Improving CX in digital-first banking

By Nina Mack, CX Director at CTI Digital


The financial industry has undergone a seismic transformation over the past few years, with digital-first banks like Monzo and Starling leading the charge. These banks aren’t just changing the way we spend money; they’re completely reshaping customer experience (CX) within the sector.

But the fact that digital-first banks don’t have high street branches is both a blessing and a curse. The ability to complete their daily banking tasks from home is great for customers, but knowing they won’t be able to speak to someone in person when they have a problem can also be off-putting. That issue of service and confidence poses a significant barrier for digital-first banks looking to expand their customer base and can even cost them customers they already have.

Competition in the market is ramping up, from traditional banks expanding their digital offerings to new brands entering the space. The challenge for digital-first banks is to make sure their CX is unbeatable right from the start. They have to be able to handle all of their customers’ needs through that digital medium; if they fail, there is no plan B.

How do digital-first banks get CX right?

The modern customer has high expectations of their online experiences. They expect seamless, convenient, and personalised interactions as a minimum. For banking platforms which are differentiating on user experience, ease and efficiency, expectations will be especially great.

The usability of the app or online platform is critical, but an effective approach towards CX transcends individual features. You can build the most beautiful, functional, accessible app in the world, but if your customer still has to print out and send off a form to change the name on their account, their experience is going to be remembered as irritating and inconvenient. It’s about transforming the entire banking experience into a frictionless journey.

Leaders in the field, such as Monzo, Starling and Atom, are making great strides towards this by, for example, enabling customers to complete ID checks within their mobile apps. But there are also challenger banks, like Aldermore, which are delivering some impressive digital innovations. The banks which are able to remove the irritation customers face elsewhere are the ones which are growing the most.

Digital-first banks also need to make sure they are constantly communicating trust and reassurance through their CX, as fears around security are often what stops people switching away from traditional banks. Make it quick and easy for customers to speak to your support team when something goes wrong, for example. Make sure the support team is able to understand and resolve their issue immediately.

Consider the holistic customer

But we can go further. Money isn’t just currency; it fuels people’s aspirations and ambitions. Digital-first banks need to take a truly customer-centric approach, looking at how money fits into every aspect of their customers’ lives and how they can support them throughout.

The likes of Monzo have started to think this way, with features which allow customers to categorise their spending and decide how much they want to budget for each category, or to save money in easily accessed saving pots.

There’s more that can be done. The next frontier for digital banking will be integrating all financial activities into a unified digital experience. Imagine a dashboard that enables visibility across all of your bank accounts, consolidating transactions, account management, and even alerts for car lease expirations or subscription renewals.

Digital banks can also create an experience which helps to combat financial illiteracy. These platforms have the potential to educate users, from children to young adults, about managing money, budgeting, and interest. Such initiatives can transform banks from transaction facilitators into essential life assistants, building a deeper bond with customers.

Essentially, the key to enhancing CX in digital-first banks lies in viewing the entire customer journey holistically. They have to understand every financial touchpoint, interaction and customer need and feed that into the roadmap of their app or platform.

With physical branches on the decline, digital banking is poised for exponential growth. As the industry expands, CX will be the true differentiator between the winners and the also-rans.


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