5 Ways to Make Banking Personal with Customer Engagement

It’s a challenging time for banks. Traditional banks are struggling to maintain the volume and value of their customers. The dust hadn’t even settled from the global financial crisis when there was an explosion of disruptive new fintech companies challenging banking. Now global giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are circling.

Technology has been a key enabler for these new banking competitors but the real opportunity for the competition has been due to low levels of customer satisfaction, a lack of trust that the bank is always acting in the customer’s best interest. Irrelevant offers, disjointed communications and poor customer service all contribute to this general feeling. Only 39% of customers1 trust their bank, and just 14%2 feel extremely confident in the banking industry.

The question is what do banks need to do to change customer perception and start to build trust again? Here are five ways banks can do this:

1. Build meaningful relationships – Meet customer needs across their journey every time

Worryingly for traditional banks, 79% of consumers3 see their banking relationship as purely transactional, and they’re turning to other sources for advice.

Banks must strive to put the customer first, make them feel understood, valued and like they are working for them. Meeting their needs consistently means banks can build trust, and can foster a relationship where customers don’t shop around for a bank that fits their bill. It seems like this issue has been kicking around for ages, regulation like the EU GDPR only helps to reinforce the importance of rebuilding a trusted relationship.

2. Banks need to make every moment count

Banks must understand an individual’s needs by listening to what they’re telling the banks through their behaviour, and responding in kind. Every interaction is an opportunity to create value.

Connecting the entire customer journey, joining online and offline interactions and focusing on providing your customers value, seamlessly, every time, will build trust and stronger relationships that last.

3. Consistency counts – Create a seamless experience across your bank

77% of customers4 expect their bank to provide a consistent experience whether in person, online, or on mobile – they want to be able to do everything and anything on every channel, and switch devices if and when they choose to. Channel, device and the department they need to help them achieve their goals are irrelevant. They traverse departments, at will, on their own terms.

Meeting needs consistently throughout their journey and making that journey frictionless is what will really make you stand out from the crowd.

4. Take things personally – Make banking personal (and relevant)

Like their fingerprints, no two customers are exactly alike and because of this customers are looking for solutions that are tailored to them in every sense, and this demand is building. Millennials have even greater expectations of their financial provider than most. Less than a third (32%) of millennials5 feel their bank understands them, compared with 41% of Gen Xers and Boomers. What’s more, nearly half of millennials (45%) say they would switch banks if a better option came along – a concerning stat when you consider how easy it is now to switch. To win their trust and loyalty, every interaction with them must be tailored. There is now so much opportunity to be smart with insight, and use journey context to personalise your customers experience wherever and whenever they interact, there is no excuse not to.

5. Mind the gap – Address the engagement gap head on with a customer engagement strategy

It’s clear that there is a gap between what customers expect in the omnichannel connected world of today and what many banks are delivering. We call this the engagement gap. The engagement gap is created by the combined effect of businesses maintaining an ‘inside-out’ culture, siloed departments, no single view of the customer, and a mish-mash of technology which isn’t connected across the entire customer journey. Consumers on the other hand want to fulfil their individual banking needs with you, and for it to be easy, quick and without barriers. They do not think in terms of departments and channels. Banks need to close the gap by implementing a customer engagement strategy.

How Can Banks Deliver These Five Goals?

Don’t worry, help is at hand. Technology and thinking has evolved and it’s now possible to listen to customers on their journey and arbitrate real-time what the most valuable and appropriate conversation for that customer should be for them – above the siloes of sales, service and marketing and IT systems that support them. It’s time to seize the day and make banking personal; make customer engagement your priority today.


[1] EY: Trust is essential in banking, because of its intensely personal nature and because it is a predictor of advocacy and future business. When trust is breached, the consequences can be severe.

[2] The relevance challenge: What retail banks must do to remain in the game

[3] Accenture Consulting: Banking on Value Rewards, Robo-Advice and Relevance 

[4] Salesforce: Insights into the Changing Needs of Today’s Retail Banking Customers

[5] Facebook: Millennials + Money: The Unfiltered Journey