Disrupt or Fall Behind: Digital Banking in ‘The Experience Age’

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The most successful companies today put the customer at the front of each decision – placing a strong and granular focus on their needs, behaviors, and feelings. When providing any service to consumers, companies are now, first and foremost, looking at how to provide real value while creating the best possible experience each and every time.

The popularity of digital experiences like Amazon Prime and Apple is forcing all industries, even the well-established banking industry, to take a step back and reconsider their own user experiences.

Whether that experience is purchasing a new Kindle on Amazon and receiving it the very next day, or sending a mobile payment to your friend who just paid for your lunch, The Experience Age is one that blends together all experiences for consumers, regardless of what industry is being considered. In the past, companies only needed to be concerned with direct industry competitors. Now, digital experiences in particular are being compared across the board. If a given experience is too fragmented or confusing, today’s consumers want nothing to do with it.

Moving toward simpler, more seamless banking experiences

Key aspects behind how the banking industry has been run for decades are massively shifting in order to keep up with the today’s digital consumer expectations. The mindset of these companies has to fit that of both the digital and the experiential age.

A tell-tale indicator of whether your organization is embracing this shift is ensuring your company continues to focus on crafting simple solutions based on real behavior, needs and emotions, and designing continuous experience flows.

Consider digital payment app Zelle, which takes the idea of Venmo one step further. Zelle fully integrates the user’s ability to send payments directly from one bank account to another, all within the same mobile experience. With its simple, easy-to-use design, Zelle provides users with a secure solution to seamlessly and automatically transfer money within one continuous in-app experience.

In order to keep disrupting both your competitors and yourself, concentrating on optimizing the ease of service for customers is front-of-mind for individuals and designers alike who fully understand that they have to be rethinking their customers’ banking experience.

A step in the right direction: Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third Bank has pursued a very strong initiative toward overall banking experiences for their customers – focusing on cognitive, perceptual, physical, and emotional user experiences that work together to deliver more seamless, innovative services.

Fifth Third has implemented this approach of utilizing outside industries’ Experience Design successes, and implementing them in their own way to provide a better overall customer experience. According to their lead design catalyst Dan Mecher, “We’re not just competing with the bank across the street anymore, it’s the customers last best experience,” said Mecher. “We’re asking them, ‘What are your favorite apps to use? What’s the best product experience that you’ve ever had, regardless of industry?”

In order to execute this approach and adjust their customer experience accordingly, Fifth Third has gone so far as to consult with the director of visitor experience at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, as well as a corporate storyteller from Procter & Gamble. They have also utilized customer feedback surveys to ask questions and gain further insight not just into their own products, platforms and experiences, but into their customers' experiences outside of banking as well.

The future of digital banking lies in this ability to tap into consumer insights – their needs, behaviors, and emotions – and integrate those findings into a simple solution that can compete with not only other digital banking experiences, but with customer experiences overall.