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Financial services are no longer services, but experiences, and the modern customer constantly seeks for a better one. While a better experience can have a varying definition depending on the actor, one of the important hallmarks of a superior experience with a financial institution is the ability of the institution to connect with the customer meaningfully, thus demonstrating that personal aspirations and goals are of paramount importance to every member of the company.

De-verticalization institutions, a process which is underway in the financial services industry, will have to evolve from service providers to loyal, lifelong partners in order to set a strong footing in consumers’ lives. Describing the concept, the BBA coined a term “banking beyond banking.” To compete in the ever-transforming environment, modern banks will have to function in a radically different way, moving past banking for the sake of banking, towards banking as a way to empower individuals and remain deeply vested in clients’ interests during their lives.

Fortunately, banks have almost all the necessary prerequisites to form deeper connections with customers than any emerging competition:

  • Strong and trusted brands – underlined by their customers’ willingness to entrust banks to care for their most valued financial and information assets.
  • Long-standing relationships – often going back through customers’ lives or even into previous generations.
  • Proven and long-established distribution infrastructure (both physical and digital) – brands and relationships are now supplemented by a newer and fast-growing asset: their wealth of data. The vast pool of customer data, which can be derived from such interactions, allows banks to understand more accurately what customers are trying to achieve. This data also uses digital systems to interact with clients in a more meaningful and relevant way with the aim of helping them make healthy financial decisions.

What does it mean for a bank to be a loyal, lifelong partner, rather than a financial service provider?

It means to be there for customers during their journey to financial independence and financial health, not only in the moment of a particular need.

“Rather than selling a mortgage when a customer asks for it, banks could provide an ongoing lifestyle solution that helps them plan for their first home in the years before the purchase.”

To improve customer relationship and boost customer loyalty, financial institutions need to recognize unique circumstances and long-term implications of the current event in one’s life. They also need to anticipate important decisions and the relevant needs accompanying them.

“Successful banks will see each customer as a unique individual whom they advise, guide and influence to help them realize their life goals, and whose interests and values overlap with their own,” according to BBA professionals. ...

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