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60% of banks worry economic downturn could halt digital expansion

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60% of banks worry economic downturn could halt digital expansion

Those responsible for customer experience (CX) design within financial services firms are assessing the impact of a recession and what it could mean for their use of digital technologies, even though 72 per cent see personalization as being in greater demand amid tough times.

San Francisco-based Genesys, which provides cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to sectors like finance, commissioned market research firm FT Longitude to survey 600 executives around the world to produce its report, The Challenge of Customer-Centric Banking.

While capitalizing on technology to serve customers through digital channels is a high priority, the study confirmed that branches are not going away. In fact, 44 per cent of those surveyed said they saw the redesign of their physical locations as the greatest opportunity to achieve CX transformation.

Banking CX leaders are also much like their counterparts in other industries, citing data silos within the business as their biggest challenge in improving experiences. Almost half, meanwhile, cited staff turnover and low employee engagement as an issue.

Personalizing banking experiences is also not as straightforward as it might appear, based on the research. For example, 54 per cent of banking execs said they believe customers see their personalization efforts as generic.

“Good customer experiences are not provided by a single team or function —
they need buy-in and alignment across the business. So banks need to make customer experience a consistent priority in their business strategy and daily operational decisions. And their leadership should encourage a new, joined-up approach that uses all available customer information to make products and services as personalised as possible.”

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Much like retail experts talk about the future of physical stores as showrooms rather than a place for conducting transactions, the Genesys report suggests branches are seen as touchpoint where financial service firms can bring a deeper level of human connection to their CX efforts.

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Later in the report, Genesys offers some specific ideas on how branches could transform for the better, such as using voice recognition services and better analytics for team members to understand customers’ needs.

The study also broke out a segment of respondents that were identified as CX leaders to indicate what kind of strategies and behaviors are proving most successful. While none of these were necessarily surprising — matching advisers to the right customers and being available in the right channels — they are a good reminder of why it’s important to get the fundamentals of CX right.

Genesys also peppers the 17-page report (which is gated but offers an opt-out from being contacted) with comments and insights from financial services execs. The result is a potential playbook for challenger banks that want to gain traction amid economic turbulence by standing out from larger players based on the CX they offer. The way recessionary forces are looking, though, we’re going to need all banks to be as personalized, streamlined and responsive as possible.

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