3 ways to cultivate frictionless banking experiences

  • Financial Services
  • Solutions
  • 2023
  • Kristin Streett
August 16, 2023

Frictionless banking: Bank teller helping customers

In the not-too-distant past, banking relationships could last decades—even lifetimes. But times have changed. Traditional banks face competition from a new breed of disruptors, such as global financial technology firms (fintechs), challenger banks, and neobanks. As in virtually every other industry, customer experience (CX) is now a major factor in the decision to stick with a bank or seek an alternative.

When many banks look to upgrade CX with technology, they tend to focus solely on the digital, front-end engagement layer. They don’t address or invest in the inefficient and broken processes behind the scenes that ultimately determine the quality of engagement. This doesn’t deliver frictionless banking.

The processes supporting CX span multiple departments and systems. For services such as onboarding and issue resolution to work properly, information and processes must flow smoothly across the banking enterprise. But that’s easier said than done in an environment of siloed data sources and isolated operational areas.

What can banks do to deliver great CX—without driving up costs and creating more complexity? Here are three suggestions:

1. Make onboarding secure, consistent, and quick

The customer onboarding process sets the stage for the entire CX. A structured approach to gathering the needed information can help establish the right tone. That requires process consistency.

Customers expect an automated experience in areas such as identification verification and know-your-customer compliance. The fewer paper-based forms there are, the better. Advanced AI and machine learning capabilities can simplify and accelerate the process, resolving differences in document formats.

At ServiceNow, we’ve seen this happen with a top-five U.S. bank that connected its internal systems to streamline data intake and transform the onboarding process. As a result, more than 80% of its customers rated their onboarding experience as “easy.”

2. Streamline service processes

The administrative overhead involved in service delivery can have a negative effect on CX—and be frustrating for employees. By automating the internal routing involved in reviewing and verifying requests, banks can make the process run smoother.

They can also automate the most common requests related to payments, cards, loans, deposits, and treasury services, and allow customers to request information or service through their digital channel of choice.

Nearly half of U.S. banks say their current tech stack is making it harder to enable self-service functionality, according to research by ServiceNow and Arizent. That’s largely because banks have invested in specialized technologies over time, which are now proving difficult to connect cohesively to form a seamless experience for customers.

The proliferation of similar technologies across lines of business further complicates the decision-making around hyperautomation strategies. When a bank starts to embrace holistic platform technology, unification drives simplicity. A New Zealand bank, for example, replaced 41 loan maintenance processes with a single digital approach that its customers love.

3. Accelerate escalation resolution

Whether it’s a simple customer complaint or a complex issue that gets escalated, resolution can involve multiple teams and systems—and that creates risk. The processes can be complex, creating delays and hindering collaboration.

To avoid escalation miscues that can damage reputation, brand, and customer relationships, banks need to zero in on the most common customer complaints and their root causes. That requires a classification system that can help categorize issues and track resolution performance.

Banks also need automated workflows to prioritize the highest risk complaints—such as those with regulatory implications. This can help ensure the application of best practices and shorten the resolution timeline.

Intelligent routing of complaints can accelerate resolution by swiftly assigning the appropriate team to an issue. Integrating the data on complaints, resolution, and compliance can improve resolution efficiency and process quality and proactively prepare banks for future audits and regulatory oversight.

A cloud-based approach

One of the prerequisites to achieving these priorities is a cloud-based digital workflow platform that’s purpose-built for the banking industry. Market-leading banks recognize that innovation isn’t a one-and-done proposition. Today’s groundbreaking service is tomorrow’s standard practice.

A cloud-based approach gives banks the flexibility to innovate at scale without locking themselves into an architecture that will soon be outdated. At the same time, it allows banks to simplify complex processes that previously relied on siloed systems. Information and processes can flow smoothly across departments and organizational barriers.

Finally, a cloud-based platform can accelerate time to value. Banks can get up and running on a shorter timeline, without massive disruptions to ongoing business.

Find out how ServiceNow is helping banks make CX a competitive differentiator in our Frictionless banking experience guide.

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