Many banks and credit unions are slow to admit how wide the disconnects in digital banking channels has become. Here's how to overcome that gap.
The banking industry is at an inflection point, with traditional institutions competing not only with each other, but also fintech challengers. In this hyper-dynamic environment, the ability to operate a traditional banking model has become more difficult than even many financial institutions are willing to admit.
For instance, 74% of banking executives in a KPMG survey believe that their digital capabilities are “above average,” and yet 57% of respondents said their institutions were only either in the evaluation or planning stage of upgrading or replacing their legacy IT systems.
Contrast this with the fact that 53% of Millennials in the same KPMG study say their current banks’ offerings are identical to other providers, and 73% say they would consider banking with tech companies like Google or Apple. Nevertheless, three in five banking executives don’t view fintech forces as threatening. Go figure.
Since big digital investments and major tech makeovers can take upwards of three years, the divide between consumers and traditional banking providers will likely get worse before it gets any better. This could create a massive vacuum where even more new entrants can step in… trigger a potential mass exodus of customers.
Traditional banking institutions have kept the barriers to switching providers high, preventing even the unhappiest of customers from closing their accounts. People are held captive, trapped. But as more fintech alternatives enter the market, one of their core characteristics — ease of adoption and use — will eventually show people that banking and borrowing don’t necessarily have to be complicated, nor rigid, nor boring and stuffy.
Because of shrinking budgets, the high costs of maintaining outdated tech stacks and disparate processes, traditional institutions have been delivering less… with less. It’s imperative for banking institutions to consider new technologies and digital pathways that will allow them to deliver an efficient, omni-channel experience. While integrating one component is certainly better than none, a collective approach not only creates a seamless, holistic customer experience, but also means the organizational commitment to implementation only needs to occur once.
Here are five ways a bank can not only improve marketing ROI but also transform the overall customer experience.
1. Imagine, Innovate and Create
Banks need to exercise their imagination when it comes to digitally engaging consumers. The concept of “delight” shouldn’t be confined exclusively to clothing designers and chocolatiers. Consumers want a humanized, tailored, and effortless banking experience that instills a sense of pride for their capital and relationship manager. Financial marketers now have robust new technologies that can help them automate and collaborate, allowing them to create a streamlined approach to delivering the products and services that matter most to the prospects being targeted.
2. Design for ‘Park Bench’ Interactions
The time-intensive, oak-desk dialogue about savings accounts, business loans, and credit lines has been replaced with a side-by-side, dynamically mobile, “park bench” style interaction. Borrowers, Millennial small business owners in particular, don’t want to endure a multi-day, multi-form approval process anymore. Part of the negative perception of banks after the Great Recession is that they negotiate from a distant position of power and are uninterested in having a balanced conversation about lending. Because of the advent of mass personalization, customers want to feel that their time and specific borrowing conditions are not only understood, but also valued. Delivery platforms that facilitate this new person-to-person, park bench interaction are quickly becoming a functional necessity within banking.
3. Retool Processes From The Ground Up
An inherent trait of the digital customer experience is efficiency—the elimination of technological redundancies, streamlining of operational workflows, and reduction in service response times. One can’t expect to execute an effective park bench interaction without improving backend processes. There’s nothing convenient nor cost efficient about completing application forms or reviewing loan terms for what seems like an eternity. A pillar of the digital customer experience is technological ability and operational agility; banking providers need to accomplish more with fewer resources and roadblocks. Leveraging SaaS solutions that organize, store, and distribute collateral in and from centralized repositories allow relationship managers to spend less time on manual processes and more on customers and their particular lending needs.
4. Derive Insights From Automated Data Analytics
Knowing which content is the most impactful in customer interactions is imperative to achieving a successful outcome. But quite often, learning what isn’t working can yield a greater long-term benefit, as adjustments to collateral and the overall interaction allow for a more pronounced customer experience. Collecting data on how current and potential customers engage with your institution is vital to the aforementioned processes, enabling marketing teams to pivot and respond in a timeframe appropriate for today’s immediate-results environment. A comprehensive analytics platform is the easiest and fastest method for learning consumers’ behaviors, needs and wants — thereby crushing the stigma that “banks don’t pay attention to people, only numbers.”
5. Break Down Silos and Foster Interdepartmental Communication
Operating within individual silos is a sure way for product or customer information and data to be missed, lost, or incorrectly represented. Additionally, cross- functional success necessitates the removal of interdepartmental barriers. In the banking industry, such lapses can be detrimental to an institution’s reputation and compliance status. The term transparency is rightfully used with exception in banking, but it is synonymous with all experiences digital. Due to this standard, customers presume that while complete transparency may not be feasible externally, it should exist among teams internally. These open channels of communication mean that fewer points of contact are needed to complete a process, answer a question, or solve an issue. In the digital experience, technologies that keep workflows open and accounted for make any customer introduction and interaction undemanding and seamless while still meeting compliance.