Digital banking is creating new opportunities for financial institutions to engage with and grow relationships with their customers. At the same time, however, it is changing some longstanding relationship dynamics.
The “Customer Decision Journey” refers to the multitude of steps a potential customer takes in researching product options, deciding which provider to select, interacting and perhaps deepening its relationship with that company over time. It’s a construct for thinking through how best to advance prospects through the sales funnel, encourage relationship expansion, and maximize customer retention.
Let’s consider how the customer journey for financial services has changed over the past few years, and how banks can best adapt.
More Choices, More Control, More Confusion
Despite a decline in the number of financial institutions (and branches) across the U.S. over the past few decades, shoppers for financial services actually have more options available to them, rather than less. National banks have developed larger footprints. Nonbank brands have emerged with new propositions - even if many are often “front ends” feeding into existing bank infrastructure.
Perhaps most importantly, the volume of targeted online marketing and the emergence of curated financial sites have significantly increased customer awareness of available alternatives. Some back, simply add digital fulfillment capabilities, as a stand-alone option without regard for cross channel activities.
The key for banks is to more carefully consider the various segments among its prospects. Some will simply want the numbers and will do their own analysis while others expect greater levels of personalized service, whether by walking into the branch or interacting by chat or email. Banks must stand ready to meet those prospects regardless of their preferred venue and have access to insights of a customers’ interaction to provide a “know me” experience.
Winning a customer is merely the beginning of the process. The deepest and most profitable relationships span multiple products, which are typically added over time. The financial services market has become increasingly fragmented, with a growing number of niche providers pitching point solutions, usually online. This means that even if you’re not presenting your consumers with new propositions, your rivals almost certainly are and they are aiming to open entirely new decision journeys in the process.
The good news is that banks have more knowledge and actionable data about their customers than any competitor, placing them in prime position to preserve and extend these relationships.
For more information on digital banking solutions to enhance the customer journey, download our Sales and Services solution brief.