6 Digital Experience Trends for Financial Services in 2021

Liam Burns
Written by Liam Burns
December 01, 2020

Like any other retail business, financial institutions are finding more people relying on their online services. This year’s global pandemic has only solidified the need for digital banking. Between stay-at-home mandates, brick-and-mortar closures, and concern around human interaction, more people are relying on online banking to manage their financial accounts.

82% of people are worried about face-to-face contact at their branch, while 73% are working and handling errands remotely. As Banks see more online activity and an increase in mobile application use, it’s safe to say that online banking has become the default for the foreseeable future.

To transition successfully from a brick-and-mortar outlook to a digital-first strategy, banks must focus on delivering the ultimate online banking experience – or customers will fall to competitors.

From how they access your site, to their first impression of your home page, to finding helpful information and accessing their account, to finalizing a transaction. All of these steps should be smooth, effortless, and free of obstacles.

Whether you’re an established bank looking to solidify your online presence or a new business joining the virtual banking industry, it’s imperative that you identify the factors that cause frustration in your users. Determine what entices them to engage with your site and find ways to increase your conversion rates.

6 digital experience trends that matter in online banking moving forward

Today, nearly 80% of people prefer to do their banking online. In addition to its convenience, it’s a key source for customer retention. Of all banking customers, 82% stay with their institution because of its digital and mobile applications.

To maximize brand loyalty, customer retention, and new users, banks have to make digital experience a priority. Making note of these seven digital experience trends can help you and your team prepare for the year ahead.

1. Far reaching impacts of customer engagement

Boosting customer engagement is becoming an increasing focus for online financial institutions. Engagement can provide opportunities to teach customers about products and services and help guide them in making better financial decisions. It can help notify customers about transactions or billing. It could even gather customer feedback to help institutions better understand their audience.

However it’s achieved; engagement is a direct indicator of customer intent. The more users interact with your website, the more likely they are to complete a transaction. When a customer is engaged with your site, they have more trust in your company.

Trust is critical in the financial services industry. Customers need to feel that their money and information is safe with you. With trust comes customer loyalty and retention, which increases your return on investment (ROI).

Engagement used to be determined by clicks on a website. Now, it’s measured by metrics like page views, time spent on a page, and return visitors. These factors reveal an engaged audience, which can directly impact your bottom line and increase revenue by 22%.

2. Emerging value behind measuring user behaviors

Understanding digital user behavior is critical to providing a positive digital experience. Knowing how your customers prefer to interact with your company can help you design features that better meet their needs. Do they tend to stay on content-heavy pages, or are they skimming quickly for bulleted information?

For online banking success, you must determine makes or breaks engagement with your site, and digital experience analytics with behavior detection – like Decibel – measure these patterns for you automatically.

Additionally, becoming familiar with your users’ behavior can actually help you mitigate risks and create a safer digital banking experience. Observing unusual activity or abnormal purchases can alert you that a user’s account may be compromised. Security can be increased to validate a user’s identity or remove obstacles for a legitimate customer.

Banking fraud that lasts for one day typically costs a customer $34. Fraud that lasts up to five months can cost $1061 per claim. By catching fraudulent activity quickly, user behavior not only saves the customer money. It can help solidify your bank’s reputation, earning crucial trust and loyalty.

3.  Appetite for digital tools to perfect online customer journeys

Perhaps one of the most crucial elements to fine-tuning the end-to-end digital banking experience comes from understanding and fine-tuning your customer’s journey. Identifying the path a user took to navigate your site can help you better tailor and personalize those experiences, manage and meet expectations, and ultimately retain their business.

To better understand and optimize the online customer journey, heatmaps can paint a clearer picture of every user interaction and decision across every web page. Yet just 66% of companies use this tool, leaving plenty of insights on the table.

By increasing visibility into your customer journey, your bank has the chance to develop a complete digital experience for users at every stage of their banking needs. With a website that offers clear, meaningful, easy-to-find content, you’ll see more satisfied and faithful customers.

4. New waves of self-service opportunities

In an age of instant access to information and communication, people have come to expect quick answers and solutions to their problems.

When managing online services, customers will inevitably have a question about something they encounter on your website. When they do, they’ll want a real-time response and won’t care to wait for an endless cycle of automated phone systems or unanswered voicemails.

For this reason, there’s a growing trend in the use of chatbots on banking websites. Within seconds, customers can receive the answer to their question with an instant and automated response for the most common inquiries. It’s expected that 85% of banks will engage chatbot features by the end of this year. Banks who currently use this application report chatbots resolve 81% of the problems they face.

Chatbots not only improve the online customer experience, they minimize the number of support needs, freeing your team to focus on other challenges.

5. Growing emphasis on multi-channel experiences

Studies show that, even though people prefer to do their banking online, 50% of customers still want to access branch services as well. For this reason, financial institutions need to provide a seamless multi-channel experience. Customers should be able to access the same banking information from a website, a brick-and-mortar branch, a mobile app, or a call center.

To achieve this, banks must be able to synchronize data in real-time so that customers can be sure they’re accessing up-to-date information from any source at any time. Customers expect to be able to perform any banking transaction at their convenience and find the same level of customer service at every outlet – physical or online.

With a growing focus on multi-channel experiences, you must ensure your processes are streamlined to handle this demand with consistency. A seamless, pain-free customer experience is critical to long-term customer satisfaction.

6. Wide ranging needs for customer data and digital analytics

It’s no secret that online banks should be tracking data. Digital analytics is an invaluable tool for your success, from customer demographics and behaviors to locations and devices used. In fact, 90% of business managers feel that analytics improves sales.

This data can reveal how many people are accessing your platform and how it’s being used. It can also help streamline the user experience (UX) and highlight problem areas.

A current trend in the way banks are obtaining data is by gathering feedback from customers. After all, they’re the ones using your site, exploring your features, and navigating your processes. Invite them to complete surveys about your content, services, and systems. They can provide valuable insight into opportunities for improvement, which, in turn, can enhance the digital experience.

Additionally, banks are also inviting their staff to provide feedback. Employees can identify poor content, confusing processes, or potholes in the user journey. All of this information combined helps streamline digital banking and secure a positive experience for all.

Discover trends from 4.1 billion user sessions with Decibel’s 2021 industry benchmark report

Fast tracked by a global pandemic, digital banking has shifted to the forefront of the financial services industry for both consumers and providers.

Now, financial institutions must work to cultivate the perfect digital experience for any level of banking service in order to retain customers and bring in new business. But to truly nail online banking experiences with ease, it takes a thorough understanding of what frustrates, engages, and converts customers.

See how digital experiences in the financial services industry fared over the course of this year compared to other industries by downloading your copy of Decibel’s benchmarking report, Digital Experience & Conversion: Industry Benchmarks for 2021, which measured 4.1 billion user sessions.

Topics: Customer Experience, Digital Experience, Finance, User experience
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