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Here’s what banks could learn from the mighty Amazon

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Consumer expectations are growing. Recent research from Qubit found that given the chance, over half of financial consumers said they would choose to bank with pureplay retailer Amazon. Why? Because a company synonymouse with innovation, cutting edge customer experiences and indeed thinking outside the box has fundamentally disrupted the service industry, reinventing what it means to provide a best in class customer journey.

We believe that in the age of the expectation economy, there is much that retail giant Amazon and disruptors like it, can teach brands about what it means to provide an outstanding experience and stand out from the crowd.

No fuss problem-solving, always-on access, out-of-hours or even same-day delivery and new ideas daily are all reasons why Amazon is leading digital.

There is no shortage of commentators noting that the retail banking is set for change with a new breed of innovators entering the industry. It’s not only Millennials that are demanding more Amazon-like experiences from every service provider and banks need to catch up quickly. All customers are making these demands and the opportunity is huge.

Fintech challenger banks such as Mondo, Atom and Loot are already profiting from these lessons. Focusing on a highly personalised, streamlined omni-channel experience for users, these rising disrupters are undoubtedly paving a new age of banking.

However, innovating the customer experience doesn’t mean throwing out the original system.

The good news for traditional banks is, being disruptive is no longer enough. Whilst the digital natives may appear to have the upper hand when it comes to innovation, entrenched financial institutions have the benefit of heritage and a solid customer base that cannot be imitated by startups or even Amazon, which is primarily a retailer.

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The key to bridging this gap is data. Data today underpins everything, it is the hygiene factor. Retail banking should be working to de-silo data, enrich it and make it work across the omnichannel. Using data intelligently creates an opportunity for intimate, one-to-one connections with customers, and automation efficiencies that it is no exaggeration to say, have the potential to revolutionise retail banking.

So this brings us to the million-dollar question, what can traditional banks learn from Amazon? These first three teachings aren’t a bad place to start.

How to master omni-channel organisation in real-time

A streamlined service is certainly one of the driving appeals of Amazon’s functionality. Seamless transition across devices, and between the online and offline experience is becoming a necessity when it comes to the customer experience. With banking customers more willing to self-serve online when it comes to their financial activities, providing branches with the same level of real time data and technology as other channels is a must.

What intelligent personalisation can do for the customer

Personalisation encourages trust, something that has been paramount to setting Amazon at the top of the retail tree. This goes far deeper than simply addressing emails correctly. Understanding behavioural segmentation to drive tests and contextualise the web experience is key in creating deep brand customer relationships. Targeting the customer with the right information, at the right time is what drives an effective personalised service.

Why listening to the customer can be revolutionary for improving experience

Incorporating genuine customer reviews from the start, creating full price transparency (“product is cheaper from these sellers”) and no-quibble customer service brought the Amazon customer on-side even in the early days of ecommerce when buyers were wary. Automated technology such as chat bots have the potential to become instrumental in delivering “live” support for banking customers, along with live video which is also growing in popularity as a customer service tool.

Start the journey to building a truly customer-centric, omnichannel organisation is daunting, but if you want to thrive and differentiate in a crowded market place, it is key.

David Hitt is industry head at Qubit.

Want to know more? Here are 20 amazing Amazon facts.

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