New technologies and digital services are transforming the way people do business with their banks. In fact, it is estimated that 85% of all customer transactions are currently digital. This rate is expected to grow to 95% over the next five years. But there’s a problem: many banks are lagging behind in digital usage.
In an article about what the bank of the future will be like, consulting firm Bain & Company says, “To date, many banks have focused their digital investments on improving their ability to do simple transactions through online or mobile channels, thereby reducing brick-and-mortar branch costs. They haven’t devoted as much attention to making customers’ banking lives more convenient, easy and engaging, by creating a differentiated customer experience featuring truly innovative, useful digital applications and a seamless integration of all channels”.
Customers want, expect and need new digital services
Today’s customers are tech-savvy and they expect their banks to be the same. They want to be “wowed” – not just by basic digital functions, but by capabilities that go beyond online banking functions to real-time interaction with their bank officers.
But solutions like Skype or Google Hangouts simply cannot ensure secure information exchange, and may even inject risk, compliance, and quality issues into the financial conversation.
Making advances in the digital realm is obviously critical for engaging new customers and for improving the overall customer experience. How can banks make these advances and meet these new expectations?
How banks can build better digital experiences
Concerns about customer privacy demand a unique combination of agility and diligence for banks and other financial firms – and a new way of thinking about communication and collaboration from their IT teams. Today’s imperatives are closely aligned with “opening up” formerly closed programs and processes to enable transparency, access and interaction between banks and customers.
This requires financial institutions to provide clients with web and mobile apps that include tools traditionally reserved for tellers, brokers, and account advisors. Opening up also means working with business units to rapidly design, develop, and deploy new services that are intimately aligned with strategic initiatives. And opening up means creating a communication and collaboration strategy that enables the organization to achieve all of these goals. That’s where Unified Communications and Collaboration comes in.
The role of UC&C in bridging the digital divide between banks and customers
Unified Communications & Collaboration enables employees and customers to access secure, high-quality web, audio and video conferencing, private chats, Instant Messaging and more. The benefits? Increased employee productivity and flexibility, faster and more responsive customer service, happier and more engaged customers, and enhanced innovation and collaboration between employees and customers.
UC&C is especially desirable for the “digital native” generations, who do most of their work – and their purchasing – online.
There’s just one problem: even though customers are asking for these services, many financial institutions aren’t yet listening: a 2013 UC&C survey of 1,320 IT decision makers and 1,390 employees in 18 countries found that “Organizations don’t seem to be taking user feedback as seriously as they should. This is critical because UC&C users expect multiple device support and applications that match their requirements. If these expectations aren’t met, user adoption will lag”.
The solution is simple: ask what users want, and implement the changes needed to meet their needs. Says Keith Ferrazzi in a blog for Harvard Business Review, “You’ll need to move your team to a new set of behaviors, not just to a new generation of technology, with human engagement as the first priority”.
In today’s business world, digital usage is closely linked with customer loyalty. It goes without saying that loyalty powerfully influences a bank’s economics: loyal customers stay longer with their primary bank, buy more products, are less costly to serve, and recommend their bank to other people.
Winning the hearts and minds of customers is as easy as UC&C.