The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the thought leader as an individual, and are not attributed to CeFPro or any particular organization.
Kristen Mountford, Executive Director, Private Bank Digital, JP Morgan Chase
In order to provide the best possible experience, institutions should consider how to meet customers “where they are.” Sometimes clients may want to be able to access information on their own, on-demand. At other times, they may want to speak to a human being and have an active dialog. It’s critical that firms’ investments in digital capabilities are not limited to what the client has access to, but also encompass the individuals and groups that interact with the client. Clients want to feel recognized and heard. When they call they want the person on the other end of the line to be knowledgeable, able to answer their questions immediately and provide the best possible service in the moment.
Institutions should lean in to empowering their employees with relevant client information, tools to take action, and insights to deliver value to clients above and beyond a cookie-cutter experience. And, at the same time, clients should have the ability to self-serve, through a seamless and intuitive experience. It’s imperative for firms to invest in leveraging data, connecting legacy platforms, and ensuring that the platforms are intuitive and available for all users.
When institutions find the right balance between offering the most intuitive and easy to use client-facing digital capabilities, and arming their client-facing employees with access to the same data and features, the customer is the winner. They will have the best possible experience – powered by digital – whether they chose to self-serve or be guided by an expert.
With the ability to use digital channels to engage with their financial institutions, customers now expect faster turn-around times and increased transparency into their portfolios. There is a lower tolerance for non-digital processes that remain. There is an expectation that their data is captured and shared across the institution in a way that benefits them as the client. As more of the banking relationship becomes digitized, when clients engage with their banking coverage teams, they are reaching out for value-added insights, not for help in completing simple banking tasks. The bar has been raised not only in the digital capabilities we offer to clients directly, but also for informing and empowering the bankers, client service teams, and overall customer support organizations who interact with customers on a day-to-day basis.
In addition, because of the digital evolution that is happening in all areas of our lives, our customers are not just comparing their digital banking experience across banks. They benchmark banks relative to all the other apps, websites, and tools that they use day-to-day. This means that as we consider the capabilities to deliver, we need to think broadly – both inside and outside our industry for inspiration and ideas.
Asset aggregation has been a game-changer, particularly in the private wealth management space. Private banking and consumer wealth advisors are able to offer better, and more targeted advice when they have an understanding of the overall assets in the client’s portfolio, even those held at other firms. Before aggregation technologies existed, banking professionals would need to collect the information manually from the client in order to produce a holistic view of the balance sheet. This information, keyed in by a human to internal systems, almost immediately became out of date. As the client transacted in the accounts, making updates to their portfolios, none of the changes could flow back to the banker’s view. Stale information limited the ability for the advisor to provide actionable advice.
With aggregation technology solutions, customers can opt to share their assets across institutions digitally. This means that a bank can access a client’s updated portfolio at any given time. Because the delivery channel is a direct link to the custodied institution, the information is coming from the source and passes on changes to the portfolio as transactions occur in the accounts. When a customer allows a bank to have access to their aggregated accounts, the banker is poised to lead with advice – whether it’s related to investments, borrowing, or banking. And the advisor is in a much better position to ensure that a client can meet their financial goals – using all the resources they own.
Over the next few years, as more aggregators migrate to using APIs for connection vs. screenscraping, the data quality and coverage will improve. The better the dataset, the better the insights and advice that can be provided using it.
If we agree that the best possible customer experience involves consistent access to data and capabilities across both self-serve, and expert-led paths, then it’s absolutely critical that there is a central foundation for digital delivery. We want to ensure that customers and employees can engage using information and toolsets that align with one another – whether they are physically in the same room, meeting virtually, or collaborating asynchronously. This meanst that digital offerings need to be available on the go and have offline capabilties.
If we are using different underlying infrastructures for the client vs. internal platforms, then we a) run the risk of divergence, and b) we are missing out on major efficiencies to present the same/similar views to different audiences. Although it may feel like a monumental effort at the outset, the initial investment in building that foundation will pay dividends in the ability to share, re-use, and innovate at scale in the long-run. As an industry we are making progress, but are still evolving in this area.
As customers get used to having digital banking capabilities across all their institutions, they will have higher expectations of the advice they receive. Digital banking will become the norm, and so clients will not differentiate across institutions based on what they can do from their phone or tablet. Instead, customers will place more importance on selecting the banks and bankers who provide value-added advice based on knowledgeable insights. They will prioritize engaging with firms who have proven they can help the customer reach their financial goals and improve their financial outcomes. Digital capabilities become table-stakes, and insights and advice are the key to growing and deepening client relationships.
In addition, digital offerings will move from just “being available” to customers, but will become more of a driver for customers to bank at one firm vs. another. Clients will choose to keep their money with firms that are ahead in terms of digital vs. those who treat it as an afterthought.
Kristen will be speaking at our upcoming Customer Experience and Digital Banking USA Congress at the Etc Venues Lexington
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