Long reads

Banking customer experience in 2024: Personalisation, accessibility and AI

Tracey Dunlap

Tracey Dunlap

MD, Customer Experience, Jenius Bank

Financial institutions have undergone a reckoning in the last decade, driven by rapid digital transformation and the explosion of fintech apps providing services for everything from budget tracking to crypto investing. Customers are inundated with banking options, and most aren’t settling for just one.

Further, expectations are at an all-time high for banks – customers want convenience and personalisation and aren’t afraid to change banks to get it. In fact, Mobiquity revealed that 70% of consumers under age 55 would switch banks for a better customer experience (CX).

Couple this with the significant adversity faced by financial institutions in 2023 – the collapse of SVB, rising interest rates, and advanced cybersecurity threats to name a few – and it’s more apparent than ever that building trust with consumers is critical this year, and CX is where it starts.

Mobile unifying banking experiences

‘Mobile first’ will be the mantra for banks in 2024 seeking to meet customers where they are most comfortable – their phones. We will likely see heavy investment in banks elevating their mobile presence and crafting next-generation experiences tailored to mobile users. According to Balancing Everything, Americans hold an average of 5.3 bank accounts, making the ability for consumers to seamlessly consolidate their financial data crucial.

Mobile banking in 2024 will also need to provide holistic overviews of users' finances across accounts and institutions to stay relevant. Features like aggregated account balances, transaction histories, budgeting tools, and data-backed insights will all be conveniently accessible on the go. Open banking initiatives and financial technology partnerships will allow banks to integrate external account data into their own mobile platforms. This consolidation of fragmented financial information will be a game-changer, enabling mobile banking apps to leverage this data to provide 360-degree personalisation and insights.

Personalisation redefined

2024 will be the year financial institutions fully recognise that one-size-fits-all approaches are not sufficient to engage and retain customers. Changing customer expectations and incredible leaps in data analysis have made personalisation a ‘must have.’

This sentiment is shared on both sides, with a McKinsey study finding that 71% of customers expect personalised experiences and 76% are upset when companies fail to deliver. Tailored experiences will be at the forefront as we move away from generic, always-on offers to hyper-targeted insights that resonate with each customer’s unique needs.

Nearly every finance app out there can analyse consumer spending habits and track a budget, but what’s lacking is an understanding of who the customer is.

For example, looking at small behaviors like how fast or slow someone is scrolling can inform banks on preferred methods of contact. What type of notifications do they respond to? When are they most responsive? What do they want to save for? Banks will be looking for answers to these questions to create highly personalised consumer products.

A renewed focus on accessibility

Accessibility and inclusivity are finally getting the attention they deserve from financial institutions, and 2024 will see key features kicked up a notch. For too long, accessibility has been an overlooked frontier across many industries, including financial services. Banks have typically only optimised for classic disability use cases, like visual or hearing impairments and expansion on that is critical.

This year, digital banking must take a broader, more progressive view of accessibility. Products and services need to be tailored for those with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions in addition to those with physical limitations. AI and advanced personalisation technology advances in collecting and stitching together behavioral data across touchpoints can enable banks to better understand each customer holistically. With these insights, digital banking can become more inclusive and effective for everyone, ultimately strengthening relationships between banks and consumers.

The AI revolution

AI is already transforming so many industries, and 2024 will see banks hop on the bandwagon and apply these technologies to CX. With natural language processing, AI chatbots can understand context and banking terminology when customers ask questions or request account support. Applications like ChatGPT signaled a shift in the generative AI and have the potential to bring personalisation to an entirely new level.

By leveraging advanced AI algorithms, banks can analyse vast amounts of data and draw patterns that will ultimately lead to better fraud detection and prevention, tailored financial recommendations and problem-solving virtual assistants.

Having chatbots handle common inquiries like balancing checks, transaction disputes, and fraud alerts enables human customer service reps to focus on even more complex issues. These models have a long way to go, especially with some chatbots being notorious for spitting out false or outdated information, but we are going to increasingly see a version of this play out over the next year.

The digital transformation of banking is well underway, but 2024 will be a pivotal year as financial institutions double down on the next generation of technology and data analysis. The institutions that embrace these customer-centric priorities will be poised to thrive this year. The future of banking CX is data-driven, personalised, and powered by technology - and it starts now.

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