Technology Record - Issue 25: Summer 2022

118 New technological advances are enabling financial services firms to create highly detailed pictures of their customers, predict their financial needs and deliver relevant, trusted advice that leads to long-lasting relationships. Microsoft’s Chad Hamblin explains how BY L I ND S AY J AME S F E ATUR E customer relationships How to build that last Over the course of the last decade, retail banks have transformed the way they operate in a bid to meet a dramatic change in customer behaviour. According to the most recent BAI Banking Outlook survey, today’s financial services customers want to be able to interact with their bank using a mix of channels. By 2024, consumers expect 61 per cent of their banking business to be digital, with almost half of these interactions to involve human assistance, such as through chat or other messaging services. “Customers have high expectations when it comes to digital,” explains Chad Hamblin, Microsoft’s director for worldwide financial services. “They live increasingly digital lives and expect their online banking experiences to match those they get from digital-first providers such as Amazon and Netflix. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no place for the branch. Human contact is still very much in demand, especially for support around more complicated products and services.” Today’s customers are also more empowered than ever – and have more information at their fingertips. “It’s so easy for them to conduct research online,” Hamblin explains. “They can read reviews, speak to friends on social media and compare offerings instantly. What’s clear is that customers won’t put up with bad service – they will simply move to a new provider, and quite possibly to one of the many fintechs and challenger banks that have entered the market,” says Hamblin. This is a difficult environment for traditional banks to survive in, let alone thrive. However, with challenges come opportunities. Those banks that have found a way to level up against the competition and excel at delivering truly exceptional customer experiences are positioning themselves for success. Client-centric businesses, after all, are 60 per cent more profitable than companies not focused on the customer, according to Deloitte. Those that are getting it right understand exactly what their customers want. “Research suggests that today’s consumers want to feel special,” says Hamblin. “They want personalised offerings, and they want their bank to understand them as both a household and an individual. We’re not talking about basic monetary needs here, but financial goals and aspirations, life events and overall financial wellness. Ultimately, they are looking for a trusted advisor – and they want their bank to be there for them at the moments that matter.” Customers also want better and faster services. “Speed matters,” says Hamblin. “Today’s customers live busy lives, and they want to bank at a time