Fifty-seven million consumers already use mobile banking in the United States. The financial services industry has been trending toward digital transformation for decades, but with the onset of COVID-19 and the global economic changes of the pandemic, many in the industry have been forced to adapt —some overnight — to survive and meet rapidly changing customer needs.
And the resulting expectations are high. Consumers report that the way a brand makes them feel is 1.5 times more important than other factors in their decision to work with or buy from a business. When the experience is less than positive, 57% of consumers won’t recommend that business to a friend.
While the industry as a whole — encompassing everything from banks to credit unions to wealth management — is trusted the least by consumers (even lower than the media), the uphill battle to meet consumer needs, maintain or build trust, and modernize the customer experience is like a bill that’s past due.
If you’re ready to meet the needs of the modern financial services customer, here are six ways you can digitally transform and grow your business:
1. Connect to Prospects and Clients Online Through Web Chat
Make it easier to connect to prospects and even clients with web chat. Automated responses for FAQs can even streamline the process and ensure that visitors have a positive experience as they learn about you online. And if your solution automatically transitions web conversations to text messages, you can continue the conversation with the site visitor on the go — no need for them to stick to their computer and wait for a reply.
For banking and wealth management, web conversations could range from current loan rates to retirement planning. Whatever the context, don’t let potential clients visit your website and leave when they can’t find what they’re looking for. Connect with them right away, keep them on your site and meet their modern expectations.
2. Use Video for Proposals and to Build Client Trust
Contactless meetings have become part of many consumers’ everyday lives. And with the added touch of personalization, professionalism and efficiency, video is the medium that can help you connect with customers and close deals. 85% of business, in a wide variety of industries, have implemented video as an essential part of their marketing strategy. And 88% report that video provides a positive Return on Investment. It’s a medium your customer expects and prefers.
Transition previously in-person meetings to an online, digital experience. In the wake of COVID-19, this format of communication is not only expected, it’s appreciated. And you’ll find more success than trying to conduct sales calls or a product pitch over email.
3. Implement a Text Message Strategy to Close More Deals
Pre-COVID, 89% of customers wanted the option to message a business directly. Add in a global pandemic and the popularity of texting has increased tremendously. This isn’t surprising — 99% of text messages are opened ( and 90% are opened within three minutes) and 50% of U.S. consumers who receive a branded text will go on to make a direct purchase from that brand.
And while 46% of businesses use text messaging to send reminders to customers or clients, customers want to connect with businesses on more than just appointment reminders or updates to their balance. In fact, for financial services specifically, personalized offers — loans, monthly rewards, triple points or other financial products — are 750% more likely to be read and responded to when sent in a text versus an email.
Modern consumers expect to engage with your financial institution digitally and on their smartphone, yet only 50% of businesses overall have a text messaging strategy implemented today. Stay ahead of the competition and on par with your client’s digital growth. Meet them on their smartphone and you’ll earn more business and retain more clients.
4. Deliver Critical Account Information Directly to Your Client’s Phone
Account information, such as past-due balances, low balance alerts, credit card spending, or even stock updates, should be sent to the device your client uses the most — their smartphone.
Consumers spend nearly four hours on their mobile devices daily, more time than they consume traditional TV. In a world that expects 24/7 updates, modernize their experience with your brand and send critical account information securely to their phone.
5. Optimize Local Search Results with an Automated Review Request
Mobile first isn’t just for technology firms. It’s time to think through the entire client experience, most of which is likely on a mobile device, and what that means for your digital transformation.
Mobile search is growing at an incredible pace. And it’s importance grows with it — 93% of people who use a mobile device to research a product or service go on to make a purchase and nearly 90% of consumers read reviews to decide if they want to work with or be a client of a local business. When reviews are positive, 72% of consumers say they trust the business more than would with negative reviews or nothing at all.
However you ask for reviews from your current consumers — though texting will be the easiest and most convenient means — make sure it’s part of your sales process. “Near me” searches have increased by 500% in just the last two years and in order for your local branch or location to show up in those results, you need quality reviews linked to your Google My Business listing.
6. Monitor Customer Insights and Feedback for Each Branch/Location
Measuring your customer success with online reviews isn’t enough. Like it or not, every one of your clients has feedback on his/her experience with your brand, your website or the local branch. And if you’re waiting for a comment card or a negative review to be posted online, you’re not doing enough.
Financial services businesses are built on relationships and good relationships are founded on communication. Open up a direct line of communication (with a specific customer rep or each sales manager per location), via text, to encourage feedback about the client journey in real time.
This is exactly where clients want to engage with you anyway — 90% of consumers prefer to communicate with a business via text — and you’ll have a better chance of resolving challenges, removing roadblocks, and delivering an incredible customer experience.
For your complete digital transformation, ensure everything from discovery to decision — how you show up in Google search results to how you sign loan documents — is presented the right way on your consumer’s mobile device.
And incorporate touch points throughout the journey — visits to a local bank or video calls with a broker — transforming each experience into a digital modernization.
Client behavior is shifting and the financial services industry needs to keep pace. Consumers are ready to meet you on their devices, online in video chats and throughout their client journey — digitally. Keep up with the modern customer and plan your digital transformation.