If there is one issue which is perhaps the most important for any business, it is customer service. The ability to communicate effectively with customers and clients is absolutely fundamental to all sectors, but arguably most vital in the world of financial services.

The problems seen in banking and related sectors across the past decade or so have made the topic hugely important, as consumers and businesses now demand to know that they can trust their providers and get what they want easily and securely. It is safe to say that failing to meet those needs can undoubtedly have major consequences.

Digital or human?

Online and digital services have provided a major boost to the financial world in this regard. Using apps or websites to do banking or similar tasks has become the norm for a great number of people, to the point where recent research by FIS has suggested that digital-first banks were actually leading the way on key customer service considerations such as security and privacy. So, does that mean the answer to quality customer service in financial services is to go digital? Well, not exactly.

There remains plenty of evidence that the financial world still has time for a ‘human touch’. Take the complex area of foreign exchange trading for example, where leading fx trading platform providers such as Saxo Bank offer a range of support services to clients including dedicated sales traders, personal relationship managers and 24-hour technical support when the markets are open. This is essential for remote services that involve real money – and even more so, investments – because customer trust is paramount.

Best of both worlds

With both approaches having their benefits, which is ultimately the best to take? Well, a new report from Accenture has hinted that the best way forward is to embrace both.

The organisation’s study of around 4,500 financial services customers found that satisfaction among them was up and also pinpointed some of the key things that businesses need to get right to keep the public happy.

While there has been a clear trend towards more digitised or mobile services in recent times, the report outlined how customers were still keen to get the best of both worlds. Digital services were found to be in demand among young people, but the report also found that customers wanted the human touch in ‘moments that matter’ – when advice and reassurance is required.

Unsurprisingly, the issue of privacy was also addressed in the study, with its results revealing that customers are actually reluctant to part with their personal data. However, on the flipside, many customers also called for the financial services to personalise their experience, adding that a failure to do so could lead them to switch to another provider. Perhaps the real question here is which of this data is useful and which is just harvested for reasons customers aren’t likely to benefit from.

Delicate issue

Such findings clearly highlight how the topic of customer services in the financial sector is a delicate one. While some people want personalisation, others are concerned to pass on their data. Furthermore, many are keen for a digital experience, but some still crave the need for human interaction.

All of this seems to hint that the financial world’s only way forward on customer service must be to try and strike the balance. It is undoubtedly a complex issue, but getting it right could lead to significant rewards.

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