The Future of Retail Banking Customer Engagement

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24 September 2023

More Than Meets the AI


The next evolution of retail delivery won’t be in new self-service features, but emerging highly personalized, valuable experiences for customers—designed to meet them along their life events and financial journeys. The future will be all about customer engagement.

Engagement banking is a method of retail financial services delivery that operationalizes proactive, personalized, omnichannel, customer-first engagement. While Celent is not typically a fan of new buzzwords, in this case, we’re supporters. That’s because engagement banking describes a seismic shift in the way banks operate and requires a substantially redesigned system of engagement to deliver it. In essence, engagement banking is a new operating model.

Engagement banking requires a focused effort to proactively engage customers, thereby building relationships, learning from them, and offering both advice/insight and low-friction interaction to consistently demonstrate value in unique and relevant ways to each customer. Banks must meet customers where they are and on their terms. Increasingly, engagement will be digital, but not exclusively so. Many consumers across age demographics may prefer occasional in-person engagement with their bank now, but Celent’s bet is on banks that learn how to engage customers digitally — and personally—rather than relying on the branch and contact center for reactive engagement.

Based on our research, we identify nine hallmarks of engagement banking shown below:

Based on interviews among more than 25 banks and solution providers, this first of a report series unpacks why customer engagement is important, how to design user journeys for maximum win-win benefit for both institutions and customers, and the six primary value drivers leading banks and vendors are pursuing.

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