The evolution of customer experience in banking: Transactional to relational | HCLTech

The evolution of customer experience in banking: Transactional to relational

Customer experience in banking has transformed from transactional to relational, focusing on digital channels and onboarding new customers
4 minutes read
Nicholas Ismail
Nicholas Ismail
Global Head of Brand Journalism, HCLTech
4 minutes read
The evolution of customer experience in banking: Transactional to relational

Over the past decade and beyond, the banking industry has witnessed a significant transformation in customer touchpoints and experience. The shift from traditional brick-and-mortar banking to digital channels has been driven by technological advancements and changing consumer demands.

As reliance on mobile and internet banking has increased, banks have had to adapt to meet their customers' evolving needs and expectations. 

During an interview at the Temenos Community Forum in Dublin, representatives from Credito Emiliano, the Italian bank, explored the evolution of customer touchpoints and experience in banking and discussed the role of partnerships, data management and emerging technologies in propelling banking forward.

Lorenzo Villa, Head of Technology Touchpoints at Credito Emiliano, emphasized the need for a seamless experience across all touchpoints. At the same time, his colleague, Cristiano Buresti, Mobile Banking Product Owner, stressed the importance of providing a 24/7 experience.

The evolution of customer touchpoints and experience

Digital channels like mobile and internet banking have become essential components of a bank's service offerings. Initially, Villa highlighted that these digital channels were viewed as optional, but today they are indispensable, with most customers preferring mobile banking over traditional internet and brick-and-mortar banking.

“Digital channels are very important in onboarding and acquiring new customers,” he said.

There has been a shift from a transactional to a more comprehensive, relational customer experience model. Customers now expect to be able to perform a wide range of activities through digital channels, including account management, product purchases and onboarding processes for new customers. Ensuring uninterrupted functionality and 24/7 availability of digital channels is also a requirement of modern banking, reflecting the increased reliance on digital banking services.

“Maintaining digital channels with 24/7 availability is one of the most challenging aspects of banking,” said Buresti.

Furthermore, providing a seamless and consistent experience across digital channels is vital, aligning with the customer experience standards set by leading digital platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. This multi-channel approach encompasses not only transactional aspects but also sales and onboarding processes, adapting to different customer preferences and needs.

An ecosystem of partners

Partnerships play a significant role in delivering transformational changes. To offer services beyond traditional banking, collaborative efforts with third-party service providers and technology partners are needed.

“As we are a bank, we know that we can’t do everything on our own,” said Villa. “We need partners to deliver services beyond financial services, as well as new technology and technical skills to evolve quickly,” he added.

Both Villa and Buresti highlighted the partnership with HCLTech and Temenos as instrumental in enabling Credito Emiliano to compete with larger banks. The partnership allows the bank to leverage new technologies and swiftly deliver innovative solutions, ultimately leveling the playing field against larger competitors.

Pointing to an example, Buresti said: “Over the last two years, there has been a huge increase of interest rates in Europe, and we didn’t have a product that enabled our customers to open deposit accounts. By working with partners like HCLTech we were able to develop and deploy that solution. Partnerships are key in the process of developing new products quickly and rolling them out to customers.”

Emerging technologies propelling banking forward

Emerging technologies such as IoT, blockchain and AI were identified as catalysts for propelling banking forward. 

While these technologies are still in the early stages of scaled adoption, their potential to revolutionize banking operations and customer experience is significant. 

One example cited by Buresti was the use of blockchain to monitor collateral assets in situ, such as Parmigiano Reggiano, enhancing transparency and efficiency in traditional lending processes.

Regarding AI, there are so many opportunities on the horizon, according to Villa.

“We have a lot of data, and we must learn how to better use it for us to become more profitable. It will also help us in developing better products for our customers. We are working on it, but we are at the beginning. In the next two to four years, a lot of changes will arrive,” he said.

It’s all about the data

“We are an information company. We sell and manage information,” said Villa.

Like many banks and institutions in other industries, Credito Emiliano relies on data to transform customer experience, productivity and other metrics.

As a result, effective data management, ensuring data quality, is a significant aspect in the evolution of customer touchpoints and experience. “But it is a significant challenge,” continued Villa.

Recognizing the importance of high-quality data in driving AI innovations and improving customer experience, Credito Emiliano has established a dedicated division focused on data management. 

Villa highlighted the crucial role of data in understanding customer preferences, enabling more targeted marketing and guiding the development of new products and services. 

The emphasis on data management as a standalone division, separate from other functional areas, underscores its critical role in driving strategic initiatives aligned with customer needs.

The blueprint to Total Experience


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Strategic advice for proactive transformation

Banks are now looking to become proactive rather than reactive when transforming customer experience. According to Villa, a customer-centric approach, driven by continuous learning from customer data and feedback, is essential in achieving this state. 

Leveraging customer trust and data as key assets, Buresti emphasized the need to focus on product development and aligning technological advancements with customer-centric goals. 

By keeping a keen focus on customer needs and preferences, banks can proactively develop innovative solutions and stay ahead of evolving customer demands.

The evolution of customer touchpoints and customer experience in banking has been shaped by customer demand and facilitated by digitalization, strategic partnerships, data management and emerging technologies. Banks that prioritize customer-centric strategies and leverage technology to deliver seamless and personalized experiences are better positioned to thrive in the digital era.

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