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Digital disruption has shifted the battle for banking customers from bricks and mortar branches to laptop screens and smartphones.

But the shift from in-person doesn’t have to mean impersonal.

Instead, savvy financial institutions are using personalised digital content and better phone, text and web engagement not only to get closer to customers but also poach market share from their competitors.

And if financial institutions are not investing in innovative customer experience technology, they’re losing market share.

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That’s because Australia’s banking sector is in a phase of rapid change, following the introduction of new regulations in 2020 that make it easier for customers to get better deals on financial products or to switch banks.

The open banking regime gives customers complete control over their banking data, allowing them to share certain information with accredited third parties through application programming interfaces (APIs).

By making that data shareable, financial institutions can personalise product offerings for each customer, while that customer is able to compare accounts or access new products more easily.

In Australia, more than 100 banks now share data through over 30 APIs, with open banking the latest evolution in rapidly digitising financial services space.

More than 80 per cent of Australian bank customers now prefer to do their banking online, while digital wallets have moved from niche to normal and are being used by one in three Australians.

The shift has created drastic changes in the way banks build up customer loyalty, with a welcoming smile at a teller and face-to-face customer service seemingly consigned to be a relic of a previous era.

While challenger banks and neo banks have carved their niche through innovation, some of Australia’s biggest banks have responded by investing heavily to improve their customer experience technology.

Rob Towey, an independent consultant in the financial services sector, says in today’s open banking environment, lenders are increasingly focused on delivering interactions with customers that build trust.

And for some banks, Mr Towey says that focus is delivering dividends.

“CBA has lent really heavily into innovating and investing in this space,” he says. “Rather than looking at it through a cost optimisation or a cost control lens, they looked at it very clearly as a growth point,” Mr Towey says.

“And if you look at their most recent annual report, they specifically state that the ongoing pathways to profitable growth within the business are going to be how effectively they can sell more products and services to what’s already a really significant customer base.”

On the flip side, Mr Towey says another of the big four banks lost market share in the biggest lending boom in Australian history, because it had less efficient processing capabilities for home loans than its competitors.

“They weren’t able to capture that growth and their competitors took customers from them because they had a quicker pathway to an approval decision,” Mr Towey says.

That’s because Australia’s banking sector is in a phase of rapid change, following the introduction of new regulations in 2020 that make it easier for customers to get better deals on financial products or to switch banks.

Cutting edge customer experiences

Among those competitors was a new cohort of small-scale lenders banking that a better customer experience will deliver them cut-through in the market.

Neo banks, often referred to as digital banks, operate without any bricks and mortar branches, with a focus on delivering faster and more streamlined services to their customers.

Their popularity has been swiftly rising, particularly since the recent Royal Commission into misconduct in the financial services sector prompted Australians to look for alternative borrowing options.

Mr Towey says neo lenders know that their pathway to relevance in a crowded market is to not only leverage data to deliver quicker timelines, but to use that data to enhance each customer interaction.

“One of the first breakdowns we see from a customer experience perspective is where somebody might have started the journey online, and then they get in contact with a customer service operator on the phone and that operator starts asking them questions that have already been answered,” Mr Towey says.

“There needs to be a cross-channel approach to customers.

“Customers don’t care that businesses have different units. They don’t want to be passed from team to team; they want to be looked at as an individual.

“It’s about enabling operators to resolve or solve problems across multiple product lines without handing the customer around.

“There is a huge opportunity around the flow of data, but it brings with it complexity.

“Data security is an absolute must, but the pathway to delivering a strong customer experience is on the back of the trust that’s been built, while having some sort of insight into the customer’s needs when they get in contact.”


Call centre connections

The other complexity key to building loyalty and trust, Mr Towey says, is ensuring that call centres or online chat rooms are seamlessly connected with core business operations.

“If you don’t connect your call centre provider with your core business operations you will lose the data and the insights around your customers,” he says.

“It’s really important, whether it’s an internal operation or an outsourcing perspective, that things are structured in a way so that the data captured by those interactions is stored in a manner that can deliver insights into the customer.”

And that’s where TSA Group’s market-leading call centre technology can help, Mr Towey says.

“TSA is able to identify gaps from the client-side, where there might be a breakdown in data or insight that was going to lead to inefficiency or a breakdown of trust,” he says.

“And then it’s the connectivity between that contact centre technology piece and the human aspect of it.

“While technology and data create fantastic opportunities, trust is built by human interactions for large companies.

“For TSA, it is the connectivity between the technology and the human expertise that’s going to unlock the trust that’s required to capitalise on all the opportunities that are available.”


TSA are Australia’s market leading specialists in CX Consultancy and Contact Centre Services. We are passionate about revolutionising the way brands connect with Australians. How? By combining our local expertise with the most sophisticated customer experience technology on earth, and delivering with an expert team of customer service consultants who know exactly how to help brands care for their customers.

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