Banks Should Get Back to the Basics

Getting Back to Customer Service

You don’t have to be living under a rock to know that banks and other financial institutions face challenges in adapting to an ever increasing regulatory environment. As a result of this compliance focus, one can make the case that banks are taking their eye off the ball.  Perhaps the most obvious area that consumers feel neglected, is customer service.  Fortunately, banks are not blind to this reality or perception (depending on whom you speak to). Even better, most banking institutions want to get better at customer service. Who can blame them?  In our current customer focused world, customer service is what separates successful businesses from mediocre ones.

The Customer’s Expectations Have Changed

Technology acts as a doubled edged sword in the customer-bank relationship.  Increased technology has given banks the ability to streamline their processes and services, in addition to collecting customer data, for use in additional marketing initiatives.  Just these areas alone, allow banks to become more productive and more profitable. On the flip side, customers know about the benefits that technology can bring them.  Mobile deposits, online banking, and web based loan services (just to name a few) put the customer in the driver’s seat when it comes to getting tasks done on their schedule.

Tech Has Spoiled Us

After getting a taste of the benefits of technology, customers grow to expect immediate results in other areas of the bank or financial institution.  These expectations carry over to other departments that may not yet be automated or tech enabled. When a customer is unable to get a result in the time frame they feel is reasonable, they get frustrated. Speaking for myself, I view banking services in much the same way I view my electricity or cell phone service.  My banking service should be ON and WORKING every day, even in the midst of a national crisis or emergency. It’s what we’ve come to expect, and if that expectation is not met, banks risk losing customers.

Customers Want Info Standardization

If you’ve ever contacted a bank on multiple occasions on the same day or week; you know how frustrating it can be having to tell multiple people the same story over and over again. Many institutions have not upgraded their technology to be able to serve their clients efficiently, and by default force their clients into this unsavory experience all too often.  In this case, banks have the option of fight or flight.  If they stay with the status quo, they risk having clients grow disgusted with this maddening process. Hence the client may begin seeking out a competitor. Addressing the problem is of course the smart course of action.

Higher Expectations = More Opportunities

To some it might be easy to look at higher client expectations and miss the opportunity for more market share.  It’s how the bank approaches this challenge that makes all the difference. While assessing how to deal with these new tech enabled customers, banks are able to choose staying the course with antiquated services, or step up their game and offer more tech rich services.  Many consumers like the idea of a convenient “one stop shop” environment for their banking needs. A great example of banks and finance companies offering additional services is best found in the tax filing arena.  Consequently, many banks are now expanding their reach to help people with 1040 tax preparation, as well as trust and estate tax work for higher net worth individuals.

Cloud Based Solutions Offer Standardization of Data and Quality Product Delivery.

So in summary, what is the best way to address the challenges of adding value added services and data standardization to improve the customer experience?  Fortunately, technology is the answer in addressing these customer pain points to help acquire and retain customers.  Current cloud based tax and workflow solutions can now allow banks and finance companies to not only expand their product menu, but also make client interactions more successful. With more companies jumping on the bandwagon, it’s easy to see why corporate tech departments owe it to themselves to consider upgrading to more tech savvy solutions. Indeed, it may soon be required, to stay competitive. Perhaps this customer trend that we speak of can best be encapsulated in a quote from the recent 2017 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study by JD Power.  “There is no question that banks need to get the digital experience right in order to attract and retain customers, however, the branch continues to play an important part of the overall customer experience,” said Jim Miller, senior director of banking at J.D. Power.

Want to learn more about addressing the challenges and opportunities discussed in this article? A  digital tax and workflow solution makes it easier for your banking clients to conduct business with you. Learn more by clicking here.

 

AUTHOR

Jennifer Cunningham

Product Marketing Manager at Wolters KluwerTax & Accounting

All stories by: Jennifer Cunningham