Banks will go out of business, if they ignore these 4 steps


With reference to today’s Banking and its age-old traditions, a new digital experience can be derived, with respect to the digitalised world of mobile apps. There is a technology and customer-convenience driven shift in bank-customer engagement channels. Online and Telephone engagements with customers are slightly ahead of branches, while they are well ahead of other channels of engagements like mobile app and social media.

New & Old Channels of Engagement

For a long time, people have more channels of engagement with the banks than traditional channels of branch, ATMs, phones and letters etc. These traditional channels continue to process, but the online and mobile channels allow customers to stay in touch with their banks 24×7. This has posed tremendous challenges to the banks to meet the requirements of customers.

Digital engagement redefines customer experience paradigm from its ground level. It does not revolve around a particular branch or a bank. It starts and ends with the customer. Digital engagement is all about creating a digital branch, one that tends to the customer’s needs, regardless of place and time.

Human Connections still important

Great banking institutions are built on human relationships and solving financial problems. In tomorrow’s world where digital technology is widespread, it is the human connection that is going to separate banks.

Great banking institutions take technology as a catalyst to create even greater human experiences for customers and a way to create next level customer service, like the bank down the street.

A lot of bankers these days end up spending their time doing administrative activities like business, clean-up work, chasing down the missing documentation instead of meeting and working with customers and solving their financial problems. This is a disadvantage for banks and customers. So, when we hear digital engagement, we often jump a little too quickly into fancy mobile apps and innovative online web experiences. But the reality is that a lot of investment in this space is in arming humans with the right data in automating the tasks, that are not adding any value to the business or customers. That’s the fundamental component of a digital engagement strategy and the sweet spot to start building towards more stimulating things like mobile apps, innovative web experiences and so on.

Since the branch and telephonic human to human engagement is still relevant, another point to start is to consider what’s happening at the branch or call centre or contact centre. You look at what you do at the branch or contact centre and improve the engagement. The key is to bring about a consistency in experience, in the level of knowledge that the bankers have about the customers, meaning that if an interaction happens on twitter the branch banker should be able to see it just like the call centre representative, who is responsible for twitter feedbacks. So, it’s about data, and about giving them the visibility and enablement to solve the financial issues vs forcing the bankers to fight the paper work or process along the way.

CX Strategy is incremental

Customer experience strategy is all about making incremental changes to improve the customer experience. The starting point is by understanding what are digital channels of engagement for the banks’ customers today. Because customers do not change the channels of engagement overnight. Hence it is always better to understand the channels of engagement that is being used by the customer today.

By evaluating the friction points in customer engagement with the bank, the bank should be able to understand where to make its investments to improve the customer experience. That is done by talking to your frontline staff, sales team, customer support team, customers and reading their complaints from various channels of engagements. Complaints help you understand which problems can be addressed in general or if there any problems that your banks front line is not able to solve, or are there problems that need multiple calls, process improvements or are there problems that can be fixed by proactive actions etc. Listening to customer problems will give you clear idea about which investments you should make. Understanding the customer’s complaints and problems is a good point to start with, in making investments to improve customer experience. This will give an advantage in the first one or two steps in creating a digital engagement strategy.

Also, you need to have a North Star that will guide you to reach where you want to be in terms of customer experience and digital strategy. The following 4 steps outline the process of crafting a digital engagement strategy:

1. Define your ambition

Define what type of bank you want to be for your customers. Translate Mission statement and business strategy into the type of technology and engagement that we plan to provide the customers.

Plan for the ideal customer experiences/responses

Identify the types of responses/experiences that you want from the customers and plan which technology and engagements that will help to elicit such experiences from the customers. For this identify the typical types of customers your bank has. and then detail their journey across their lifecycles. Understand each customers journey from the first touch point till they become mature customers, using the types of products and services that the business requires the customers to use. While doing this, make sure to identify the friction points and the points that really matter in the lifecycle to use digital technology in order to engage the customers in a positive way to improve customer experiences.

Selecting the engagement platforms

Some friction points may be quickly solved with digital technology whereas some friction points are much more complex. Providing the responsible banker with sufficient data so that he/she can get in touch with the customer and offer data driven solutions to solve the issue. Then you will be able to understand whether you have the right platforms to achieve these objectives and if you have architected platforms in such a way that technology enables these experiences to happen. In most cases, you will end up realizing that you need a new engagement platform to perform certain actions with the core platform serving up the data. The idea is you have to partner with technology and you have to be very clear what your needs are through customer journeys and make the right adoptions so that the technology gives you the edge in customer experience.

Brace for the impact of change

Before launching a new digital product or service, explore the readiness of the impact of change, the new product or service is going to bring on the customers and the business. Here surveys with specific questions that will give insights into customers readiness for the impact of change. Quantitatively determine how long will it take for customers to adopt the new change that is being rolled out by the bank. This will give a clear idea about the how much the customers and employees are ready to make the change.

Digital customer experience strategy should foster trust among customers by selecting customer experience champions from among customers, allow customers to track where they are in their engagement with the bank for example, how much loan is left, how can I reduce the cost of my loan etc, allow customers to have same experiences they would get by visiting a physical branch; allow users to have the right information so that they can take the right decisions to solve their financial problem with the help of the bank that they are engaging with the help of the bank that they are engaging with.

To have competitive advantage, always respond to customers need swiftly with technology. Provide the right tools for the bankers and front line to service the customers in the right way. Tools that make the staff understand what is happening with the customers portfolio so that the staff can proactively support the customers to meet their financial objectives. Quite recently, my bank called me up to inform that I have been withdrawing too many times from other bank ATMs, so unaware, I was incurring lot of service charges and they pushed an alternative card which put the service charge on the bank and not me, but for that I had to pay an upfront service fee to the bank. I readily accepted it. Because data uncovered by the bank revealed a problem in my portfolio which they turned into a new business.

How banks should design mobile apps to attract millennials while keeping the older generation happy?

The answer to that is to help the older generation to evolve by teaching them. While also using analytics to understand exactly what the millennials want from a banking mobile app.

Should we look internally or at the partner?

Understand the capabilities or buying capabilities or take the help of experts.

Website, Mobile app, social media, which channels do we use?

How do we decide which channels to use? It is obviously not realistic to do everything. You need to identify where your customers are denser and more engaging. And support those platforms more. Twitter and Facebook are two platforms you got to be because even if you are there or not, your customers are going to talk about you there. A Customer listening across channels is a big component of your channel strategy. There are tools that you can plugin to your sales force.

How to have a vision for online? What’s the first step in the process?

  1. listening to customer problems
  2. Define what type of bank you want to be for your customers. Now find out what are the options, technology and process to give that experience to your customer.

With these requiems in mind, one can be assured of carrying out a successful customer experience throughout and find out where they click with your ideas.

Now enjoy the full video

Featured Speakers

Jay Jenkins, Product Manager, nCino
Joseph Cody, Principal, Deloitte Digital
Amy Evins, EVP, CIO, Texas Capital Bank