6 Shifts in Customer Preferences That Are Defining 21st Century Retail Banking

Why Efficient Networking Skills are Essential

The landscape of digital finance is ever evolving, and with it comes a shift in customer needs. In retail banking, a sector so heavily focused on the general public’s daily financial obligations, it is of paramount importance to pay attention to the current trends that are shaping the preferences of customers today.

That said, banking institutions would do well to embark on digitization efforts to meet the demands of an increasingly interconnected world.

One way you can get started on your digital banking transformation is by utilizing technologies that best suit the always-on-the-go client base of the modern age.

And to aid you on this modernization journey, here are some things you should know about 21st-century customers and their inclinations where modern retail banking is concerned.

The Desire for Mobile or ‘Non-Plastic’ Banking Options

Despite the reliability of transacting via debit or credit cards, today’s customers like the flexibility of having options for mobile payments.

Although cash and card-based transactions are far from being obsolete, it should be noted that more customers are embracing options for mobile and online payments, which may or may not be facilitated by payment cards. These include alternative channels such as digital wallets.

To keep up with this demand for flexible banking options, it would be ideal to implement a platform that can support API-based open banking, self-service features, and other forms of omnichannel service delivery across platforms including desktop, tablet, and mobile phones.

Increased Need for Human Interaction and Quicker Lending Procedures

Although most of today’s customers are partial to having less human interaction in their banking experience, they also want their banking partners to provide readily available assistance. This need is particularly apparent for those signing up for mortgages or making large purchases such as homes and cars.

As a retail banking institution,your bank should understand what modern customers are looking for when it comes to lending.

For one, customers seek faster processing and approval of loan applications; for another, they also desire more interactions with human staff throughout the whole borrowing cycle.

Demands for More Personalized Assistance

Aside from the increased availability of human assistance, customizable budgeting tools are another must-have for customers, especially those from the younger generations.

According to Oracle’s Global Retail Banking customer Trends report, millennial and Gen Z customers say they would find it valuable to have personalized budgeting tools from their banking partners.

These tools can include budget tracking features and the provision of customized advice based on insights generated from users’ spending habits.

With this, it would be helpful to have an efficient cloud-based platform that can help you integrate such tools and deliver services that consider customers’ unique needs.

Aside from financial tools, you can deliver personalized services by implementing virtual helpdesk or chatbot support while still providing an option to interact with a human agent.

Renewed Focus on Reputation

Today’s customers are known for experimenting with new products and alternative channels, but that does not mean they put less value on brand reputation.

In fact, according to the report above, today’s customers prefer transacting with well-established institutions to protect their hard-earned money.

Moreover, customers’ decision-making is also largely informed by outside sources such as news articles and social media commentary.

That said, banking partners must be able to comply with strict data protection guidelines to strengthen their reputation and keep up with customer demands for security.

To do this, banks may want to enforce methods such as two-step verification and biometric authentication in line with efforts to protect customers and their funds.

The Clamor for Easy and Cheap Investment Options

Another interesting banking trend in recent years is the emergence of public interest in investment options.

Today’s banking users are more willing to start growing their money through investment channels such as stocks and digital currency trading.

As banks, fintechs, and other players continue to lower the barriers to investment services, customers are becoming more eager to dip their toes in low-to-no-cost trading.

However, it should be noted that customers are also seeking investment guidance. As with lending services, it would be ideal to provide human assistance or integrate features to assist users—especially the uninitiated—in investment procedures.

Heightened Interest in Meaningful Experiences

Lastly, banking institutions should pay attention to customers’ increased interest in having meaningful experiences with their banking partners.

Despite being geared toward convenience, customers of this modern age also tend to be socially conscious.

Customers today prefer businesses that respect their needs and have strong ethics, especially when it comes to the use of their data.

Additionally, customers seek banking partners that are there to provide services in times of need. They prefer banking institutions that consider their financial requirements in relation to milestones such as marriage and buying a home for the first time.

One way to address this need is by rolling out offerings that combine other popular or value-adding products.

According to the aforementioned report, customers are more likely to shop around for better rates and seek complementary bundles in insurance and other lending products. For example, customers might take to a new bundle offering for vehicle loans with add-on insurance discounts.

Targeting Preferences to Deliver Better Experiences

In a nutshell, banks would do well to focus on green flags like 24/7 access, customer-centric products, data security, and the availability of virtual and human assistance to bring value to their customers’ lives.

But while it’s true that no banking platform is perfect, we are living in an age of unprecedented access to technology and data that can help improve our processes significantly.

If bank leaders learn how to fully take advantage of these resources, they can work toward delivering better banking services to customers of the 21st century.

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