Reimagining banking and the customer experience

  • Blog
  • June 25, 2023

Customer experience is becoming critical for all industries. In PwC’s recent Customer Loyalty Survey, 82 percent of respondents said they would be willing to share personal data in exchange for a better customer experience1. Similarly, in a recent Salesforce research, 90 percent of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services2.

Fundamentals are evolving and new engagement strategies are shaping up, accelerated by emerging technologies such as generative artificial intelligence (GenAI). As seen in Figure 1 below, engagement strategies are evolving as purpose takes precedence over function, and consumers are looking for personalised products and offerings that are accessible throughout the week. Consumers expect businesses to be proactive with an outcome focus, rather than reactive and with a product-focus.

Figure 1. Evolving strategies across fundamentals

Though the region has been ripe with innovations driven by fintechs, financial institutions (from retail to corporate) have generally failed to leverage their access to vast repositories of data on existing customers to build new customer-first capabilities.

The question then arises - what is preventing banks from creating customer-first capabilities? Several reasons are driving this inability from a bank’s perspective:

  1. Fragmented and product-siloed business lines. Different teams do not necessarily work in synchronisation, for example, many consumers in the Middle East report receiving sales calls from banks offering products they already own or those they are not interested in taking.

  2. Adapting to the evolving regulatory landscape. To keep pace with rapidly changing technologies, regulators and governments are constantly formulating newer regulations, which poses a challenge to financial institutions. According to PwC’s Financial Services in 2025 data3, the top three regulatory concerns, over the next five years, cited by banking executives are “data privacy and cybersecurity” (48 percent of respondents), “digital identity authentication” (31 percent of respondents), and “use of new technology” (30 percent of respondents).

  3. Constraining agility due to dependence on legacy technology infrastructure. According to PwC’ Financial Services in 2025 data, the top two challenges over the next 5 years are “digital transformation” (22 percent of respondents) and “impact of new technologies” (21 percent of respondents)4.

  4. Inability to drive data-driven personalisation. While consumers are looking for hyper-personalised products and services, only some (if any) banks can currently provide such offerings.

  5. Increasing competition from new entrants such as neo-banks and DeFi players. Once again, according to PwC’s Financial Services in 2025 data, 61 percent of respondents believe big tech companies will continue pushing into areas formerly exclusively owned by incumbent financial services firms5. These areas will include payments and credit, lending, and trading, among others.

  6. Steadily increasing costs and margin pressure. Banking executives expect that alternative providers of capital will grow in importance, forcing financial institutions to adjust their business models to a less prominent role in providing capital (with a corresponding P&L impact) and find new ways to participate in the value chain.

Financial institutions need to overcome these challenges to offer new, innovative experiences to their customers. Next, we look at ways that enable them in doing this and building the most impactful customer engagement platforms.

The first step to resolving current challenges is implementing a powerful customer engagement platform, which can deliver a range of benefits. Such a platform should enable seamless interactions across all channels, integrate with core banking platforms, and support a wide range of ecosystem partners. The platform must be underpinned by a principle of reusability that drives growth, allowing banks to focus on key client segments and personalising interactions with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).

Figure 2. Benefits delivered by an impactful customer engagement platform

This requires the enablement of a new vision by leveraging technology and a clear and practical roadmap to support the transformation to a customer first approach. Let us take a look at the high-level capabilities needed to create a "customer-first" bank. We can break this down into four stages: targeting, acquisition, service, and expansion & retention.

Figure 3. The consumer and commercial financial services lifecycle

In the targeting stage, we must attract customers and understand their preferences through branding, campaigns, social listening, data mining, and segmentation. In the acquisition stage, we need to connect with customers through personalised interactions and meet their needs with intelligent recommendations, streamlined onboarding, and more. In the service stage, we must nurture relationships by anticipating customer needs, offering tailored solutions and retention campaigns, and providing convenient, timely support. Finally, in the expansion and retention stage, we need to innovate and adapt to help customers achieve long-term financial goals using analytics and automation.

To deliver on these stages, we need capabilities like omni-channel experience, a 360-degree customer view, and robust analytics. But what is the key to making all of this work? A platform. Our offerings include platforms that are ‘bank-wide transformation assets’ such as One Bank and Tysl, and ‘deep-functional solutions’ such as Financial Flows and Insights to Enablement.

Figure 4. PwC and Salesforce offerings

  • One Bank – Powered by Salesforce Financial Services Cloud, this solution helps relationship managers and consumer bankers understand their clients and book of business based on proactive alerts, analytics, and tailored insight into the needs of their clients and relationships.
  • Tysl – This platform is designed to help deliver the future of digital banking. Based on the needs and expectations of tomorrow’s customers, Tysl highlights a connected banking experience through an ecosystem of third-party fintechs, making managing finances more personal.
  • Financial Flows – Leverages PwC’s proprietary tools and collaborates with our clients to build a dynamic case management system. We start with our pre-existing design and configure it in our clients’ systems to help them digitise, automate, and integrate Contact Centre and Middle Office workflows on the Salesforce platform.
  • Insights to Enablement – A tech-enabled service, this delivers digital tools and advisory services matched to human factors to help generate excitement, influence behaviours, and roll out upskilling right within our client’s Salesforce platform — helping them achieve ROI, user adoption and business value faster.

To conclude, digitally savvy banking customers increasingly demand anywhere anytime access to information that is both personalised and secure. Significant changes within the regulatory environment - such as increased expectations on risk and governance processes - place further pressure on institutions to harness digital technologies and transform their existing customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. Winners will be those able to adapt to a digital world.

We at PwC, in partnership with Salesforce, can help define our client’s strategy and provide a clear and practical roadmap using our deep industry knowledge, transformation expertise, and innovative technology assets.

Contact us

Ali Hosseini

Chief Technology Officer, PwC Middle East


Arun David

Partner, Front Office transformation, PwC Middle East

+971 55 552 0408


Omar Qureshi

Director, Digital Services, PwC Middle East

+971 50 720 6125


Contact us

Jade Hopkins

Middle East Marketing & Communications Leader, PwC Middle East

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