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The most important trends for 2018 in retail banking

Blog
19th January 2018

The 2018 Retail Banking Trends and Predictions research published by The Financial Brand features insight from over 100 retail banking leaders. The research identifies ten key trends that retail banks need to be focused on in 2018 and the customer interaction is at the heart of several of these trends:

  1. Removing friction from the customer journey
  2. Use of Big Data, AI, Analytics
  3. Improvement in integrated multichannel delivery
  4. Open APIs
  5. Building partnerships between banks and Fintech
  6. Expansion of digital payments
  7. Responding to regulatory changes
  8. Exploring new tech – IoT, voice, etc
  9. Emergence of challenger banks
  10. Blockchain

The first three were considered to be of critical importance, so let’s explore each of those more important trends in turn:

Retail banks need to place themselves in the shoes of their customer. Ask why are customers so happy with the services they receive from new challenger banks and Fintech companies? The research suggests four immediate strategies and questions bank executives need to ask if they want to start exploring their own customer experience:

  1. Create an account opening process that allows a customer or member to open an account digitally without needing to enter a branch.
  2. Build a real-time alert process that goes beyond post-event notifications to include recommendations for future actions.
  3. Redesign your mobile and online banking platforms, removing steps that create friction.
  4. Rethink back-office process flows and documentation from a ‘digital bank’ perspective.

I suspect most retail banks would fail at question one. Can you open an account direct from your phone? Think about how the new app-based services have never even had a branch network and explore how the customer journey can be redefined.

Most banks have a vast amount of data on their customers. From current account spending patterns to knowledge of bills, loans, and credit commitments, banks have an enviable oversight over their customers, but often fail to mine it. By utilising this data more effectively a bank can offer more targeted, personalised products to their clients – good for the bank and even better for the client.

The research paper suggests four key strategies executives can use to commence thinking about how to use customer data more effectively:

  1. Break down the barriers within your organization that perpetuate data silos. Only after silos are eliminated can advanced analytics be the most effective.
  2. Establish a data analytics function or partner with an outside organization to provide help in improving the actionability of your data.
  3. Replace timed marketing ‘programs’ with ongoing marketing ‘processes,’ leveraging real-time data to take advantage of immediate opportunities.
  4. Test the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning beyond risk and fraud analysis, including offer generation and bundling of services.

To be offering multichannel support is now essential, but moving on from these banks should now be striving to offer omni-channel customer support. Customers want to hop from one channel to another depending on the time of day and their location. They may prefer to use one channel in the evening and another during the day. Think about how you should be offering the same great service across all communication channels.

The research suggests these strategies as a starting point for omni-channel planning.

  1. Allow customers and members to stop any process (such as new account opening or applications) and restart on another channel without retracing footsteps.
  2. Expand traditional marketing to include all digital channels including SEO, social media, influencer and content marketing, videos, SEM, retargeting, mobile banking app, etc.
  3. Implement a teaching platform within branches that assists visitors with the use of digital technology.

Clearly all ten of these trends are important for retail banks in 2018. The open banking initiative in Europe this year makes number 4 extremely important too, so it’s not possible to focus solely on the top 3 trends. I believe this list of ten trends is vital for any retail bank executive wanting to stay on top of the changing nature of banking in 2018 – but would you add any more to the list? What do you think? Leave a comment below or get in touch with me on LinkedIn.


David Turner
Article by: David Turner

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