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Transcending the Banking Transaction: Building Relationships During Increased Digitization

The COVID-19 crisis has led to an unprecedented boom in digital banking. In fact, from January 2020 to July 2020, there’s been a 67% jump in the number of US adults who consider a digital bank to be their primary bank, and 15 to 20 percent of consumers expect to bank online more often, even after the crisis has passed.

And although consumers are generally happy with their bank’s digital offerings, financial institutions run the risk of their customer relationships becoming purely transactional as a result of increased digitization—giving customers and members less reason to remain loyal.

Here’s how your institution can transcend the “transactional” while giving consumers the digital convenience they increasingly demand.

Demonstrate your dedication to security.

Along with the online banking boom came a 238% spike in cyberattacks conducted against banks. The victims were not just the banks themselves—but their customers, who were at risk of having their sensitive personal information stolen during these attacks.

Research confirms that consumers have very little patience for brands that don’t do enough to protect customer data—with nearly half of consumers citing that they would immediately look for a new financial institution if theirs experienced a cyberattack.

Demonstrated, transparent dedication to consumer data protection can help banks and credit unions bolster loyalty. Online educational campaigns and real-time assistance will help your customers and members feel more secure in their decision to bank with you. National Australia Bank is a great example, with an entire blog archive covering consumer data security, as well as a WhatsApp profile dedicated to real-time support. 

Digital capabilities, not digital-only.

The exponential growth in online banking usage certainly doesn’t mean that people have abandoned in-branch banking. Recent research from PricewaterhouseCoopers indicates that many consumers are still as likely as ever to visit a branch, with small business owners displaying similar behavior

The takeaway here is that accessibility reigns supreme. Granting customers and members the choice of either coming to their local branch in person to get the face-to-face service they love or contactless banking from the comfort of their own homes is the way forward.

Digital channels such as your website, email marketing, and social media are great avenues to fully educate customers on that choice.

Uninterrupted cross-device, omnichannel experience.

Even though consumers have generally responded well to their financial institution’s online presence, there is room for improvement. Consumers note that omnichannel experience is a main point of frustration, according to a J.D. Power study.

Jennifer White, senior consultant for banking and payment intelligence at J.D. Power, compares consumer expectations of omnichannel banking to “the Netflix of banking.” By this, White means that consumers want to be able to pick back up where they left off in a transaction from any device, similar to how Netflix allows you to pick back up at the same point in a show or movie.

In other words, your institution’s customer experience should be unified across channels (website and app), as well as device (phone, tablet, or computer) in order to make digital transactions truly seamless.

Robust data analytics for reopening and beyond.

Now more than ever, financial institutions need to adopt robust data collection and analytics strategies in order to meet the personalization needs of customers. Even prior to the pandemic, 76% of customers expected brands to understand their needs. Couple that with the fact that consumers are increasingly overwhelmed by the sheer bombardment of digital communications they’ve received in recent months, and the need for hyper-personalization is apparent.

Rich datasets pertaining to customers’ and members’ financial situations and purchase histories allow your institution to deliver relevant, helpful product offers—with no more than five to 10 choices at a time, according to recent research—that meet their needs and bolster your relationship.

In addition to leveraging data for product promotion, transparency is also becoming increasingly important to relationship building. Account owners should be able to obtain (and understand) the data you’ve collected from them with ease. This not only helps maintain a healthy, trustful relationship between financial institution and consumer, but puts you in a better position to comply with future data regulations that are likely to arise as a result of increased banking digitization.

The bottom line is that in order to transcend transactions and retain loyalty, financial institutions must think outside the (in) box (and branch) to demonstrate their value at every touchpoint. 

Interested in learning more about how to transcend the “transactional” to keep customers and members coming back? Contact us today.

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