Embracing a Customer-First Mindset: Key Findings

Embracing a Customer-First Mindset: Key Findings

Customer expectations are changing, and the financial services industry isn’t immune to their demands. With increased competition, the expansion of big data, and constantly evolving technology, banks and credit unions are faced with customers that are accustomed to fast and personal experiences. At the same time, these changes in the environment are causing a shift in the back office, presenting new methods for communicating with customers and optimizing operations and forcing financial institutions to rethink traditional processes. Because to remain successful as we enter the age of modern banking, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s necessary to bridge the gap between digital and physical channels, and create an entirely new experience. And it all starts with putting customers first.


Looking for more unique perspectives on the ways that leaders in the financial industry are adapting to shifting customer expectations and evolving technology to put customers first and eliminate friction? View the full replay here: Embracing a Customer-First Mindset: Eliminating Friction Points in your Customer Multi-Channel Journey.


In order to take a closer look at these challenges and gain insights into how leaders in the financial industry are seeking to approach them, Coconut Software assembled a panel of experts from banks, credit unions and fintech companies for a panel discussion. In this webinar, we review the current friction points in the customer omnichannel journey, discuss the importance of building customer relationships in the changing landscape, and provide best practices to build more personalized relationships without abandoning the human element. Together, this all works toward delivering superior customer experiences across all channels, when and where the customer wants.

Read over some of the insightful points that were discussed below, or head over to the webinar replay now for an in depth look into the issues, and how they’re reshaping the landscape of the financial industry.

Shifting Customer Expectations

“One [friction point] that we’re all experiencing is that buyer personalization, particularly for digital channel experience has been dramatically raised by some of the larger companies like Amazon or Netflix, that are really using data to create experiences that are more personalized than we’ve ever seen before across any industry, and that expectation is now moving across all digital experiences, and into banking.”

Stephen Menon
VP Product – Finn Ai

Personalization sits at the core of many of the most successful companies today. Knowing exactly what their customers want and delivering content to match at the right moment is what has made Amazon and Netflix household names. However, the issue most banks and credit unions face is not gaining access to customer information. Most banks have more insightful data in their systems than any tech company out there today. What is needed in order for them to fully reap the benefits of this information is a system that can pull all the data together and organize it in such a way that it can be utilized to its full potential. And with so many emerging fintechs working hard to do just that (including the ever looming threat of a ‘Bank of Amazon’), the pressure is on for banks and credit unions to deliver the truly personalized experience that their customers are looking for.

Digital Transformation and the Silo Effect

“Digital transformation. It’s a great buzzword. We love using that in financial industry media. They use that word to get us to read their articles. But basically, it silos the ownership of the member or customer experience into one or two groups, because we have the word digital in front of it. What we really need is ownership from all areas of the business to truly transform that customer experience.”

Erin Hennessy
Chief Innovation & Marketing Officer – United Federal Credit Union

While most banks and credit unions have placed their organization’s digital transformation as one of their top priorities in recent years, it’s critical to keep in mind that this is not a task for your digital or operations department. It’s a task for the entire company. Unless silos are suppressed, the most that can be expected from your grand digital transformation strategy is a series of departmental technology upgrades, which will neither improve the customer experience, nor be enough to protect against disruption in the digital economy. A successful transformation is highly dependent upon leaders who understand this and can steer their digital endeavors strategically. In order to make this possible, it’s vital to bring every department involved in the customer journey together before the transformation begins — from the contact center to the marketing department — to determine where friction lies, and how it should be addressed.

Everyone’s Time is Money

“You need to make it easier to schedule a meeting in branch with a specialist to help with expert advice when it’s needed, [and] we need to be more respectful of a customer’s time. They’re busy. They don’t want to wait around. They don’t want to just stop by and hope that the person that they need to meet with isn’t at lunch or in another meeting or something like that. [And we need to be] able to make sure that when that customer comes in for that appointment — we are ready.”

Paula Tompkins
CEO & Founder – ChannelNet

Every person has 86,400 seconds in a day, and every one of those seconds is a valuable asset. The time your customer spends with you should provide an excellent experience for them, and create efficiency and profitability for your bank or credit union. And when a customer walks in to discover that they can’t complete the business they were hoping to do, that doesn’t serve anyone’s interests. The more convenient methods you provide for customers to book appointments, the lower the risk of wasting the time of your customers and staff. And by ensuring that you provide methods for information beyond the standard ‘Apply for Product X’ to be collected at the moment the appointment is booked, your advisors will always be prepared to deliver the highest level of personalized service, and make the most of their time together.

Establishing a True Omnichannel Experience

“One of the biggest challenges [for banks and credit unions] is the integration of all of our systems into one. So a lot of us mentioned that our branch, phone, website, and other platforms are really sitting separate from one another. And the desire for us to be able to have these items melt together and be able to enact marketing automation, and utilize our data analytics to its fullest capabilities will certainly open up a lot of doors and make the omnichannel experience better for our members.”

Nicole Laven
SVP Marketing & Communications – Mainstreet Credit Union

No customer thinks of your bank or credit union in terms of channels. As reiterated during our panel by Chief Innovation & Marketing Officer at United FCU, Erin Hennessy who points out “No one leaves the house and says, ‘Hey, honey, I’m going to transact via the bank’s channel today. Be home around noon.’” They simply see the bank, and all channels are expected to provide a consistent experience that reflects that bank’s brand. If your bank or credit union is seeking to provide customers with a real omnichannel experience, it should be invisible. And for it to be invisible, banks and credit unions need to stop thinking in terms of channels, and think “customer first”. You need to focus, align departments and resources, and facilitate everyone around what your customers are actually trying to do. Each channel, whether it’s the contact center, mobile, branch or website, should be integrated into one cohesive system that enables your customers to move freely between them. And to do that, it’s vital to have every department working toward the same goals.


What Next?

Looking for more unique perspectives on the ways that leaders in the financial industry are adapting to shifting customer expectations and evolving technology to put customers first and eliminate friction? View the full replay here: Embracing a Customer-First Mindset: Eliminating Friction Points in your Customer Multi-Channel Journey.

Ready to start your digital transformation by improving the appointment experience and looking to avoid the silo effect for a smooth and effective transition? Download our Ultimate Guide to Digitally Transforming the Appointment Experience.

Looking to get started on streamlining your physical and digital offerings to bring more value to both your customers and organization? Schedule a consultation with Coconut Software to learn more about how our tailored solutions can help.