Why banks should switch to a people-focused digital security experience

By Louis Granger, Head of EMEA Solutions Consulting at UserTesting

The rise of fintech has ushered in a new era for the banking industry.

Traditional banking institutions are being outpaced by new digital-only services such as Monzo and Starling Bank. Customers have now come to demand a banking experience that is nimble, empathetic and personalised to their needs. The rise of these challenger banks has forced traditional banks to reassess their customer experience offering and pursue a more people-centric approach to user experience (UX).

This approach broadly seeks to keep the customer’s experience at the centre of the design process. By prioritising the customer experience, practising customer empathy, and predicting their needs and questions ahead of time, banks can provide an easier experience for consumers. More specifically, a people-centric design approach to fintech is designed to help consumers manage their finances and financial products without the need to consult a banking representative face-to-face.

Combined with the Financial Conduct Authority’s new “Consumer Duty” rules, which require financial firms to uphold the highest standards in clear customer communication, a people-centric banking experience is the most comprehensive model for banks moving forward.

One way banks can do this is by providing digital touchpoints to meet changing expectations, prioritising customer empathy and predicting their needs. Banks must leverage customer data to create a personalised service. That includes knowing when customers are worried about data security and at what points in their customer journey they need reassurance.

This feeds into digital transformation, an idea which is not new to banks. But it also represents a new way of mining customer data for insight into how banks can deliver on consumer banking expectations. Today’s banking customers are demanding fast, easy-to-use apps with customised experiences and this need naturally extends to customer expectations for financial privacy and digital security.


digital security compromised
Photo by George Becker on Pexels.com

Which? recently reported that several major banks are compromising on digital security in favour of a smoother user experience. Leaving customers at increased risk of fraud is not going to help build customer trust. So it’s important for banks to leverage data to build quick, easy login and authentication processes that don’t overly burden customers. All without compromising digital security.

It is critical that banks set up a good system for collecting customer feedback. In order to collect insights that will guide the development process and prioritise changes. Banks can use these insights to develop customer empathy and drive innovation in this area. For instance, digital security measures like automated logouts can frustrate customers and lead them to look elsewhere. And it’s friction points like these that a customer-centric approach to banking security can address. For example, using app push notifications to authorise logins and alert suspicious activity, or switching to a continuous authentication model. Banks can create seamless customer-centric experiences without compromising top-level security.

The role of customer empathy in delivering an exceptional banking experience

A key component of a customer-centric approach is customer empathy. By gaining an in-depth understanding of their customers, banks can build customer loyalty and trust. This can be done by gathering human insights to develop a data set that can be measured alongside conventional CX metrics to provide a more holistic view of the customer experience and continue driving innovation. Banks should know what issues are concerning their customers. And building customer empathy can allow them to proactively address those concerns or issues. Before they become real pain points in the customer journey.

Finally, an important thing to note about this approach is that it democratises an area of life that has traditionally excluded those with accessibility issues and the less financially literate. Those that fall into these categories now no longer need to worry about physically accessing banking services. While those struggling financially can gain confidence with a less overwhelming and more empathetic banking experience.

The benefits of building privacy and security services around users

A customer-centric approach to privacy and security in particular can help banks keep up with the expectations driving customer behaviour. Emerging trends in financial services and products like crypto wallets and automated savings have driven innovation in digital banking. This has had a knock-on effect on the sector’s growth. By keeping customers front of mind, banks can continue to grow and expand their offering to meet changing customer expectations.

By keeping customers at the centre of the development process you will also avoid falling into the trap of focusing too much on your competitors. Customers will remain loyal to their bank in the long-term based on how well the bank addresses their needs. Not the needs of competitor customers. If your customers tend to fall into specific demographics, which differ from those of another bank, that is who you should be designing for. Not the competitor bank. Connecting directly with your target audience also takes the guesswork out of sizing up your competition. Your customers will be scanning the wider market already and can offer feedback on how their bank stacks up against the competition.

Finally, another major benefit of building a smoother, customer-centric security ecosystem is that customer trust will increase. This has the double benefit of retaining customers who may otherwise be put off by bad UX and attracted by offers from competitors. Whilst also making these same customers more likely to recommend those products and services to their friends and family. One only has to look at the success of fintechs to see how quickly customer trust can translate into business growth. Therefore, a human-centred approach can have a positive impact on the financial health of a bank or finserv.