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Consumers are increasingly seeking more personalised banking experiences. Financial services organisations that truly understand and anticipate customers’ needs are now regarded to be in the business of ‘empathetic banking'.

Consumers have become attuned to the benefits and advantages of technology in their everyday lives. In fact, it’s become an expectation that service providers leverage the latest technical innovations to deliver the most seamless user experiences. And there is no exception in banking and finance. Empathetic, or “human”, banking has become the latest trend in financial services by offering customers highly personalised products and services to meet their unique needs.

The motive of empathetic banking is simple: treat customers like you know them

Customers want the ‘Netflix experience’ - one where they are recommended a product they might love before they even know they want it. This level of tailoring has become a norm across many aspects of life. For banks, creating these types of experiences starts with building a personal relationship with the customer.

Our finances often align to our emotional lives, whether that be needing a mortgage to buy a first home, or planning a retirement fund for the future. In these cases, the personal, human touches from banks are where it counts.

Technology can’t replicate the empathetic interactions we get from engaging with an individual or a support team. And sometimes the human touch is exactly what consumers need. On the other hand, consumers tend to crave convenience. They want to press a button and have their issues resolved.

Using data to enhance experiences

The hyper-personalisation of banking products can and should be as granular as any other offering, whether it’s a TV show recommendation or Amazon ‘must-haves’.

Through the capabilities of data insights, end users can get the experiences they want with minimal or no effort. We all know, consumers and banks alike, that data is a valuable asset, and in return for their information, consumers now expect a more tailored level of service. Embracing the data economy allows banks and other service providers to adapt their products and offerings to meet the needs and feedback of the customer.

Technology like open APIs and cloud-native solutions enable banks to leverage data to ‘level up’ their services and allow them to take action quickly when it’s needed. For example; by blocking a single suspicious transaction, rather than freezing an entire bank account, would tell a customer that their bank not only knows their spending habits, but that they are using modern technology to protect their money.

The future of hyper-personalised banking

Some might say it would be an achievement in banking to reach the point where consumers never needed to speak to a human. But for this to happen, end-to-end customer experiences must be perfected, allowing users to get everything they need without the need to go into the bank or call the customer service line.

However, the biggest change for the future that I anticipate is that banks will take on the role of a financial advisor for their customers, rather than merely a seller of financial products. A bank's role will be to assist and advise customers on the decisions they make in their financial lives. This is where personalisation is key. Banks will become “financial friends” who know their users’ habits and preferences, and are no longer just trying to sell a product.

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