with its customers in a human, personalized way. And finally, ESG consciousness ensures that FS [financial services] firms have a broader purpose than simply maximizing profit — one that’s focused on what’s best for customers, for society and for the world we all live in.

When we design for humans and have their needs and experiences as our anchor point, there is no risk of failure. We may question the profitability of the new digital-only banks, but they’ve proved that if you focus authentically on customers’ needs, they will value it. I think one of the difficulties banks face is that, in the race to digitize, they have all ended up in more or less the same place: Their customer engagement has become functionally correct but emotionally devoid.

Utilizing these four elements helps them recognize this problem and become more human. Now, if they relentlessly pursue their greater purpose, together these will be an unbeatable differentiator.

The four elements connect with Genesys experience orchestration, where we encourage businesses to listen, understand and learn from interactions — whether they’re digital, physical or voice — to provide more personalized experiences. How do you foresee banks using digital and orchestration to enhance their customer experience?

Bayel: I think this is an omni-experience concept. This involves delivering the same experience, regardless of the channel — making it seamlessly connected to all other channels. Ensuring customers can use whatever channel they’re most comfortable with, and that it gives them a sense of coherence and completeness.

Achieving this, and making digital channels the natural choice, requires their virtuosity. By that I mean the range and sophistication of the interactions they enable. Digital is so much more than just a channel; it involves entirely new ways of creating expectations and delivering experiences. This is an evolution of how it started.

In the beginning it was only seen as a channel. But as we’ve now learned, it is actually an orchestration that uses data and technological capabilities to touch our lives at key moments, intelligently and in a human way.

In the panel, you gave a staggering statistic that 80% of companies think they’re providing amazing customer experiences, but only 8% of customers say this. This is a big gap. Why do you think this exists?

Bayel: This is probably due to companies and customers having different starting points. Most companies have designed their digital engagement on the assumption that if they solve what they believe to be the customer’s problems, they will deliver a great experience.

Of course, not only do customers all have different expectations; more importantly, they don’t compare experiences within service categories. They want all companies with whom they interact to meet the standard of the best experience provider they know.

That is why it’s so critical that financial services providers understand what their customers want, and when and how they want it to be delivered. We’ve probably all had a chatbot interaction which ends up with an “I don’t understand you” message from the bot. It’s both functionally and emotionally frustrating, because the net result is a failure to interact. Nor does it help when enhancement projects reveal organizational silos and an inability to provide a true cross-channel journey.

You talked about data use for the benefit of the customer; data that creates value for the customer to make their lives easier. How are banking companies using data for the good of the customer now? And how could they do more in the future?

Bayel: There are two instances which banks can address with better use of data:

The present, which entails taking things off the “thinking list.” By this, I mean alerts, notifications, preconfigured activities — actions that do the thinking on behalf of the customer.

Timeless, which is about connecting the past, the present and the future. Just one example is predicting a customer’s energy consumption and offering suggestions either for their usage or the payment aspect.

In addition to these two obvious instances, there are the moments of magic. Financial services providers should think how they can design for delight — anticipating potential life-changing events and providing personalized services tailored for these moments.

Customer data has mostly been used for either risk scoring or selling more services, not necessarily for creating an impact in the life of the customer. As customers, we often share our data without knowing why it is requested. Firms have a moral obligation to do more with it, to our advantage as well as theirs.

Employee retention and hiring is an issue for banking, as it is for all industries. How do you advise the financial services industry on retaining employees?

Bayel: There are a few factors that are becoming increasingly important:

  • Creating human impact — creating human-like experiences with digital
  • Having a purpose that is broader and more inclusive than the bank’s bottom line
  • Being deliberate about this purpose and embedding it in all practices, products and services, has given many digital-native players the power to attracting the talent they need

Allowing, or even encouraging, new talent to change and contribute to organizational and societal norms is a culture shift for many organizations. Having the kind of technology that new recruits expect is easy, as long as you are willing to invest.

Attracting and retaining these recruits — and inspiring them to make their best contribution every day — is a much bigger challenge that, in many cases, requires a culture change across the entire organization.

Let’s talk more about integrating technologies working together to solve business problems and to benefit the customers’ customers. Tell us about future banking models, how customer experience will be reinvented and who will own customer experience in the future?

Bayel: Most banks have linear business models: They sell what they configure as a product or service, and sometimes they collaborate in sales and distribution agreements. New digital-native players and big techs, on the other hand, tend to rely on non-linear models.

This allows them to integrate into different value chains, changing their products and scaling with and through others. In today’s value chains, the owner of the customer promise and experience is often different from the owner of the actual product.

In our Future of Banking study, we analyzed more than 100 banks and over 200 digital natives. We found that those who are creating more value and growth are the ones who are able to act as “packagers,” the B2B2C and banking as a service players.

They act like value architects and have technology and business model flexibility. Everything is becoming digital at speed, but digital is no longer enough to differentiate and capture growth. By embracing multiple, flexible business models, and moving from their digital version to a non-linear exponential version, we believe banks can add an average 3.8 points to their growth rate.

Service is typically perceived as a cost center. How are banks reinventing their customer service to drive revenue, value and growth?

Bayel: Many organizations still view customer service as a cost of doing business. As a result, they focus mostly on improving the speed and efficiency of customer care.

But one in five are taking a different approach: They view customer service as a value creator. We observed that these companies are achieving 3.5 times the revenue growth while spending about the same percentage of their revenue on service.

We also found that banks that lead in the provision of services are moving beyond the traditional, reactive “service center” model. They are embedding service when and where it’s needed to create value and drive higher growth.

We believe there are three pathways to innovation in customer service — and to higher growth.

  1. Grow trust with proactive, predictive service. For example, 73% of customers consider it important for their bank to anticipate a potential issue before it becomes a problem.
  2. Grow usage by helping customers get more value. For example, among banking respondents, 92% of commercial customers reported having a dedicated resource working on their behalf, while only 53% of retail customers said they have access to a dedicated resource.
  3. Grow potential with service-generated insights. Our research found that some banks are leaning into service-generated insights as part of product development and innovation. About one in five retail banking service leaders indicated that they always use their service channels to influence product development and new offerings.

Super Human Service Across All Services and Channels

At Genesys, we believe in Super Human Service for all industries, for the benefit of our customers and their customers. Real human impact begins by reframing business imperatives through a lens of empathy, where customers are always remembered, heard and understood, on any channel — voice, digital and chat.

To learn more about how banks are transforming customer experiences, check out the Benchmark report: Digital transformation in banking. And to read more from Dilnisin Bayel, check out her blog channel on Accenture.