“We want it all, as consumers,” remarks Gabrielle Bugat, Head of Card & Digital Payment at G+D, in a plenary on phygital banking transformation at G+D’s DCX event on November 16, 2021. Also featuring Richard Turrin, an award-winning executive, best-selling author, and digital payments expert, a dynamic discussion centered on the importance of integrating digital banking elements into physical touchpoints. Bugat and Turrin looked at phygital banking transformation as a means to create an optimum customer journey. They also looked at how the banking sector can act to enrich customer satisfaction and develop the right strategy to ensure long-term customer loyalty.
Driving phygital banking transformation
User experience is an integral part of brand identity. Today’s customer wants it all: convenience, security, hyper-personalization, extras – and banks must react to improve customer acquisition, meet customer expectations, and to ensure the best possible customer journey.
User experience is improving
Fintechs and new digital banks have entered the banking world in recent years, shaking up payments and transforming the banking experience for many. This has forced traditional banks to integrate state-of-the-art digital banking and mobile banking elements fast, to improve mobile app design and embrace digital transformation to retain customers and provide a better customer experience.
The card issuance journey has been enhanced through digital transformation in recent years, but it’s the combination of digital and physical that is key. It is no longer necessary to dial a number and wait to have a new card activated – instead, friction can be reduced with a digital-first approach that focuses on customer-centricity. Yet Turrin points out that digital-only is the wrong tactic. “Even in countries like Sweden and China, which are digital payment leaders, people still have cards, and there is still a desire for physical touchpoints. And if we talk about platforms, physical service is something that does not go away.”
Trustworthy financial services
Does it make sense to create a new bank or financial services fintech in today’s competitive world? Turrin certainly thinks so, but there’s a caveat: “Legacy systems are slowing the growth of new user interfaces and APIs. … Digital banks can produce a service at lower costs … using the latest technology to make them far more competitive than their incumbent challengers – but then it comes down to something really basic, which is trust and faith … and that’s the real challenge.” It’s not just about creating a new, dynamic banking platform – it’s also about maximizing trust to ensure success.
Trust is still the strongest word in banking. One extensive study discovered that a drop in trustworthiness cost organizations $180 billion in revenues over a two-year period. It leads to customers switching banks, and to banks crumbling at their foundations. While trust is not easily won, transparency and fostering connection to customers can go some way to building trust in financial institutions.
Personalized experiences in financial services
At its core, phygital transformation is about connection, and how banks can integrate digital services to help engage with customers better. Bugat links this to personalization. “People’s emotional needs have not changed, but technology enables banks to address them better,” she says.
Personalization adds value – simple but secure user experiences. And Bugat references debit or credit card personalization as a way to appeal to customer emotions. This goes far beyond addressing the customer by their first name in bank communications. Instead, banking personalization is about appealing to customer emotions – offering benefits that speak to their values, such as climate-friendly products, for example. It’s about offering personalized bank cards that strengthen customer relationships and drive loyalty.
At the end of the day, Bugat says, “an emotional bond is only in place if banks stay connected” – and this is the crux of the matter: using a combination of digital and physical touchpoints to stay connected to the customer and to ensure the best possible user experience.
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