Retaining Consumer Banking Relationships Means Innovation+Partnership

Turning banks and credit unions into the go-to providers they used to be means rebuilding them with a centralized platform that enables them to serve more needs through coordination with fintechs and other partners.

Retail financial institutions must constantly innovate in order to keep consumers engaged and loyal in the wake of mass fintech competition. The goal is to be people’s preferred financial partner at every stage of life. But to succeed in this long-term relationship, banks and credit unions must implement new digital approaches that will create more value for those they serve.

Tech leaders in other industries such as Netflix and Uber offer lessons on customer loyalty. They give consumers an easy-to-use experience with substantial relevance and personalization through single platforms. Similarly, banks and credit unions must pursue digital strategies that also create customer excitement and satisfaction. It’s the only way they’re going to remain in customer’s lives for the long haul — and the only way to capture greater market share.

What Makes Consumers Love Their Financial Institution?

We have worked closely with Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) to overhaul their digital banking experience, both online and mobile. WSECU’s efforts to create a more compelling, personalized experience have already produced: It has increased its registered mobile users by 39% and monthly active users by 19%.

However, satisfying customers in this way can’t happen without first understanding them. Financial institutions need to be able to capture consumer insights and have the ability to take quick and personalized action based on those insights.

Why This Matters:

Institutions need to help people manage their money better, help them save better, and eventually help them match their financial goals to their financial actions. If done right, consumers are absolutely willing to trust their providers and in return, the providers can expect loyalty from these users.

An institution’s technology needs to be geared toward making consumers’ daily financial lives seamless and empowered.

By adopting the single platform approach to technology that other industries have already mastered, financial institutions can give customers ultimate control of every financial decision they make. Examples:

  • Capturing behavior patterns and flagging when a customer hasn’t made a regular loan repayment.
  • Enabling instant bill splitting with friends by simply scanning the receipt.
  • Tracking digital subscriptions to identify savings opportunities and help customers make quick changes.

Using one underlying technology platform enables institutions to track a huge amount of daily value across the board for customers — and establish themselves as a trusted partner.

Consider again the example of WSECU. The credit union leveraged their new, advanced digital capabilities to meet the evolving needs of their members at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. WSECU was able to act quickly to roll out app updates that addressed urgent member needs, such as new self-service options for actions like loan payment deferrals that were vital when dealing with the first wave of the pandemic.

One of the benefits of having every element of a customer’s journey taking place on one connected platform is the ability for institutions to provide actionable recommendations and personalized insights in real time. This ultimately deepens their relationships and cements their position in customer’s lives.

In the case of WSECU, additional features that were readily available to members via their new mobile app included member-to-member payment capabilities, new self-service functions, streamlined customer usability and additional multi-factor authentication options to heighten account security for members.

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Empowering Staff Goes Hand In Hand With Bolstering Digital

Amid all the talk about digital touchpoints, the importance of human interaction can be overlooked. Doing this right requires empowering retail banking employees so they can effectively connect with customers and increase customer engagement. With a single digital platform, the opportunity to create that engagement is greater than ever.

Modern banking platforms can capture relevant data on specific customer behaviors and enable institutions to act on them. A financial marketer could use this to effectively target timely product offers which are relevant and contextual for the users.

Similarly, an institution’s customer service and branch employees could use the opportunity of service interactions to instantly engage their users with personalized recommendations.

Smart customer service like this requires a unified platform approach to digital technology —much like the model used by popular tech-leaders. In this way institutions can bring together all elements of a customers’ entire lifecycle and offer a truly personalized value-focused service.

Single Platform Can Return Institutions To All-In-One Status

Deepening customer relationships in this way has become incredibly important. While traditional banks and credit unions were once the go-to providers for most financial needs, the influx of fintechs disrupted the market, resulting in newer, digital-first players gaining market traction.

Now, retail banking institutions need to find a way to be that go-to partner again — bringing every financial need together in one place, providing instant value with end-to-end customer journeys.

Doing so does not mean competing with every fintech in the market individually. Quite the contrary, it’s about partnering with the right providers and aggregating a customer’s entire financial life in a single, go-to banking platform. By owning the full customer experience, including the elements which involve other players within the fintech ecosystem, an institution can orchestrate of all customer engagement.

To serve all financial needs again in this way, an institution’s technology needs to embody this approach first. To become the preferred financial partner — a gateway to an entire market of services — retail banking institutions need to connect every piece of the banking value chain and build a strong technology ecosystem based on a single platform.

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