Research from The Center for Generational Kinetics found that the most important factors for Gen Z when deciding whether or not to buy from a company online are an easy-to-navigate website, easy paying experience, and ratings/reviews.
This research also highlighted that Gen Z, which in a decade is expected to comprise 30 percent of the U.S. labor force, is significantly more likely than older generations to respect and spend more money with companies that support causes that are important to them. It follows that their habits and preferences as consumers are going to play an integral role in how they work and provide experiences to others.
Better employee experiences make for better customer experiences. According to research from Oxford University, workers are 13 percent more productive when they are happy, which should ultimately empower them to do better work. Patrick Lencioni, the author of The Truth About Employee Engagement, believes that employees want to matter and feel that their work is having an impact on the organization.
Additionally, Accenture found that nearly 9 out of 10 financial services high performers regard rewiring their culture, organizational structure and workplace tools as “highly important” to business success. All of this said, organizations need to be able to provide an environment where their employees can continue to grow to achieve the best results.
For financial institutions in particular, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a digital transformation that might have taken years to complete in a matter of months. While some employees worked from home and others were deemed essential for branches to operate, one thing was common: banks had to understand how their employees felt about the fast-paced shift to digital channels and remote work, while meeting customer needs, which were also changing with the new reality.
In order to equip employees to serve customers, financial institutions need to invest in the employee experience in ways such as ensuring that their employees have the technology needed to do their jobs, checking in to understand their challenges and concerns, and maintaining the human touch. When financial institutions can ensure that they have the means to offer employees an experience that is as friction-free as possible, those employees can focus on delivering extraordinary experiences to customers.
Employee feedback is critical in banks taking it to the next level. As employees help customers navigate the new normal, they can provide practical and valuable advice to the organization, allowing the company to quickly adapt, improve suboptimal journeys and innovate to create memorable experiences for customers. Employees know when customers are frustrated or unable to get the results they need, and often understand the internal barriers that cause these kinds of issues – something that they can actively work to change when their feedback is taken into consideration.
While some issues may be caused by unclear design and interfaces, there are others that are more complicated in nature, sometimes due to underlying policies and procedures that make it extremely difficult for customers to easily complete tasks. Employees know where these bottlenecks are and can rapidly find the root cause and work to solve those problems quickly and efficiently. Employees are also a source of innovation – finding not only creative ways to solve issues, but identifying customer needs and prompting development of new products and services.
The digital revolution is here, and employees of financial institutions are on the front line. In order to successfully serve and educate customers, employees must have confidence in the digital capabilities of the bank or credit union. Increasingly, employees are tasked with helping customers – those who are digitally native and those who are not – adopt and use digital tools for many transactions.
However, while many transactions and interactions have moved to digital channels, there are still some interactions that customers prefer to have with humans, including when customers are researching, applying or buying a new financial product, according to Accenture. Understanding these preferences, educating customers on the benefits of digital capabilities, helping them navigate across different channels and being available to provide that human touch are essential qualities that today’s employees need to have.
Financial institutions that invest in the employee experience, solicit employee feedback and act with agility on that feedback are those that are primed for success — with employees and customers.