Digital Banking Trends That Will Define Customer Satisfaction In 2021
Alex Kreger, UX Strategist & Founder of UX design agency UXDA, which helps banking & fintech brands with the financial UX methodology.
Sixty-eight percent of customers say that Covid-19 has elevated their expectations of brands’ digital capabilities, according to Salesforce. There’s no doubt about that. The next year will shape a new generation of customers who demand a brand new level of value and care. In order to live up to that, financial institutions (FIs) are forced to adopt new ways of thinking and operating, and to do it quickly. Here are the must-know digital banking trends that will upgrade the customer experience and lock in a digital banking leader’s position in the post-Covid-19 era.
1. Unlocking The Customers’ Hearts With Value
With more and more attractive, user-centered fintech solutions entering the market, it’s critical for incumbents to take their game to a new level. In 2021, simple functionality and basic level usability will not be enough to attract and retain customers. Incorporating a user-centered design methodology to create demanded digital products is a prerequisite to strive and succeed in the digital age. It requires that products not only be functional but also aesthetically pleasing and live up to the specific needs of the users to deliver an amazing customer experience. Beyond that, most consumers say that the societal role of companies is changing, according to Salesforce. Customers expect brands to build a community around a mission that inspires the world to become a better place.
2. Disrupting The Legacy
There’s no doubt that the bank of the future will be digital. The incumbents are often held back by their deeply rooted legacies, but only companies that are agile can retain their market share, which the pandemic very clearly demonstrated. It’s critical to expand the digital perspective by monitoring the current tech trends, defining the future vision of the FI and seeking ways to adapt and prepare before it’s too late. With this in mind, there are already some brave incumbents that have teamed up with tech and fintech companies and brought in UX experts to disrupt legacies and provide their clients with a whole new experience.
3. Being Proud To Stand Out
As the financial market entry barriers diminish, the fight for customer loyalty and trust grows stronger. The days of banking monopolies are long gone, and in order to retain the position of power, it’s essential to seek ways to stand out among the myriad of other financial solutions. A custom-made design that communicates the brand values and the unique identity of the FI is a must-have to succeed in 2021. This applies to not only the visual appeal but also the usability and quality of the interface and the overall customer service. What will set successful FIs apart from hundreds of identical digital solutions is the ability to embrace the uniqueness of their brand and communicate it in a way that inspires their customers.
4. Empowering Emotions As Currency For Loyalty
One of the biggest challenges in the post-Covid-19 era is the ability to connect the financial brand with its customers. During the crisis, 57% of customers switched brands due to the value provided, according to McKinsey & Company. Empathy, value and emotional connection are the three cornerstones to building successful relationships with customers. It means switching from IQ (rational aspects with the focus on sales) to EQ (showing that the FI cares) by creating loyal, long-lasting relationships. A practical way to do that is to go out there, listen to the customers’ problems and solve them in the best way possible with products and services. To deliver that, the finance industry can embrace the elements of emotional, user-friendly design —animations, gamification, vivid colors and micro-interactions — that speak to the users and evoke positive emotions.
5. Embodying A Customer-Centered Culture
It’s essential to have a proper digital strategy in place. But, even the best tech innovation can be ruined without the right mindset to adopt. When it comes to success in 2021, the proper user-centered culture is what determines the success potential of any FI. A user-centered inner culture puts the focus on the customer at every level of the company, starting from business processes to team members, their duties, the ways these efforts are measured and, finally, the value that the FI delivers to its customers. A true user-centered financial brand will be able to succeed despite any external circumstances.
6. Uniting Products Into A Holistic Ecosystem
Many FIs probably didn’t think that their huge digitalization efforts could be perceived as Frankenstein’s monster by customers. Often, the digitalization efforts are sabotaged by the fact that each product is created separately at a different time by a different team. This creates a fragmented user experience that frustrates customers. Successful digital companies know that the products need to be digitalized consistently through a united, holistic, digital product ecosystem that’s complemented by a proper UX/UI design system. Only in this way can the FI can ensure that all of their products will be perceived as a smooth and consistent experience through the eyes of the users.
There are two ways to view 2020: one, as a devastating hit, or the other, as an opportunity. I view it as an accelerator for growth. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, the finance industry would still lag behind in many crucial areas of digitalization and customer experience improvement. The pandemic was a harsh but needed push that enabled 10 years of growth in only a few months, according to McKinsey & Company. That’s why I encourage everyone to perceive 2021 as a unique way to create new opportunities for the customers and bond with them in ways that wouldn’t have been possible outside of the context of the crisis.
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