Today’s digital savvy customers have a world of banking options available at a tap of their phone—and they are ready to change banks if they don’t get the experience they desire. Keeping on top of what customers want is clearly crucial to acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones in an environment of high switching and low loyalty. When financial institutions understand what their customers really want, banks and customers both win. When thinking about the Future Banking Ecosystem keep in mind the following top five things customers want from their bank.

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1. Customers want banking to be easy

Balance, loans, transfer graphic

It sounds straightforward, but easy banking with a great customer experience is deceptively difficult. Accessing bank products and services should be a simple, seamless experience – clean menus that don’t require countless clicks or tons of taps to access basic banking tasks. And if a customer is used to a mobile interface, they don’t want to have to relearn how to bank on a different desktop or tablet display. Digital transformation has dramatically boosted the number of interactions customers have with their bank, up to 17 interactions per month and mostly online or with a mobile device, increasing the importance that engaging is easy. If a financial firm fails to make basic banking tasks simple and unified, customers will move on to a bank that does.

2. Customers want options for how they bank

banking apps graphic

Ease isn’t enough – banking customers want 24/7 access and options: on the web at home, on their phone on the go, at physical branches, and more. Today’s customers operate across both digital and physical, with 65 percent of customers interacting with their bank through multiple channels. Even the older, less technologically-engaged demographics that prefer in-person banking are eager to include other channels and expand their web or mobile-based interactions. Digital transformation has enabled instant gratification across multiple industries, and bank customers expect the same always-available, immediate access to banking as they do for the other digital services in their life. The difficulty with providing options and access across physical and digital comes with ensuring smooth transitions between the two. Customers want to be able to start a banking process online and not have to repeat information or tasks at a physical branch. Providing many options and a seamless, easy experience across every avenue can be challenging for banks, but it is critical to satisfying today’s customer

3. Customers want responsive customer service

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Great service quality is a necessity, as customers have no reservations about switching when they receive frustratingly opaque fines and fees or their bank fails to solve their problems. Banks need to be transparent and communicate with their customers, and if issues do arise they must act quickly to painlessly resolve them on the first try. A third of banking customers report that poor customer service is the primary reason they would leave their bank. For customers who have changed banks due to bad service, over 80 percent said they could have been retained if their issue had been solved on their first contact with the bank. Though responsive customer service may not win banks and new customers, it is crucial to keeping existing ones.

4. Customers want to be better understood

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Customers want individual attention and relevant offers from their bank, and not the usual spam of generic ads. If a customer is researching new credit cards, a targeted offer from their bank for a great deal on a card that is customized to what they are looking for saves the customer time and money. Meanwhile, an offer for a Home Equity Line of Credit rate sent to all of a bank’s customers is frustrating spam that just turns most customers off. Customers want to be understood so much that they are perfectly willing to trade personal data for tailored offerings. As more customers take advantage of digital channels, they interact with their bank more – giving banks more opportunities to better understand customer needs, to present more relevant offers at the right time and place, and ultimately to increase retention while selling additional products.

5. Customers want great value from their financial products and services

Discount, Deals, Benefits

Customer loyalty program adoption is rising, but it’s not because customers are actually more loyal to their banks. One-third of banking customers participated in at least one loyalty program primarily to gain access to the “best deals.” Customers will go anywhere they can find good value, with 27 percent of bank customers purchasing or subscribing to a new financial product or service over the last six months—regardless if the offering came from their current provider. To compete, banks must go beyond personalization for existing customers and build great, high-value financial offerings that attract today’s savvy banking customers. Customers want convenience and value, and they are willing to exchange their personal data for good deals and discounts. Nearly half of customers want their banks to locate markdowns on purchases of interest for them, providing banks with a tremendous sales opportunity.

Clearly, today’s customers expect a lot from their banks. The challenge for financial institutions is to not only cater to all five customer desires but to differentiate themselves from the competition. Exceeding across key customer wants is critical to acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones in a high-churn environment. The question for banks is, how do they provide plenty of options, remain highly responsive across every channel, offer personalized experiences to everyone, and deliver great value for customers while making it all look easy?

Introducing Customer Insights for Banking

Customer Insights for Banking, built on Microsoft Cloud technology, provides banks with a holistic, 360-degree view of customers and their needs. The solution empowers banks to modernize customer interactions by driving channel optimization, improving customer engagement, and identifying the right customers to increase profitability. Customer Insights for Banking helps financial firms differentiate themselves by enabling banks to give customers exactly what they want.

Learn more about how Microsoft is empowering intelligent banking.

[1] Accenture, “Banking on Value: Rewards, Robo-Advice and Relevance,” 2016
[2] Wall Street Journal, “What customers want from their banks: Ease,” 2016
[3] Accenture, “Banking Customer 2020,” 2015
[4] Accenture, “Banking Customer 2020,” 2015
[5] McKinsey & Company, “The Future of US Retail-Banking Distribution”, 2014
[6] Accenture, “Banking Customer 2020,” 2015
[7] PwC, “One step ahead: How banks can anticipate what customers will want next,” 2015
[8] Accenture, “Banking on Value: Rewards, Robo-Advice and Relevance,” 2016
[9] NGDATA, “Customers want their banks to know them better – now and into the future,” 2017
[10] Accenture, “Banking Customer 2020,” 2015
[11] NGDATA, “Customers want their banks to know them better – now and into the future,” 2017
[12] Accenture, “Banking on Value: Rewards, Robo-Advice and Relevance,” 2016
[13] Accenture, “Banking Customer 2020,” 2015
[14] Accenture, “Banking on Value: Rewards, Robo-Advice and Relevance,” 2016
[15] Accenture, “Banking Customer 2020,” 2015
[16] Accenture, “Banking Customer 2020,” 2015
[17] Accenture, “Banking on Value: Rewards, Robo-Advice and Relevance,” 2016
[18] Accenture, “Banking on Value: Rewards, Robo-Advice and Relevance,” 2016