A portion of the article is included in the link below, as featured in the business economics magazine Biznomics.

Customer loyalty is the currency that banks have rested easy on for decades.

But as global tech and CX advisory giant Forrester’s US 2022 Banking Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) uncovered, customer trust in banks has been on the decline, prompting banks to reconsider resting on past laurels. The report showed that trust has reduced for the first time in four years, dropping two percentage points in 2022.

The Forrester study went further, however, displaying a deep, objective connection between customer emotions and banks’ CX performance levels.

The main customer emotions identified were feeling valued, appreciated, confident, happy, and respected. An uptick in these emotions results in better loyalty, more purchases, and higher referrals, it showed.

The secret then is to make customers feel a certain way, so they stay with you through economic upheavals and booms.

But to do so and deliver heartfelt experiences, a strong understanding of customer emotions is needed. This is the challenge many banks encounter.

Let’s explore emotion further.

Customer Emotions and CX: An Objective Connection with Proof

As the research indicates, emotion heavily influences the delivery of high levels of CX performance and business outcomes.

And to demonstrate the power of positive emotions in CX, let’s look at how one of the emotions in the Forrester study, ‘feeling valued’, contributes to positive business outcomes.

Behaviours of banking customers who ‘feel valued’

Direct banking customers Multichannel banking customers
87% intend to remain loyal to the brand 92% plan to stay with the brand
80% plan to increase their purchases 87% plan to make more purchases
84% will recommend the brand to others. 87% will advocate for the brand.
Source: Forrester’s US 2022 Banking CX Index: Customer Trust in Banks Falls for the First Time in Four Years, forrester.com

While their correlation is definite, making the connection and infusing emotion across the customer journey, whether through digital or traditional touchpoints, can often be a challenge for banks. We’ve seen this firsthand in our experience shaping CX for numerous investment and retail banks.

To properly understand how to incorporate emotions into your CX strategy, let’s take a close look at the emotions identified in the Forrester study and how they might be induced in the banking context.

  • Feeling valued: A bank can show they value their customers by sending personalized birthday emails, offering a discount on a financial product they may be interested in.
  • Feeling appreciated: A bank representative can thank a customer for their business and offer a loyalty program with rewards for their continued patronage.
  • Feeling confident: Banks can instill confidence by providing clear and concise information on the fees and terms of a loan, as well as guidance on how to manage repayments effectively.
  • Feeling happy: A bank can reward a customer for achieving a savings goal, either with a bonus or a donation to a charity of their choice.
  • Feeling respected: A bank can give a customer the option to choose their preferred gender title and offer a diverse range of images for their debit card design.


While these methods will help incite positive emotions in customers, the emotion-CX connection needs to be looked at in a more strategic and comprehensive way to really pay dividends. Let’s explore this next.

Making Customers ‘Feel’ - A List of 5 Strategies for Emotion-Filled Banking CX

‘Companies should pursue emotional connections as a science—and a strategy. But for most, building these connections is more guesswork than science’. The New Science of Customer Emotions, Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, and Daniel Leemon, Harvard Business Review

This is what we pointed out in the previous section. The important question you must ask when implementing a strategy is, ‘Will this activity we plan, incite the emotion we want our customers to feel?’, instead of producing a laundry list of ineffective action items by asking, ‘What activities qualify, for example, under enhancing customers’ financial literacy?’.

Upon reviewing several resources and drawing from our own experience dealing with financial services clients as part of our product management and CX design consultancy Beta Launch, we compiled this list of five strategies you can use to ensure heartfelt CX that’ll usher in your bank’s desired business outcomes.

Let’s look at the strategies in some detail.

Help Customers Feel Empowered

It starts with providing relevant knowledge. This will allow you to instill confidence in customers regarding your bank’s services and empower them to take charge of their financial well-being.

You can use the levers of behavioral finance to ensure success here.

The Forbes article ‘How Behavioral Banking Can Drive Financial Literacy and Inclusion’ outlines how banks can improve their customers’ financial literacy by helping them set financial goals and rewarding positive behaviour in meeting them. Data analytics and customer interviews can be utilized to understand customers’ financial behaviour when implementing this strategy.

Another way you can help your customers gain financial literacy is by offering educational resources on topics such as budgeting, saving, and investing, while using a digital platform or hosting physical events to disseminate the information to them.

A great example is Bank of America’s Better Money Habits, which is a free financial education platform offering practical and easy-to-understand resources on various money-related topics such as budgeting, saving, retirement planning, and owning a home.

Advise and Guide Customers

Your bank can provide relevant, personalized advisory services to targeted customer groups such as millennials, SME owners, senior citizens, etc., either through a dedicated team of financial advisors or through digital platforms and tools such as robot-advisors, chatbots, or mobile apps.

This will communicate to the customers that you sincerely care, and this will give rise to several of the emotions discussed earlier.

It is human nature to take advice from trusted people and we hold good advisors in high esteem. Therefore, a bank that gives good advice will have the confidence and trust of the customers. Some of the services banks can offer depending on the audience will be:

  • Planning of higher education, financials, retirement, business and taxes
  • Advice on investments, insurance and risk management, real estate investment and student loans


There are numerous services that can be offered that, depending on the market segment, customers will find useful. HSBC, for example, has a team of advisors who provide tailored advice to expats, helping them manage their finances while living abroad.

Be Transparent and Honest

As the article ‘12 Banking Customer Experience Trends to Watch in 2023’ by Hitachi Solutions explains, modern banks need to collect and analyze large amounts of customer data for hyper-personalization, but they also need to ensure its security.

Customers are often wary of how institutions handle their data due to the many cybersecurity-related incidents they’ve encountered or heard of, making it crucial for you to be transparent about your bank’s data policies and practices.

To address this, prioritizing customers’ voluntary information (zero-party data) over other data types will show genuine care for their thoughts and privacy, and therefore will build goodwill and customers’ trust. You can encourage customers to share preference information by providing incentives such as giveaways and loyalty programs.

Add the Human Touch to Tech

As Accenture’s Banking Consumer Study: Making digital more human report highlights, the lack of human connection in most banks’ digital agendas poses the risk of banks ‘weakening their already tenuous personal and emotional connection with customers’.

However, if reimagined properly, technology can also provide a tremendous advantage. For example, the McKinsey article ‘Reimagining customer engagement for the AI bank of the future’ describes how AI-powered voice-activated agents that emulate human agents can provide that sought-after human touch in customer experience. This will prove comforting to customers and give them familiarity, ensuring the experience isn’t cold.

Examples of banks that have launched voice-activated assistants include Bank of America and ICICI Bank in India. These interfaces can improve your bank’s competitive position and financial performance by increasing efficiency, access, and customer lifetime value.

Listen to Your Customers, Intently

We feel that the most important of all of the 5 strategies listed here is listening to the customers, responding to them, remedying issues, and finally, making sure issues will not recur.

In our experience, banks excelling in this area have a process in place covering all the important aspects including:

  1. Making it easy for customers to provide feedback via multiple channels such as email, phone, in-person meetings, and social media platforms.
  2. Responding to feedback quickly and thoughtfully.
  3. Using data to identify and address common issues.
  4. Sharing feedback with employees so they can understand what customers are saying.
  5. Using feedback to improve products, services, and processes.
  6. Letting customers know how their feedback has been used.


Listening to your bank’s customers, and following these steps, will show them their feedback is important and that you care about how they feel.

While we’ve adequately explored the deep connection between customer emotions and high levels of CX performance in banking, it can be challenging to convert the knowledge of specific emotions that are important to your customers into heartfelt experiences.

Approach it in a strategic way using the methods discussed, centering it around pillars such as empowering through education and listening to customers continuously. Once customer loyalty is restored by the banks in this way, they will purchase more and advocate for your bank. This one reason it’s important for banks to go from providing cold experiences to making customers feel again.


Forrester’s US 2022 Banking CX Index: Customer Trust In Banks Falls For The First Time In Four Years https://www.forrester.com/press-newsroom/forresters-us-2022-banking-cx-index/

The New Science of Customer Emotions, Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, and Daniel Leemon, Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/2015/11/the-new-science-of-customer-emotions

How Behavioral Banking Can Drive Financial Literacy And Inclusion https://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2020/09/03/how-behavioral-banking-can-drive-financial-literacy-and-inclusion/?sh=848231663888

Better Money Habits https://about.bankofamerica.com/en/making-an-impact/financial-education-resources-advice

12 Banking Customer Experience Trends to Watch in 2023 https://global.hitachi-solutions.com/blog/banking-customer-experience-trends/

Reimagining customer engagement for the AI bank of the future https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/reimagining-customer-engagement-for-the-ai-bank-of-the-future