White Paper: How Are Banks Adapting to the Growing Demand for Visual Customer Solutions?

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See how visual solutions can help banks meet the evolving expectations of today’s tech-savvy customers.


Banking is an unusual industry because it never stops changing and evolving. In recent years, financial technology companies (fintech) have created a wave of innovation that has been changing banking services faster than ever before. Yet, at the same time many banking services and practices remain the same – unchanged for a generation. Banking embraces tradition and innovation together.

Although competition exists in the banking sector, it is not perfect. Many people choose a bank when they are young and remain with that brand for a lifetime. Many new fintech services struggle to convince customers they are trustworthy when compared to traditional brands. Many brands have failed to embrace change because change is not easy – and many customers are still not demanding it.

There are all these competing issues and priorities in modern banking, but the quality of the customer experience (CX) is becoming one of the most important ways that both new and traditional brands are using to measure their own success.

How Did We Get To Where We Are Now?

The reason for this unusual mix of old and new is because banking underpins every other industry. Banks provide finance to other companies and they help personal customers to borrow for a home or a car in addition to providing savings and investment products. Everyone needs banks.

Several banks that were established centuries ago are still trading today. This includes well-known names like Barclays, founded in 1690, and Bank of America, which began in 1904. The Bank of New York was founded in 1784 and is acknowledged as the oldest US bank, based on the original incorporation. In Canada, the Bank of Montreal opened in 1817.

So the sector has a long and distinguished history which, for a business requiring consumer trust, is a great asset. However, this also means that many of these companies have very traditional practices and business processes. In the fast-moving CX environment it can feel very dated to still be using processes that were established a decade ago, let alone even more dated.

Fintech, can be traced back several decades. Some argue that the electronic data processing of the 1950s or the introduction of ATMs in the 1970s is when fintech began, but the most significant change started in the 1990s – when full account services could be offered online.

Those early online banks have evolved into full-service brands that are centered around highly useful phone apps. The app provides a full banking service to the customer without the need for the bank to support a national network of branches.

Today, this is the central point of friction in the banking industry. Fintech services are generally designed around the needs of the customer – they are highly customer-centric. They are designed now for the needs of a customer in the 2020s. Traditional banks have a large customer base and have built their reputation over many years, but they often lack the innovation of the new brands – plus they need to maintain that large branch network and all the legacy technology and systems that come with it.

How Are Banks Managing The Customer Experience Today?

So how does the approach to customer service differ between the different types of bank and even down to some of the individual banking brands?

Citibank is a good example. It’s a major bank, one of the largest in the world, but their customer service is focused on a free telephone number. A customer facing a problem with their bank account or banking products needs to call a 1-800 number to ask for help and then describe what they can see on their phone app.

HSBC has extensive self-service information on their website. So the answers to most problems should be there, but it can be frustrating for a customer faced with a very specific problem to find that they cannot just get immediate help – they are expected to read page after page of possible solutions first.

Chase offers 24/7 access to help from within the app, but it is notable that they offer a ‘call back’ service alongside this – implying that it can take a long time to actually be talking with an agent. Help is available 24/7, but you may be on hold until we are free.

Wells Fargo operates over 4,500 physical bank branches in over 40 US states, but their mobile app is also highly rated and it offers access to most banking services. Customer service is still very focused on a traditional phone call though.

The phone is clearly still king – even to the banks offering service that is fully immersed within a smartphone app.

What Could The Banks Do Better?…

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