The need to surpass customers’ changing expectations

  • By Albert Nel, Vice President APAC at OpenText

The pandemic’s impact on all sectors has been covered in all corners of the internet. However, the banking sector has been cast into the spotlight arguably more than other sectors, due to changes that had a big impact on consumers’ lives; one such change has been branch closures.

 

But, what does this mean for banks? Well, it shows customers have adapted throughout the pandemic. Lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have forced people into doing things differently, such as how they interact with their bank. In other words, customer expectations have changed. Due to the pandemic, customers are expecting more from their digital experiences now; every engagement and experience is expected to be more seamless, efficient, and quicker than ever before.

 

A shift in expectations

Throughout the pandemic, banks showed their ability to adapt, be flexible, and understand individual circumstances. Banks were willing to pause loan repayments for those financially impacted by the pandemic. Ultimately, they’ve set a new standard of customer experience, and customers are not prepared to settle for less—and nor should they.

 

According to a recent OpenText research, almost two-thirds (63%) of Australian consumers are more likely to buy again from brands that treat them like an individual, rather than the same as any other customer. The same research found approximately half (48%) of Australians only buy from brands that make them feel they understand their preferences, such as communicating through preferred channels or providing tailored deals. This research highlights the need for banks to understand their customers’ needs and offer a customised experience.

 

Know your customers

We operate in a data-rich world, where banks have more information on their customers than ever before, and arguably more than any other sector. Banks are often privy to an individual’s living situation, employment status and of course, financial information. Frustratingly, many don’t use this information to customers’ maximum benefit. This must change.

 

Banks must put customer data to good use, and not just use it as a means of selling to customers but add value to their everyday life. As I alluded to earlier, this is something they did well throughout the pandemic, by offering relaxation on loan repayments, however, it must be something they continue to do post-pandemic. This means understanding more about their customers such as how they want to interact (i.e. what channels to use), when to interact, what they like and dislike, and so on. By doing this, banks will show customers they are truly invested in each of them as individual people, and don’t just see them as a dollar sign.

 

Banks have always prioritised their customers, however the pandemic has in some ways acted as a “reset” button to emphasise new ways of doing so. It goes without saying, customers are the most important asset for any organisation, so it’s important they not only meet their expectations, but exceed them. To do this effectively, banks must do more with customer information to deliver positive experiences, personalised communications, and make customers feel important time and again.