It’s a fact: banking consumers are primarily relying on digital channels for their banking needs. According to a recent Aite report, more than half of all generations—including seniors and baby boomers—reported logging into financial accounts using a desktop or laptop at least once per week. In addition, more than 80 percent of millennials reported accessing financial accounts using a smartphone at least once per week.
This rush to adopt digital banking technologies has fundamentally shifted strategies toward a customer-centric banking focus: that is, enhancing the banking experience for customers wherever they are. And as institutions focus on building relationships and growing business, there are key features that will contribute to personalized, seamless and superior banking experiences for digital adopters.
Does your institution have an established customer-centric banking strategy? Make sure you master the following techniques to prioritize the experiences of new and existing customers.
Prioritize Digital Account Opening
As consumers continue relying on online or mobile banking, institutions must prioritize the optimization of digital account opening for new and existing customers. For many consumers, opening an online account is their first interaction with an institution—and it should be seamless.
The number of consumers opening new accounts online is expected to reach 19 percent in 2020, a three percent increase from the previous year; however, that growth will likely increase even more this year due to social distancing protocols. According to an Aite report, 73 percent of senior millennials, which refers to members of that generation born closer to 1981, and 60 percent of Gen Xers who started an online account application did not complete it, running into questions that required a branch visit or phone call. This presents an opportunity for banks to reduce friction in onboarding and provide consumers with online support to facilitate an expedient opening process and lower abandonment rates.
Deliver a Cohesive Banking Experience
The first—and most important—component of the customer-centric banking approach is delivering unified experiences to customers across all channels. In the past, customers would visit a branch to carry out banking business, such as account opening or loan applications, but many customers are now seeking alternative ways to interact with their bank out of convenience or caution. Providing your customers with options to execute business that was once branch-based—including features like remote deposit, financial planning and management, fraud reporting or the ability to adjust card limits—will create a seamless user experience.
To deliver unified service across channels, your institution must be aware of a customer’s activity on any platform at any given time. For example, if a customer begins engaging in a banking activity online or on a mobile banking app, such as beginning a loan application, that customer should be able to complete the application in-branch or on another platform without encountering friction.
Institutions should also incorporate a standard, well-integrated design across all channels to deliver consistent functionality. As banks create their customer-centric strategies, it is important to consider that some customers are new to digital channels, so creating user-friendly processes for those late adopters is important.
Create A Bank Customer Journey Map
Facing increased pressure from national and digital-only banks, community and regional banks must innovate to stay competitive. Understanding the customer journey allows these banks to continuously improve. To create superior experiences and ensure needs are met, institutions need a clear understanding of each customer and their specific needs, including the factors driving the customer to interact with the bank in-person or online.
Customer journey mapping for banks empowers institutions to remove friction from certain processes by providing insight on sticking points for customers, such as an ineffective landing page, the inability to complete an activity online or long wait times at call centers. Journey mapping allows institutions to determine the point of friction, highlighting opportunities for enhancements to acquire, retain and serve customers. If an institution observes a trend of customers abandoning an account opening or application process after visiting a particular web page, they can refine this process and incorporate a more effective page or offering that drives conversions.
By mapping the customer’s journey, institutions can ensure consistent outcomes, identify pain points, implement improvements and establish opportunities to grow their business in the future. To create superior experiences and ensure needs are met, institutions need a clear understanding of each customer and their specific needs, including the factors driving the customer to interact with the bank in-person or online.
Personalize Service Through Digital Banking Channels
Digital channels provide opportunities for institutions to create personalized banking experiences for all consumers. Using technology, banks can deliver content that is personalized to a consumer’s specific financial activity, even building campaigns targeted to a consumer’s needs as opposed to a one-size-fits all approach.
Institutions can leverage existing customer data to provide tailored offers based on past behavior as well as custom communications or information on products and services that complement those a customer frequently uses. If a customer visits their bank’s website in search of information regarding mortgage rates, that institution can then provide them with related information during subsequent interactions. In addition to enabling personalized service, digital tools can facilitate human interaction through chat or video conferencing, allowing banks to maintain a focus on customer service and initiate relationships virtually.
There is also an opportunity for banks to create online communities to connect and interact with new and existing customers, especially as customers reduce visits to branches. Using technology, banks can deliver content that is personalized to a consumer’s specific financial activity, even building campaigns targeted to a consumer’s needs as opposed to a one-size-fits all approach.
Enhance Experiences with Open Banking APIs
Application programming interfaces (APIs) provide banks with a variety of possibilities to enhance services for their customers, including open banking and choosing technology partners for specific solutions. APIs allow access to a bank’s data and can provide benefits to both institutions and consumers, including accelerated payments, strengthened security controls and improved data access.8
When a bank identifies a specific need, open APIs provide opportunities for creativity in addressing that need, removing technology and cost barriers. Institutions that embrace open banking and employ third-party solutions will have an advantage in leveraging data to create seamless processes and deliver continued innovation.
Bonus Tip: Digital Banking Transformation is Key
Read the complete Digital Transformation white paper to learn more about how your institution can create a customer-centric strategy around digital channels.
Steve Kent is the senior director of digital strategy at CSI.