In the last five years, consumers have become savvier and technology has continually changed to keep up with them. Given that evolution, what is the best mix of customer touchpoints in the financial service industry? In the insurance industry? Is it the same?

An increasingly-digital world means not only more devices, but also a growing integration of technology into everyday processes. According to a CEB Insight Brief commissioned by Citrix, today’s customers aren’t just looking for more digital options—they need a balance of digital and traditional experiences. The financial service institutions with which they interact—insurance and banking firms alike—can respond by offering a customized portfolio of digital options in conjunction with traditional customer engagement channels.


  • Industry condition: Within the wide range of offerings in the insurance industry—life, property and casualty, auto, GAP, reinsurance and more—customers are showing a predictably-higher preference for completing insurance transactions via digital channels. Simply offering customers these digital channels does not add value when processes require that they still interact with agents. Appropriately responding to this need are over half of insurance executives, who rate digital service technologies, such as customer relationship management platforms and consumer and distributor portals, as high-value assets.
  • Industry response: Insurance companies can respond to the increasing preference for digital channels without completely replacing existing processes by adding value to the areas of digital need. That means connecting agents and customers through digital service technologies. This way, agents can use device applications to input customer data and use tablets to activate debit cards at customers’ homes. Customers are then able to complete their follow-up processes using personal devices, anywhere, anytime. Taking the hassle of travel and paperwork out of the customer experience allows for faster, more personalized servicing and settlement.


  • Industry condition: Retail banking customers make good use of available digital channels for paying bills and checking balances. Although digital options are increasingly popular, there still is a consistent need for in-person assistance. Between 2013 and 2015, 33% of customers used on-site services, the only banking channel that did not change.
  • Industry response: With a growing demand for digital interface and continued use of on-site services, the next step is not to invest more in digital channels and keep in-person options stagnant. Instead, banking institutions can offer an integrated portfolio of channels, especially in opening accounts, where customers can benefit from both digital and in-house services. On-site, transactions agents can use corporate devices to input customer information in branch service systems and review policies with clients. Online, customers are free to access the information that their agents reviewed with them and upload documents into their service system accounts. This way, customers can have face-to-face personal service in the beginning of the journey with their banks, where questions and concerns can be addressed. Then customers have the option to carry on day-to-day transactions using online channels.

It is evident that consumer culture demands sophisticated digital channels that can be integrated with traditional touch points. In view of this shift in customer needs, it makes sense that 61% of financial executives rank high quality customer experience in digital channels as a top priority. The trend that doesn’t quite align with this is the fact that only 15% of today’s financial institutions indicate that they have implemented digital strategies as a primary way to connect business, employees, and customers. If offering digital channels is a top priority, why is such a small percentage of the financial industry using them for customer engagement?

82% of insurance executives and 94% of retail banking executives view security as a top concern, yet their confidence in their ability to execute a secure digital strategy is significantly lower—77% and 66% respectively. This dissonance between the importance of financial data security and the lack of confidence in securely executing a digital strategy is a significant roadblock to better customer engagement. As with any business strategy that depends on digital technologies, financial IT executives must overcome a set of challenges, not the least of which is security. Despite the potential obstacles, there are best practices that can help IT executives succeed in the face of a much-needed digital integration strategy.

Learn more about specific challenges and industry best practices relevant to providing a high quality digital customer experience by accessing the blog post, “Digital Financial Services That Thrive Beyond the Wall.

For a more detailed look into customer needs in the digital sphere, check out this infographic.