How to Simplify the Banking Experience for Customers

With so much access to information these days, decisions can be hard. We are all generally more informed, but there are also more options to consider, opinions to hear, and claims to be validated.

Simplification can help address this issue, and many industries have leveraged it in their branding and business strategies in order to provide relief to overwhelmed customers. For example, Apple has built its brand around intuitive technology and an uncomplicated user experience. Subscription services such as HelloFresh make cooking at home easier, while products like SquareSpace and SimpleTax empower customers to complete complicated tasks on their own. WealthSimple is another business that recognizes the complexity of its industry and focuses on the opportunity to make things simpler.

In banking simplicity is especially important. At best, banking is seen as a boring and tedious task to be avoided and at worst a confusing, anxiety-filled, stressful, and frustrating experience. Many people lack advanced financial knowledge or do not want to put a lot of effort and time into financial tasks.

So, how can you make your banking experience simpler and more enjoyable? The following tips can help you better connect to your customers’ needs and make their lives easier.

Start with the customer perspective

People want services that are frictionless, predictable, and straightforward. They want to feel in control and certain about their decisions, and they want to be able to trust that their bank genuinely cares about them.

Anything that works against these attributes will make people feel uneasy and lead to unpleasant associations with your bank. For example, multiple steps and transferring between channels or staff members can make the experience frustrating. Unexplained or surprise charges will make customers more guarded and distrustful. Confusing processes, too much to read, or rushed interactions with staff will make people feel unsure. Building trust in the digital channel is also particularly important since it is a new banking method for many customers.

So, what pain points exist in your experience? How do people feel at each moment of interaction with your bank? Carefully considering the customer perspective at each touchpoint, such as your website, app, and branch experience will help identify opportunities for improvement.

Simplifying your website

Your bank’s website is an important channel nowadays. It represents your brand and can be a powerful marketing tool. Current and potential customers alike will visit it to complete daily banking tasks or get more information on products. To simplify your website, information needs to be organized. White space and gradual reveals where viewers can choose to learn more will help manage cognitive overload. You must improve your website page speed. Intuitive, familiar, and consistent navigation will also make interactions easier, and the information architecture should reflect how users generally think. For example, emphasis in key areas and grouping information will help viewers find what they are looking for more quickly. Communicating solutions rather than a list of products can better connect to customer mindsets as well. Symbols and imagery can also reduce the amount of copy needed, and avoiding complicated language or jargon will give the website a less intimidating tone. Another important consideration is accessibility: font sizes, contrast, color, and functionality on lower internet speeds can help make your website experience simpler for everyone.

Simplifying your app

Your mobile app is the newest channel and is likely to be the least trusted. To build this trust, it is important to ensure that your app works smoothly. Errors and failures to load will decrease customer confidence in its ability to manage their money. Customers will generally use your app on-the-go for quick tasks, so simplicity and speed are key. Consider how information is presented across smaller device screens, and only a curated set of options and features should be available.

Simplifying your bank branch

Visiting a bank branch can be a confusing experience as well. To simplify in this channel, branch design, service, and messaging need to be considered. When customers enter your bank, is it clear where to go? Are there sections and signs that give the space structure? Is there a good balance of information and stimuli to keep customers engaged but not overwhelmed? Staff can help create an ordered environment and direct the customer flow, and messaging should be to the point and customer-oriented.

By thinking about the customer perspective at each brand touchpoint, financial services can be made simpler, and customers are more likely to feel more positively about their experience. Aiming for the simplest process will also identify redundancies and inefficiencies, and ultimately lead to better systems. Sometimes more options are not better, and too much information can lead to customer distress. An experience that leaves customers with a feeling of clarity and confidence will set your brand apart and improve loyalty.