Welcome to 2025. No, you haven’t missed four years’ worth of slightly disappointing new years’ eve parties, we’ve just accelerated a few years digitally speaking thanks to a teeny tiny little thing called a global pandemic. Since we’re now in 2025, you’d think that excellent omnichannel service was a ‘been there done that’ kind of thing in private banking right? Well, sadly not.
We’ve conducted a number of reviews of the private banking digital landscape with this context in mind, and concluded that there is a wide gap between the trail blazers and those who are failing to keep up with the competition. Because we’re a generous bunch, we’ve analysed the mistakes we’ve seen time and again, examined why fixing these issues is key in today’s marketplace and provided simple solutions to boost the digital offering in private banking services.
Private banking and wealth management are complex and specialised subjects which may be overwhelming for prospective clients. The way that many private banking websites are laid out only makes these topics even harder to understand. For example, our UX reviews found that these sites are full of complex journeys characterised by overcrowded pages and random module arrangements that are difficult to scan. Additionally, where there are key decisions to make, we’ve observed a high number of choices offered on webpages which could result in cognitive overload for a potential customer.
Why fix it? The competition is ambitious
Frictionless journeys to improve customer experience are a priority in the private banking sector as 81 percent of firms expect to increase their tech budget by more than 5 percent over the course of 2021. There is also increasing understanding of the impact of cognitive overload on users in the banking sector such as a decrease in trust which can have a detrimental impact on a brand.
How to fix it:
Websites in this sector are guilty of following a formula. Duplicate modules and content as well as meaningless stock photography (generic glass skyscraper anyone?), fail to represent the DNA of an organisation or set it apart from the competition. Similar layouts for all webpages on a site leave the user unable to differentiate between different areas, potentially leading to confusion and second guessing their reason for visiting. This experience is similar to friction in non-digital interfaces too- like being on hold for ages listening to generic music only to receive average customer service from someone who doesn’t understand your needs.
Why fix it? Behaviours are changing
The younger, millennial, tech immersed, high net worth group of individuals that private banks are increasingly seeking to attract not only expect a digital first experience, but are fickle. This generation has grown up in a world of economic instability and are therefore adaptable and restless in their choice of service providers. It won’t take much for consumers from this group to give up on you all together and take their custom elsewhere if your digital experience doesn’t offer them what they expect and more.
How to fix it:
The way people are spoken to is key, with the ‘human touch’ essential to breaking down more technical subjects like private banking. We recently reviewed a contact form on a private banking website. The first option under the ‘reason to get in touch’ dropdown was ‘PVB products’, which if you’re new to the site or private banking, is meaningless. Your prospect then has to spend more time trying to understand your offering which could easily lead to you losing their attention. This is in a climate where 57% of the time spent online each day per adult is on just 13 websites, meaning it is harder than ever to get the attention you need from your audiences.
Reason to fix it: Humanising digital results in a superior customer experience
As private banks adopt a holistic approach to delivering value for clients with digital at its core, humanising these experiences is crucial to fostering more authentic customer connections. Hyper-personalised relationships with a combination of human and electronic systems will enable lasting customer relationships leading to higher brand trust and loyalty in the sector.
How to fix it:
Just because private banking is an exclusive product, doesn’t mean that a website advertising or providing access to the service should be. Despite the advantages of investing in accessible web design being well documented, we’ve continued to see private banks miss the mark, not meeting the requirements of the Consortium for the World Wide Web (W3C) at level AA. This not only alienates users, but also results in the loss of hundreds or thousands of leads.
Reason to fix it:
Web accessibility practices have been proven to drive innovation by strengthening brand presence and of course improving customer experience, for everyone. For example, finance brands such as Barclays have set high ambitions- to become the most accessible and inclusive FTSE company by shifting their mindset from meeting minimum legal compliance to becoming a sector leader in terms of accessibility. This will undoubtedly bring the bank unique commercial and creative opportunities.
How to fix it:
Digital accessibility should be embedded into every element of a digital service not just an add on. The Web Accessibility Initiative provides a framework for planning and managing web accessibility through four simple steps:
Phewf! Well done, you made it through that marathon list. Overwhelmed? You needn’t be. With the right innovation strategy developed through getting to know your users, and failing quickly, everything will fall into place. We’ve done it countless times before so drop us a line if you’d like to chat about it, we’d love to help.
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