As we plunge headfirst in the new year, it’s important to start thinking about what we can expect from the dynamic banking industry. Working increasingly closely with technology companies, banking has become more nimble and fast-moving than its glacial-paced history would belie. And in 2019, there’s no chance of it slowing down.
Last year, we took a look at the top banking trend of 2018, which was banks broadening their perspectives and “thinking bigger.” This trend was right on the money, as banks sought to partner with FinTech companies to offer innovative solutions and products they had never attempted to before. Last year was really the turning point for an industry that desperately needed a shakeup.
This year is in many ways a continuation of that trend. As banks begin to think bigger, they need to consider their real profit drivers. And for retail banks, that is their customer base. That’s why the top banking trend for 2019 is undoubtedly going to be a sharp focus on customer-centricity. Here’s how that might look:
What is Customer-centricity?
Profit is important. No one’s arguing that. But putting profit at the centre of your bank’s decision making can yield only short-term gains, at best. Financial institutions used to be monolithic, and very difficult to bounce between. But as technology and Open Banking begin to dissolve these barriers, customers are leaving banks that don’t put them at the centre of their strategies.
To be customer-centric, banks need to carefully consider what their customers want, and deliver it to them conveniently and expediently. In some cases, it means employing predictive analytics to tailor offers and products to a customer before they even know they need them.
Consumers are beginning to have very particular expectations of the institutions that serve them, largely driven by the massive tech companies that are using data to customize experiences.
While traditionally the limited regulations, large amounts of money and solid talent base have propelled tech companies to enormous success that some banks would struggle to attain. But banks have some of the best and most thorough customer data of any institution anywhere. By leveraging this, and partnering with the right FinTech companies, banks can provide the customer-centric experiences people are beginning not only to expect, but to demand.
Customer-centricity is Good for Customers and Great for Banks
Everyone loves a win-win situation. By implementing a strategy that both serves your customers and benefits your bottom line, your bank is covering all their bases. That’s exactly why customer-centricity is going to be the top trend for 2019 — as institutions universally improve their technology and products, it’s going to be those with the most customer appeal that become truly successful.
Banks aren’t just concerned with 2019, and nor should they be. Long term plans make for long term gains, which is precisely what most banks are interested in. By adopting a customer-centric focus, your institution will be more equipped to maintain and deepen customer loyalty which has been flagging in recent years thanks to appealing offers from challenger banks and more lucrative competitor incentives.
It also will help to future proof banks against the rising interest technology companies are taking in managing customer money. With their established record of appealing to customers and rising consumer trust, tech giants like Amazon pose an existential threat to the current financial industry. But with a pivot towards a customer-centric model, banks can ensure they’re customers are comfortable and content to bank with a more familiar institution than take a risk on the latest tech offering.
Customer-centricity is undoubtedly going to be the top banking trend of 2019. But hopefully it’s simply a first step in a continuing trend that will see better banking for customers, and a better bottom line for the banks who serve them.
Want to know how your bank can appeal more than ever to its customers? Get in touch with us today and find out how Zafin can empower your institution to better serve its customers.
Zafin (@zafin) is a leading financial technology provider that enables banks to form richer, more personalized client relationships. Built from the ground up for financial services, its platform empowers banks to enhance revenue and operational efficiency. Founded in 2002, Zafin sits among North America’s top FinTech companies, and is trusted by retail and corporate units at some of the largest banks worldwide. Headquartered in Toronto with global offices, Zafin has a proven track record with a 100 percent client retention rate as validation.
Cam is the Digital Communications and Marketing Coordinator at Zafin. With a background in journalism and a passion for blogging, Cam strives to tell compelling digital stories. At Zafin he will share the latest trends and news in the FinTech world, and share the Zafin role as leader in the industry. Follow him on Twitter @CamSmoth