The hub of a bank’s activity used to be the branch. Now, with more than half of customers conducting the majority of their banking over the internet, ‘banking’ conjures images of mobile apps and online transactions. Pneumatic tubes circulating cash across labyrinthine banking structures have been replaced by digital bits and bytes instantaneously sending money through the ether and across the world. The digital transformation of society has charged banks and credit unions with the responsibility of rising to the occasion.
Customers have come to expect sleek, fast-moving interactions with businesses and do not have the patience to wait for industries who have dawdled behind the digital transformation curve. Customer patience is so thin that 97% say they would rather abandon a business entirely than trudge through a process that looks confusing or time-consuming. It’s more important than ever for financial institutions to keep pace and provide the powerful, user-friendly experiences that attract users and secure customer loyalty.
However, many banks and credit unions are still unsure where to start their digital transformation, overwhelmed with the tangled complexity of legacy systems and point solutions. In fact, in a recent study, over 86% of banking professionals ranked “complicated banking infrastructure” as the most significant barrier to moving ahead with digital initiatives. It’s no secret that turbulent, slow-moving user experiences frustrate customers and send them flocking to your competitors. How can your bank or credit union overcome transformation reluctance and start creating the smooth, streamlined experiences that lead the list of customer expectations?
Digitally transform the customer experience
A major digital transformation requires a crystal clear view into the entire customer journey. Although you don’t have to start with everything, it’s important to understand how each step along the way impacts the overall experience with your bank. Start by looking at the customer-facing processes that most impact perception of your bank: user-friendliness, complexity, and speed. Look at each process with the following criteria:
- User-friendliness: what experiences are roadblocks to gaining new customers? Does your online account opening solution require users to type in an exorbitant amount of data? Customers applying via a mobile device have far less patience for fat-thumbing personal information into long-form applications. Reduce the amount of inputs to streamline the overall process.
- Complexity: which processes have too many steps? Does an online application have 20 steps when it could boil down to six? Transitioning your core services to an online self-service model is more than a simple copy and paste project. Customers expect a fluid, easy-to-navigate experience and simply mimicking an extensive paper form with checkboxes and radio buttons won’t cut it. Revisit your overall workflow to condense steps where possible.
- Speed: what experiences are too slow? Does it take a week for a credit card application to meander its way through an outdated system? Customers won’t wait—this is a prime area to speed up the process with a new automation workflow.
By ranking processes with these factors in mind, you can pinpoint precisely which experiences are most important to tackle first.
Strike a balance between technology and the human touch
While customers want a fast, easy-to-use digital experience, they don’t want one entirely devoid of the human touch. It’s all about creating a balance. In fact, 77% of customers still want to interact with a human when they have a question or need further help.
A well-oiled digital transformation is not about removing humans from the process, but using technology as an extension of your offering. For instance, a chatbot can answer quick questions like “what’s my checking account balance?” but a customer may prefer a live agent when they’re pressed with questions about the nuanced differences between checking account tiers. Similarly, a searchable database of FAQs can help customers with some inquiries, but a customer service line that has 50 endless prompts takes the technology transformation too far. For banking, the best digital transformations harness technology to aid, and not fully replace, human interactions.
Build a bridge between your full suite of services
An online experience siloed from other services limits customer satisfaction. Have you ever downloaded a flashy new app that promises a streamlined user experience—only for many of its features to link back to the company’s clunky PC-ready website?
Don’t force your customers to juggle between mobile windows when trying to access your suite of banking products. A whopping 94% of millennials are active users of online banking, and they’re also the generation with the highest expectations of their digital experiences. To capture user loyalty, each of your most popular processes should be ready-to-go from your mobile app, including account login, identity verification, balance checking, and payments and transfers. Delight customers with the same mobile-ready feel throughout their entire journey.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
‘Digital transformation’ can sound overwhelming. The thought of overhauling a pre-existing legacy system that has its tendrils in so many of your banking processes might feel impossible. Revisiting each point solution can feel like an impossible feat. Rather than reinvent the wheel, consider a business process management (BPM) platform to ease the journey. Instead of having a smorgasbord of disconnected services, a BPM platform overlays on top of your current system to unite all of your banking processes under a single umbrella. A BPM breaks down the “complexity” barrier that prevents so many banks from adopting new digital tools. Using a BPM, you can simplify your banking structure, making it easier to implement system-wide changes and test the latest technologies.
Kick starting your bank’s digital transformation does not have to feel like an impossible process. For many financial institutions, the important part is to simply get started. While current, outdated processes might keep the hooks in a handful of customers, most are ready to jump ship for the bank that offers the most streamlined, user-friendly digital experience. Is your bank ready to lead the charge and offer the digital tools and services customers demand?