Getting the right Phygital Balance to Improve Customer Experience
In the post-covid world, people will rediscover money as a tool to access what has been lacking in the long lockdown periods; unforgettable human relationships, experiences, and services. In this new era, searching for meaning rather than material values will become imperative.
Under lockdown restrictions, digital channels became crucial for retailers, governments, real estate, auto sales and even banks. Now, as restrictions are relaxed, the common opinion is that many consumers will hesitate to return to regular physical engagements – and some may not come back.
Thus the doubt comes creeping in if there is a future for ‘brick-and-mortar’ banks. Can one combine the online and offline worlds to create a cohesive physical/digital hybrid – ‘phygital’ – experience?
People move seamlessly between the physical and the digital world, so why shouldn’t consumer experiences too?
It’s clear to say that the first step in accomplishing this would be on the Financial Institutions. They can start learning about their customers by looking at the needs that guide their lives to create customer personas around which they can tailor their brand. All products should reflect the persona of an actual human, not just their outward characteristics, but who they are at their core
The future financial system will not only be about managing money, but about generating, owning, accessing, sharing, and transacting everything from data to goods. And as for the earlier doubt about the future of brick and mortar banks, it will continue to remain essential. They would need to become a physical space where customers move out of their phones and fully immerse in the brand to build trust and forget about the stereotypical banking experience altogether.
Thus to make a lasting impression on the consumer and change to the current system, simply creating a better user experience and new applications will not be enough. The reopening of physical branches must be done with new ideologies corresponding to technology and mindset changes.
The ‘Phygital’ spaces in Financial Institutions would be to provide seamless access to financial products in one place with highly personalized offerings reflecting consumer’s online interactions – both with the bank and the business. This opens up many opportunities in analysing and sharing data on buyer behaviour and finance capability.
It is safe to say that currently, it is of the utmost priority for FIs to get ever-more limited physical interactions right. FIs must also think twice before going fully virtual. Therefore, a phygital strategy and combination of the two could give them the edge in this new normal.
BCG Digital Ventures
World Economic Forum