Why Financial Institutions Need to Offer a Humanized Digital Experience

The modern financial consumer is caught between two competing sets of desire, wanting both a seamless self-serve digital experience as well as traditional face-to-face advice from a human they trust.  

Sitting at the intersection of human customer service and financial technology, financial advisors are no strangers to this paradoxical behavior. But because of their proximity to the issue, advisors also understand that neither purely human nor purely digital financial advice is the answer; polarizing these responses will, ultimately, end up helping no one.  

Ideally, a humanized digital experience should be: 

    • Accessible. Prioritizing mobile accessibility so that self-service is possible anywhere at any time. 
    • Comprehensive + Concise. Providing consistent, in-depth explanations of complex financial products in a user-friendly way. 
    • Personalized. Tailoring recommendations to the client’s unique financial situation. 
    • Cost-effective. Reducing costs to service client accounts. 
    • Human, on-demand. Instantly connecting to a human at the user’s request when hitting roadblocks. 

Much of this is familiar to a modern digital experience, but to truly humanize it, financial institutions need to have all these characteristics accounted for and working in tandem in their digital channels. 

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So where should financial institutions look to humanize digital channels? 

As it stands, a portion of all financial activities require an advisor, agent, or broker. These are often more complex and sensitive undertakings involving several stakeholders, like mortgages, where removing humans from the equation would likely increase difficulty – and the ensuing frustration – beyond an acceptable threshold.  

Other services, however, require little to no human assistance – for example, paying bills and simple money management – and are ripe to be fully serviced through humanizing their digital experience. Focusing on these, just as technological solutions are catching up to demand, financial institutions now have an unprecedented opportunity to meet the competing needs of individual clients while staying competitive. 

But simply imposing an undercooked, monolithic digital makeover to these services won’t cut it. Financial institutions first need to ensure that 3 core elements are built into their solutions to fully provide a humanized digital experience, including: 

    • Education. Create a digital experience that provides comprehensive explanations about financial products while still incentivizing clients to call you and learn more. 
    • Engagement. Leverage customer data to create a digital experience that is dynamic, interactive, and speaks to your client the same way you would in person. 
    • Empowerment. Tailor the experience to the client’s specific needs, giving them the exact tools they require to meet their financial goals. 
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When making important financial decisions, consumers often feel stranded by their own providers, left to their own devices – literally and figuratively – to track down generic and irrelevant information, all while scrolling through lengthy, complex, and jargon-filled documents.  

The truly human digitized experience, on the other hand, provides only relevant, purposeful recommendations to help clients achieve their goals, but at the same time reassures them that human advice is accessible and available, if need be, at the push of a button. 

The goal of these digital experiences is not to replace face-to-face meetings with an advisor, but to ensure that financial institutions do not lose potential clients in digital channels because of user-hostiles tools, design, or information. In the middle of their digital experience, if a customer is not getting the information they need or the streamlined, personalized offerings they now expect, they are more likely to tune out and less likely to convert. 

And the best way to keep your business competitive digitally is to meet customers where they already are and provide the best possible customer experiences – digitized AND humanized – that will continue to generate leads and retain existing clients.