The State of Customer Experience: 3 CX Insights for Financial Services

Financial services organizations today are focused on building accessible, seamless and secure customer experiences. The rise of digital banks, payment platforms and fintech disruptors has created an innovative and competitive customer landscape — challengers are coming from all sides. Maintaining customer mindshare, reducing the cost to serve, and driving agility through accelerated digital transformation and customer experience (CX) are key to sustained growth. And many banks have made significant progress. Retail banks that excel in developing and applying customer insights while also driving digital transformation grow 3.2 times faster than their industry peers, according to Forrester research.

For insurance companies that are also facing rising competition, CX is an opportunity to provide empathy, listening and understanding to customers with whom they might not interact frequently. Some 70% of consumers worldwide say a company is only as good as its service, and that being listened to and understood is the most important factor in a service interaction. But for insurers, gaining insights to optimize products or processes, increase retention and conversion rates, and find opportunities for efficiency is also top of mind.

In April and May 2021, Genesys surveyed 2,629 consumers and 690 CX executives across Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/Africa and North America to determine the state of CX. From the financial services industry respondents, we learned three key insights:

1. Personalization is a largely untapped opportunity

The data show that ROI for companies devoting time, effort and resources into creating meaningful and customized experiences is growing. In 2021, consumers said they are more likely than they were in 2017 to purchase additional items, make recommendations to friends and colleagues and devote a greater share of wallet to companies that consistently personalize their experience. Consumers under age 35 are more highly motivated by personalization than older age groups.

Some 37% of CX leaders in financial services said their companies offer an extremely personalized customer experience, less than the average of all companies (44%). At a third of surveyed financial services companies, the customer experience is still “somewhat” or “not at all” personalized. To close this gap, the top strategic focus area for CX leaders in banking and insurance in 2021 is using data and artificial intelligence (AI) for greater customer understanding and personalization. For banks, personalization represents a shift toward providing advisory services; for insurers it’s a trend toward prevention — personal lines insurers are focusing on telematics, for example.

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Key Takeaway

Know your customer: The best way for companies to provide empathetic customer experiences is knowing who their customer is and providing contextual guidance and relevant financial recommendations based on their journeys, needs and preferences. This requires unifying data and improving listening channels, whether it’s using digital engagement to understand intent, real-time sentiment analysis to adjust in the moment or AI across digital channels to gather insights. Companies can also use AI to bolster voice channels with natural language processing, speech to text and sentiment analysis.

2. The need to move from digital adoption to satisfaction

Consumer behavior has evolved significantly since 2017. Voice remains the most popular CX channel worldwide, but digital is growing rapidly. Genesys Cloud™ platform data shows overall transaction volume in financial services companies grew 169% when comparing Q2 2020 and Q2 2021.

In retail banking, the pandemic highlighted the importance of effective digital channels. More than half of US consumers consider a well-designed banking app to be a primary factor in choosing a bank, according to a 2020 Deloitte survey. Yet, pain points still exist — from clunky self-service functionality to disjointed transfers across channels.

CX leaders in financial services are most confident about the effectiveness of their company’s human channels — video-calling, voice and live webchat — in meeting customer expectations. They are least confident in their chatbots. Data shows that improvements can be made to self-service, a major priority for banks and insurers to reduce call volume. Just 40% of financial services leaders consider their company highly effective in providing a first-contact resolution (FCR) — one of the leading satisfaction indicators for consumers. Some 25% say their company significantly minimizes customer effort. It’s time to focus on digital satisfaction, as well as digital adoption.

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Key Takeaway

Leverage the power of CX analytics: Companies can mine the rich data that digital channels generate to inform strategy across sales, marketing and service. Powerful analytics enable organizations to understand which customers are driving interaction volume, what their intents are and how to better engage them in the future. These analytics also allow companies to listen more carefully, align around consumer preferences and eliminate pain points in the journey. Empathy begins with listening.

3. Data security is a key benefit to cloud

Managing data privacy and maintaining compliance and service quality while operating aging technology are leading CX challenges for financial services companies today. These hinder financial services organizations in providing seamless customer experiences, through a lack of consolidated data and analytics as well as a lack of a unified view of the customer. As customers migrated from branches to digital channels — and financial services employees moved to remote working environments during the pandemic — they became more vulnerable to increased cyberattacks. The pandemic also highlighted many of the limitations of aging technology, particularly its rigidity and inability to scale.

Cloud and AI-based technology can empower teams with rich data and dashboards, support them in the moment, offload administrative tasks, and drive quality and consistency. CX leaders in financial services cite better data security and risk management, and better access to data across channels as the greatest benefits of moving to the cloud.

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Key Takeaway

Plot your path to cloud: Survey data shows the majority (70%) of CX leaders using on-premises technology are considering the cloud. Cloud platforms allow companies to benefit from industry-leading security, innovation and scale. They’re also much more energy efficient than on-premises technologies. Genesys analysis estimates that where every on-premises hardware deployment generates 38.99 metrics tons of carbon dioxide, a cloud customer will generate just 4.3 metric tons — almost 90% less. The key question becomes which cloud model is the best fit for your organization and business strategy.