Go back to blog

Reinventing trust in a digital world (Part 2)


There is a basic, unspoken trust that banks will be a safe place for customers to store their money and maintain its value. But with customers expressing all-time low levels of trust with their financial institutions, how can banks go beyond this basic safeguarding relationship of a money keeper and become a trusted partner? High-quality experiences will build the trust that is necessary for long-term, loyal relationships that impact the bottom-line. When creating digital customer experiences, here are a few pointers to consider to deliver a consistently trustworthy impact.

Provide a smooth pathway to human help in digital banking

The lack of human contact in the self-service space has resulted in some challenging gaps in customer support. Customers can be left stranded in the middle of an online transaction without a pathway to human help. Or they can complete a loan application online, but when they go into the branch to finalize it, there’s no record of it. These scenarios can be easily resolved with conversation. Customer conversations for digital banking require a hybrid approach that brings together people on both ends, with some help from technology. A hybrid approach works best because banking is not a single action that is solely carried out on mobile, by video, or in person. A conversational interface brings together all these customer journey touchpoints, while keeping human conversation, front and centre.

Think beyond the initial offering

Financial companies tend to focus on their initial transaction with their customers. But there’s a lot of value they can add beyond the first interaction for a traditional insurance policy or mortgage. Digital apps, content, and data can help customers understand and manage the financial investment of their home throughout the period of their home ownership. By helping a customer become a more savvy homeowner, that customer is likely to come back for repeat business when it comes to refinancing or insurance needs. According to our COO, Jens Rabe, banks are being forced to rethink their raison d’être these days. It’s no longer enough to exist for the sole purpose of turning a profit. With a powerful purpose, banks can reconnect with the community they serve and rediscover the very human side of banking – and do well.

Create trust by being relevant

Being relevant and useful to your customers is another way of creating the impactful experiences they want and need. Chase, a U.K.-based subsidiary of JP Morgan Chase in the United States, now has a newsroom dedicated to creating relevant articles and videos on personal finance, retirement planning, and life advice. The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Superstar DJ program is committed to making the customer journey a priority. In the spirit of music DJ-ing, the program emphasizes constant reinvention and testing new content. Now in its fourth year, the division consists of fifty “journey managers” who test every possible journey to create the ideal experience customers are looking for. RBS recently reported that the group had generated more than $1.5 million in incremental revenue.

Give the customer what they ask for – and be transparency about fees

Credit availability has long been an issue for smaller merchants. While small businesses reported stronger revenue growth and profitability in 2018, they still struggled to get loans to pay operating expenses and wages, according to the US Federal Reserve’s 2017 Small Business Credit Survey. As many as 70 percent of merchants didn’t receive the funding they wanted last year, according to the report. Square Capital lends to retailers that are already using its credit card processing or payroll services, giving the company an advantage when it comes to data. For example, if a café borrows a $1,000 loan for a cappuccino maker, a fraction of every purchase at the cafe is automatically paid back to the loan. Square also gives provides projections “in plain English” for when they might be able to pay it back. The big trust take-away? “If you can translate fees into something that’s easy and understandable, people trust it,” says Jacqueline Reses, the head of Square Capital.

Build trust by protect customers with their own data

AI capabilities can now use behavioural data to protect customers. For

instance, if someone picks up a mobile phone and tries to make a fraudulent payment, technology can discern that their keystrokes are different from the owner of the phone, and would block the transaction. Customer data can can also be used to protect customers by flagging potential credit card fraud in real time. It can also predict that a customer may overdraw an account, and can automatically reschedule a bill payment date to avoid it.

Perhaps we have grown accustomed to the wonder of how technology is changing banking, and the assumed trust that is already embedded in the bits and bytes of the customer experience. But try and consider this scenario from a fresh perspective: customers are now remotely depositing checks by taking a picture of it, with the implicit trust that it will actually get credited. This action demonstrates significant trust between a customer and a financial institution. But this action can’t be taken for granted. It has to be built upon consistently – and with it, trust will grow.