Why digital banks need a human heart to deliver great customer experiences

COVID-19 placed huge barriers between banks and their customers. With facetime virtually nonexistent, there was little time to nurture trust in person. This effect was magnified by the financial difficulties millions of consumers faced during lockdown—which meant banks were holding difficult conversations without as many opportunities to offer small but powerful displays of empathy.

For instance, customers who’d exceeded their overdraft limit might have been unable to visit the branch to speak to an understanding advisor. Consequently, they had to choose between automated online services and an extremely busy phone line. Worse still, these phone lines were often staffed by agents who weren’t fully trained or didn’t have the power to help. Experiences like this can strain and even fracture customer relationships. And yet, many banks are in danger of making this problem a permanent one.

Below, we explore three ways (whether you have physical branches or have always been digital-first) to create customer experiences in digital banking that are distinctly human.  

Reading time: 4 mins.

Start with a human touch

In an increasingly digital and automated world, the businesses that retain a human touch will create the best digital banking CX, and ultimately keep hold of more customers. Two-third of consumers globally say that businesses have lost touch with the human element of customer experience, according to a PwC survey. What’s more, 75% of consumers said they want more human interaction in the future, not less, the survey found. 

Technology will still form the backbone of efficient, cost-effective customer service—we’re not advocating a return to handwritten letters. But banks’ use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation should be coupled with empathetic human service and advice. That’s how to create lasting, trusted relationships with customers and elevate digital banking CX.  

Use technology that empowers employees 

It’s crucial that your human touch is backed by technology tools that help you create outstanding customer experiences in digital banking. For example, some artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions can “listen in on” customer service calls and provide service agents with real-time information and guidance that speeds up the call.

This saves your agent digging around in databases for the customer, contract, and product information they need. That means instead of spending time on hold or being passed around departments, the customer gets the help they need quickly and easily.

This in turn saves costs for the business, and means it can serve more customers in less time—improving overall CX scores. Crucially, the human agent remains in control: They can provide the empathy that the customer needs to feel valued and respected. The cumulative effect? Banking customer experiences that customers will stick around for.

Attract and retain top tech talent

If you’re going to gain an advantage over your competitors, your technology departments are going to need to be packed with top tech talent. But tech talent is more in demand than ever, and finding it is easier said than done.

It can be tempting to throw money at this problem, hiring the candidates with the best qualifications and biggest reputations. Sometimes that will be the right choice. But it’s vital to determine whether the candidate in question would be a good cultural fit. It’s also important to explore whether another candidate has untapped potential, not yet reflected in their qualifications, that could deliver more value in the long term.

With this in mind, make sure your internal recruitment team or your recruitment process outsourcing partner takes all of the above into account. In an ideal world, you’d have a high-touch sourcing and screening process to expand your talent management capacity and boost your hire quality. That way, you make the right hires more often. And when they’re right for your business, you tend to be right for them, too. Good cultural fits stay around longer—delivering higher value and reducing rehiring costs.

One thing’s clear: As the world becomes increasingly dominated by automation and technology, it’s the digital banks with a human heart that will stay ahead of the competition. And Ubiquity can help.