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The One Thing Banks and Credit Unions Need to Get Right in 2023

In focusing on possible trends this year, banks and credit unions need to prioritize the one thing guaranteed to help them get ahead: customer experience. Find out what customers need from their bank and how financial institutions can finally get it right.

A simple Google search of “trends impacting banks and credit unions” will result in a litany of results, some helpful, some not so much. There’s no doubt that financial institutions will be impacted by anything from regulatory uncertainties to an impending recession and other things entirely out of their control. But driving many of the trends for this year is one overarching theme, and it’s something that banks and credit unions do have some power to control—the experiences their customers have while using their services.

Sure, this is not a novel idea or a new trend.  Oh, and of course, customer experience is always a priority for every bank and credit union. But if history and the past few years of stats are any indicators, most financial institutions do a lot more talking about delivering quality customer experiences and a lot less doing it.

However, for any financial institution that wants to come out ahead this year, that’s got to change. This year is expected to become even more saturated in the banking market with big new players such as tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Amazon disrupting the space, putting pressure on banks and credit unions to step up the one thing they can compete with the big tech giants on—their ability to deliver exceptional customer services that drive long-lasting loyalty.

For an industry committed to customer service, why are so many customers disappointed in their banking experiences? And what can banks and credit unions do to fix it? While there’s no magic formula for getting it right, it starts by taking a step back and asking a simple question…What do consumers actually want from their bank or credit union?

Understanding today’s customer wants and needs.

What people need to determine a positive experience has drastically changed across all industries, but perhaps none more so than in banking. For many financial institutions, customer experience has always been driven by mitigating problems, eliminating pain points, and resolving issues fast. While that’s still valid, what’s important to consumers today goes beyond simply fixing what went wrong yesterday or what might go wrong tomorrow. It’s more about creating positive experiences than avoiding negative ones.

This year’s customers have high expectations regarding their banking services, but that doesn’t mean more complicated. When it comes down to it, here’s what today’s customers really want, and how banks and credit unions can finally get it right.

1. We want you to get the basics down. 

While what passes for speed may differ based on what generation you’re in, what is expected is convenience, as fast as possible. Seamless transitions from desktop to mobile to in-person are a must, and customers aren’t willing to engage in other services unless core elements of the customer experience are met. Make it smooth and consistent.

2. Please don’t make banking a chore. 

Consumers don’t want to view banking as a hassle like it used to be when it required getting into the car and driving to the branch. Technology has made everything else in their daily life easier, and so should their banking experience. If the mobile app takes time to load, or times out during use, it becomes a chore. Make it fast, make it easy, and make it convenient.

3. Remember, we’re people, not just account numbers.

Customers want to feel valued, which means personalization. There’s a reason the most successful financial institutions are adept at tailoring their services to make their customers feel appreciated, respected, and valued; because it works. Make it relevant.

4. What we want is changing, and so should you.

Just because your bank or credit union has launched a mobile platform doesn’t mean you’re digital transformation is done. The rate at which technology and consumer preferences change requires financial institutions to continually learn and improve their services. Remember, the great changes made last year will likely be obsolete next year. Make it responsive and up-to-date.

5. For some of us, technology isn’t everything. 

Speed, convenience, and friendly service matter most. Those who get it right prioritize technologies that foster or provide these benefits over adopting technology for the sake of being cutting-edge. Also, as people engage with apps and websites, the second something goes wrong, they want to talk to a person, stat. Make it accessible and usable for everyone.

It’s no secret—customer experiences matter, perhaps none more so today than ever before. But when you boil it all down, customers want an experience that minimizes friction, and maximizes speed and efficiency, while still maintaining some semblance of a human element. Nothing novel, nothing complex, but by no means easy to get right for any financial institution.

A strong partner can help.

But that’s where we come in. At Lumin Digital, we’re not just another fintech company providing digital solutions. We have a fundamentally different approach to technology, service, and people, which helps both our customers and their users feel continually confident, secure, and engaged in their digital experiences. And while we can’t control the weather, we can provide banks and credit unions with the tools they need to help them answer, “what do customers really want in a bank or credit union?” Contact us to learn more about how we can help illuminate your success in the year ahead.