Striking a Balance Between Digital Experience and Customer Care for Gen Z Customers in the Business 4.0 Era


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Consumer demands are constantly evolving. In the era of Business 4.0, these demands are increasingly focused on speed, digitization, reliablitlity, convenience, and accessibility, influencing organizations to rethink customer experience — and banks are no exception. In fact, studies have shown that banking and financial services organizations are leading the pack in successful digital transformation.

So where are banks investing, specifically? And how have these investments supported emerging demands of today’s consumer? The answer is strategically, and gradually—as it should be. Innovation for innovation’s sake will do more harm than good. Banks are finding strategic, incremental ways to implement next-gen digital while minimizing the risk for potential breaches, loss of customer care, and maintaining the importance of the banker/customer relationship.

The next generation of consumers (Gen-Z) are digital natives, and therefore, have digital tools embedded into the fabric of their lives. Their predecessors (millennials) are digital-leaning, but still relied heavily on legacy in-person services as well. Gen-Z consumers also heavily value interactive digital experiences over passive ones. On average, Gen Z consumers use their smartphones 15.4 hours per week. But when it comes to TV content consumption, they average 13.2 hours per week—which is significantly less than generations prior.

With Gen Z on track to account for 40 percent of all consumers by 2020, banks will need to go all-in on digital, but also must maintain the role of advisor for consumers who appreciate the high-touch experience. There must be a balance between speed and efficiency, and education and customer care. Next-gen technologies need to be integrated throughout all aspects of customer interaction. Banks need to think creatively about how to deliver unprecedented customer experiences if they wish to appeal to this digital-native generation

In fact, TCS has already begun working on delivering these types of experiences. For example, we’re now co-innovating with a large global bank to create more personalized experiences. Latest technologies in facial recognition and video analytics are used to identify customers within the branch. Through back-end integration, these smart imaging technologies provide the banker with immediate details of the most recent transactions (across multiple touchpoints) and possible intent of the visit thereby providing frictionless and seamless experience across channels.

This is just one integration of how technology is reshaping the ways banks operate, and Gen Z customer demands will only accelerate these digital transitions.

Meeting Gen Z’s Demands of Instancy

Gen Z customers are the face of online consumerism. To that point, they are twice as likely to use online marketplaces than any other generation prior. Banks need to continue to look at the shopping habits of these Gen Z customers and continue to evolve their own product and solutions packaging in oder to accommodate the ever-changing digital lifestyle of the online generation. This type of investment goes a long way with these consumers. They prefer digital peer-to-peer payment, and their banking transactions are no different.

Banks already have the tools they need to make such accomodations. For example, through AI implementation into Voice-to-Text (V2T) technology, banks will be able to analyze customer interaction data in an effort to streamline customer service and customer care. By understanding what individuals are calling banks to discuss, banks can then overhaul their online portfolios and provide quick and easy customer solutions that would mitigate the need for a customer to even pick up the phone. By eliminating some of the excess process and optimizing each consumer interaction, banks will be able to deliver that instant digital customer experience, where appropriate.

These experiences must be present throughout the entire lifecycle of the customer relationship. To further illustrate, TCS is currently innovating an omni-channel experience for a retirement solutions firm —where a customer can browse a potential fund plan, talk to contact center representative and do due diligence on web portals. We can harness data gathered across all of these separate touchpoints and stitch them together, so that transitions between customer platforms is seamless. In this case, when customer uses his or her mobile app, there is a targeted experience. Recommendations are made as a result of interactions that occurred just moments prior on a separate channel. All experiences need to be connected and seamless in this same vein.

Maintaining In-Person Interaction

Self-serving digital tools are great, but there are some services that cannot be replaced by a website or a portal. Especially with certain life-long responsibilities—such as personal finance, savings, etc.—customers need to have reliable, trustworthy advisors to help them best prepare for their future and ultimately their retirement. These in-person interactions are absolutely crucial to the financial success of any individual—especially a young Gen Z consumer who is just starting to grasp the responsibilities and requirements that come with adulthood. Additionally, it’s important for banks to understand how receptive these consumers are to outside influence when it comes to their fincances. In fact, a whopping 87 percent of Gen-Z consumers believe in a “do it yourself” approach to managing their personal finances and investments. Banks need to understand that providing Gen-Z with the advice they need, while appealing to their “do it yourself” attitude is a fine line to walk.

With all of this said, technology can help bolster these in-person experiences as well to appeal to this next generation of consumer. As augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) technology becomes increasingly smart and interactive, banks can look to leverage such technologies as these for delivering those integral advisory services that customers need. Through AR and VR integration, Gen Z customers will be able to receive valuable facetime with banking professionals from the comfort of their home, and in a moment’s notice. Without the need to schedule an appointment, drive to the bank, and sit with a professional for up to hours on end, consumers would have the ability to access these educational tools through digital capabilities—bringing the advisor directly to them, in the blink of an eye.

The role of banking professionals is not going to be obsolete, it is simply changing in how their services are deployed. To the above point, banking professionals may find themselves on the other end of a VR or AR display, virtually visiting and advising their customers in their own homes. Additionally, customer service experts will be able to know, with a high degree of certainty, exactly what a customer is calling about prior to ever picking up the phone—thanks to the help of strategically implemented AI. These types of technologies can provide the instant, convenient experiences that Gen Z consumers have come to expect—without sacrificing the education and advisory services that will make the consumer successful in the long-term.

These are just a few of the ways that technology and digital transformation can help strike a balance between in-person experiences and online convenience. In the end, banks will need to make serious investments if they want to appeal to the next generation of consumerism—and those who choose to rely on legacy infrastructure will more than likely struggle to keep up.

Anupam Singhal
Anupam Singhal has been with Tata Consultancy Services since 1993. He heads the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance unit for US East Segment and sponsors the relationship for one of TCS’ largest customers. In his early career at TCS, he was in TCS Products Marketing group for a few years. He is a graduate of the prestigious AMP program at the Harvard Business School, holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering.



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