Services banks must offer to survive in the era of digital savvy customers

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In recent years, there has been rapid digitization of customer service in the banking sector. Consequently, a huge percentage of existing bank customers are now digital savvy and more informed.

This has opened opportunities for innovative non-traditional competitors, such as financial technology (fintech), next-generation banks, and non-banking institutions.

Therefore, banks in Kenya and globally, in order to offer quality services are continuously adapting to better serve their clients.

The competition between banks is also stiff, as customers are better equipped with alternative banking options information that is easily accessible online.

In addition, bank customers are wooed by rival banks through an already saturated world of advertisements. Thus, bank Customers have readily available options at the tap of their phones and can easily change their banking service provider if and when not satisfied with the service they receive from their bank.

The top needs from banks that customers demand include:

  • Easily Accessible Mobile Banking Solutions
  • Customers want to bank on the go; these include checking balances, making withdrawals and even borrowing soft loans.

Mobile solutions have been embraced to a large degree by the Banking sector in Kenya, with each bank having a version of their ‘Mobile Banking’ platform, for instance, KCB- M-pesa, Mcoop Cash, Equitel, Timiza among others.

Customers want to have a stable and efficient mobile applications that can be accessed online and offline. For the offline option – the USSD that can be accessed via mobile carrier and for the platforms to be stable and efficient 24/7.

The main challenge experienced is when the mobile systems are offline and transfers bounce back to the sender or are effected twice or the system is down more times than it is up. This is a pain point for customers which could make them make a moving decision just by a friend casually mentioning that their bank has a more stable platform. Thus banks should ensure that their mobile banking services are easy to access, their applications easy to navigate and use.

Responsive personalized customer service and quick feedback

Besides automation, that has led to a reduced number of tellers across banks, it has also led to new roles that ensure more value for customers as well as the banks in terms of the client relationship.

More and more, customers want to be kept in the know of anything that affects or would potentially affect their banking. Communicating that the systems will be undergoing a system upgrade other than being blindsided and having to walk into the bank to get the same information goes a long way into instilling loyalty and confidence in the customers.

Read: Kenyan Customers Value Mobile Banking But Not Ready for Robotic Agents

For instance, there have been recent rules from the CBK on bulk withdrawals, and as such, customers are looking for a bank which will make them understand why such rules are in place, what is needed of them, and how that affects their banking. A good bank will ensure that when a customer wants to make a bulk withdrawal, such a transaction will be well informed and guided.

Another area that requires extra input from banks that could go a long way in retaining customers are responding to customer queries. When a customer raises a query or even a complaint, this has to be addressed immediately. Queries that go for days unanswered will not cut it in today’s customer service. Gone are the days of resolving issues within seven working days – issues are resolved immediately, and the sooner, the better for everyone.

Versatile Options for their banking/ integrated systems

Tech savvy Customers want a variety of banking options. Customers want internet banking, mobile banking, agency banking, ATMs etc. all integrated into their accounts for convenience. An important game changer in versatile banking options is the rise branchless banking, customers expect to get the services they require from any branch they walk into, and this is a service that banks should work to enable as it will retain their customers.

Highest Possible Value from their financial products

Customers today are shopping for the maximum value for their banking products and services. They want a listening bank which will create emotional appeal as well as offer loans with the best terms in the market.

The value they attach is mostly from making comparisons on the rates of interest and the amounts they can qualify for. Customers will consider if they can qualify for E-loans and if yes, how much and at how much interest. Thus, it is the responsibility of banks to offer good packages to their customers while retaining their own profit margins.

All the above-mentioned services reflect a changing customer service approach in the banking sector which was once a rigid industry. Increased digitization has brought a change in how Banks now approach customer service. Already a more personal touch is evident in how banks deliver their customer service; however, there is much room for improvement and that’s what smart banks will take advantage of to retain their customers.

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I am a banker, passionate about financial inclusion, transforming how and why we practice finance and invest. Writing on issues that affect the financial sphere and propel us to better inclusion, sustainability, and investment decisions, creating awareness, with the mantra ‘knowledge is power.’

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