The Record - Issue 21: Summer 2021

108 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om F E ATUR E T oday’s most successful banks have realised that experience is everything. Give custom- ers a great experience, and they’ll buy more products, they will be more loyal and they will share their positive experience with friends. And ultimately all this leads to an uptick in revenue. However, consistently delivering exceptional experiences is no easy feat – and it’s only getting more difficult for legacy financial institutions. For a start, an increasing number of challenger banks are entering the fore, destroying years- long relationships with traditional players with the promise of faster, cheaper and more conven- ient offerings. In fact, according to data from Trading Platforms UK, European challenger banks are projected to cumulatively hit 42.4 mil- lion app downloads by the end of 2021. The esti- mates represent a growth of 18.9 per cent from the January 2021 figure of 35.6 million. Customer expectations are changing in tandem with this. The majority of today’s consumers, but in particular the younger generations, demand seamless, secure, omnichannel, on-demand and personalised interactions – and they have lit- tle patience for those that fail to deliver. In fact, according to recent Signicat research, it’s clear that consumers have stopped accepting poor experiences and are breaking free. Over a quar- ter of consumers considered their last application process for a financial product to be difficult. And 63 per cent have abandoned an application in the past 12 months (one in five of these due to lengthy processes) and a third (32 per cent) are refusing to even start an application if they are required to take identification credentials to a branch. If banks want to keep hold of their share of their customers wallets, things need to change. But how? In January 2021, Microsoft sought to under- stand how customer experience strategies have shifted and to understand the future of the cus- tomer experience in financial services. It surveyed leaders across banking, capital markets and insur- ance organisations, and uncovered four key areas where significant progress needs to be made. The first is digitisation. In Microsoft’s recent Customer Experience Trends in Financial Services: A Research Study , 73 per cent of respondents said that at least 50 per cent of their customers’ financial activities had switched from in-person to digital services. Third party findings back this up. According to the 2020 World Retail Banking Report from Capgemini and Efma, customers are moving to Transforming customer Consistently delivering a great customer experience can be challenging for banks. According to recent Microsoft research, the biggest success comes from financial institutions that focus on digitisation, personalisation, AI and self-service BY L I ND S AY J AME S journeys