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Driving CX in the complex world of banking and financial services  

Yash Mody
Yash Mody
CTO – APAC & DEPT® Adobe Practice
6 min read
21 March 2024

Consumers’ expectations around digital customer experiences (CX) have reached new heights. 

Gone are the days when a functional and user-friendly interface was enough to satisfy customers. Today, consumers expect seamless, personalised, and intuitive digital experiences from interaction to interaction. They demand convenience, speed, and relevance in every engagement with a brand. The bar is higher than ever. 

And this rising bar is creating complex challenges for the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) industries. 

In 2024, the baseline for CX encompasses several key elements

Speed, efficiency, trust, and security are table stakes in banking and finance. 

Consumers have become accustomed to instant gratification, quick response times, and streamlined processes that save them time and effort. But with increasing concerns about data privacy and cybersecurity, consumers also expect brands to prioritise their protection and provide transparent and secure digital experiences. 

Beyond these basics, CX in BFSI allows organisations to start to differentiate from one another by offering ever-deeper personalisation of services.

  • Personalisation similar to retail shopping experiences. It’s not enough to design for a “consumer.” People want an experience made just for their personal, specific needs. 
  • Omnichannel integration. Consumers want a consistent experience across various devices and platforms, seamlessly transitioning from one touchpoint to another without friction, allowing personalised workflows to be started in one place and completed in another. 
  • Education on the user’s terms. How consumers explore and learn about products and services is changing. Even in complex industries, consumers (especially Gen Z) are not interested in in-person appointments. They want tailored experiences personalised for their specific, remote needs.  
  • Emerging tech such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and voice assistants have started to become part of the expectation of CX. Consumers anticipate intelligent and proactive interactions, smart and personal recommendations, and contextually aware voice-enabled interactions that simplify their digital journeys. 

These higher-stakes digital initiatives will define this new, elevated baseline for CX in the coming years. Brands that meet and exceed these expectations will thrive in the digital landscape, encouraging customer loyalty and driving business growth.

In BFSI, standing out is harder than ever

Even though consumer expectations are higher than ever, BFSI services are in danger of becoming commoditised: perceived as functionally correct but boring.

This is the ever-present challenge of innovation, where progress is quickly taken for granted. As more brands achieve table stakes, more is needed to impress users. 

Data backs this up. It has become difficult for BFSI brands to differentiate themselves. An Accenture survey revealed that 42% of consumers struggle to distinguish between various financial services providers.

To make matters more challenging, open standards like Open Banking in the UK enable any app to provide similar utility. Even tech giants like Apple are entering the financial services space, potentially integrating these features into their core operating systems. 

This means that banks and financial institutions are under pressure to innovate around consumer experience. But with technical considerations, regulatory constraints, internal conflicts, and organisational readiness challenges, how do you do it? 

Retail banks that regularly practice CX optimisation grow 3.2 times faster than competitors that don’t.

Forrester + Kameleon 

The core competencies of innovation

The answer to standing out lies in the ability to continuously innovate. This includes several core competencies: 

CX optimisation: First, optimising your existing experiences is infrequently prioritised, even though it is highly effective.

In fact, retail banks that leverage CX optimisation reportedly grow three times faster than their competitors. This is because designing personalised software experiences is hard and rarely happens on the first try. But those product teams that improve conversion rates, obsess over task completion, and hustle to reduce time-to-value will outpace those who don’t. 

Product ideation: Ideation is the ability to generate product ideas and bring them to life. Your team might like to talk, but how often do you systematically generate new product ideas and prioritise which ones to work on? Are you testing new technologies (such as AI)? Creating the future of personalised software requires a core competency of repeatable product ideation. 

Concept validation: Once you have a concept and a prototype, how do you validate that it’s a worthwhile idea to invest in? Some subset of ideas will get built, and many of those will fail. The most innovative teams can get feedback on their prototypes and pressure-test them often with existing or prospective customers. 

These core activities, plus traditional software execution, comprise a strong and comprehensive CX strategy.

Things you can do to drive CX in the complex world of BFSI  

We see this situation often: brands being asked to innovate without a clear roadmap. So where does that leave BFSI brands who can’t execute? Where do you start, and what does success look like? 

Success looks like a product team regularly ideating, prototyping, and validating several product concepts across their current and future markets and customer base. 

If that’s not you, here are some activities you can do right now to start: 

  • Audit your current CX: An audit is a fast and inexpensive way to understand what’s working and where opportunities lie. 
  • Conduct a competitive CX analysis: The best teams have an intimate understanding of what’s working not just for themselves but also for their competitors. And if you know everything working in a market, the ways to improve your product emerge. 
  • Hold a discovery workshop: A discovery workshop is ideal when you’ve got a million ideas but no way of prioritising them. It helps you systematically ideate and compare ideas while also identifying new opportunities. We find that teams almost always have too many ideas but rarely sort and prioritise them! 
  • Product sprint: If you have a semi-formed idea for a new product or service, you might benefit from a design sprint, a one-week process in which you ideate, prototype, and test a concept at lightspeed. 

Taking the first step 

Getting CX right means being able to do two things simultaneously: iterating on your current digital experiences while also creating new products that drive growth.

This is not for the faint of heart: it takes a lot of specialised skills to get a team to innovate continuously. 

At DEPT®, we specialise in helping BFSI organisations navigate these challenges. With an extensive background in strategy and design, data, compliant solution delivery at scale, and building innovation teams, we can help you put digital customer experience at the centre of your operations. 

Explore DEPT®/BFSI, a team pioneering tech and marketing for global brands.

More insights

Questions about CX in BFSI?

CTO – APAC & DEPT® Adobe Practice

Yash Mody