2021 marked a major inflection point for the modern financial institution (FI). After 2020 showcased the remarkable resilience of the entire industry to reimagine temporary banking solutions that worked for both employees and customers, 2021 made it clear that the industry was forever impacted. Heading into 2022, the focus in the financial sector is poised to turn to long-term digital transformations that capitalize on the emerging preferences of today’s modern customers and members.
of financial services organizations report "proactively engaging customers" is a top goal for future investments.
To stand up an omnichannel strategy that meets evolving customer and member needs, financial institutions must solve the new deployment challenges that accompany it—from authenticating customers/members across voice and digital channels, to creating one seamless technology stack for employees to navigate, to modernizing self-service strategies to bring new channels and touchpoints together.
All too often, however, these types of digital investment efforts generate siloed improvements—pinpointing specific pain paints and addressing them through point solutions. But this results in fragmented experiences for customers or members. It’s important to take a step back to understand how these solutions will need to work together once they go live. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at four CX transformations FIs should focus on—and how they can come together to create a cohesive ecosystem, and generate seamless customer and member experiences.
Support demand for customer engagements across digital channels
COVID-19 served as the motivation for many customers and members to try digital banking services for the first time. But to suggest that this event is the only reason for digital banking’s popularity in 2022 misses the larger emerging trend. According to one study by Mobiquity, 90% of consumers have every intention of continuing to use digital technology to make their life easier, even after the pandemic has resolved. Across industries, consumers have become accustomed to self-serving through digital channels. Now that banking has caught up, there’s no going back. As new FinTech players continue to flock to the digital banking space, traditional institutions will feel new pressure from their customers and members to keep up with digital expectations—or suffer the consequences.
But what does the “digital branch” actually look like? And which channels do consumers expect to see?
For starters, your customers already expect to make online deposits, check their account balances, and even make mobile transfers and e-payments. To make all of this possible, you may have already deployed some combination of voice, website, app, portal, bot, and SMS channels, among others.
However, stopping there would leave your strategy firmly in 2021. In order to achieve a 2022-ready strategy, banks and credit unions must also fuse these solutions together in a way that allows users to weave in and out of channels and services in the ways that best align with their unique financial journeys. Investing in a cloud-based omnichannel future is the key. Cloud-based solutions, combined with an API-driven tech stack, make it easier to create comprehensive digital banking solutions that live in the same ecosystem—while leaving room for future investment as the digital branch evolves.
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Restore face-to-face customer/member experiences to remote engagements
Since the origins of banking, bankers have played a critical role in the banking experience. They demystify confusing financial processes such as mortgage loans and setting up payment transfers, and until recently, they provided these high-touch experiences in person.
While digital banking solutions have simplified many of the logistics involved in these financial processes, they can’t solve for the innate complexity of some financial matters. To solve for these challenges, customers still depend on banking advisors to lead them through the process.
of customers seek out face-to-face interactions when dealing with complex financial matters.
Video banking can help retain the human element in the digital banking ecosystem, but again, it isn’t just about channel deployment. The customer and member journey looks different for users in the digital world. What starts as an online text chat, might pivot to a voice call, before escalating to a video experience with a financial advisor to bring the deal across the line. To help better understand how these three channels can best interact across many of the most common user journeys, financial institutions owe it to their customers to ask them. Through customer journey mapping exercises that explore common user paths and Voice of the Consumer (VoC) surveys, banks can unlearn in-person best practices and identify the right strategy for the digital consumer.
Streamline and simplify employee workflows through AI and machine learning
While the first two trends on this list focus on customer-facing experience improvements, laggard internal workflows can undermine the potential efficiency gains afforded by the digital world. It’s no secret most financial institutions would like to prioritize value-added tasks, such as deal origination and account opening. Unfortunately, these tasks are sandwiched by more mundane workflows, like customer support and manual data ingestion processes, that slow down time to value. In a competitive hiring market, adding new headcount to boost bottom-line revenue isn’t necessarily a realistic option for many financial institutions in the new year.
By infusing the right machine learning and AI-based tools, banks and credit unions can leverage a bounty of digital tools to free up the available time to focus on these activities. For example, AI-based chat bots can offer a fully automated approach to digital banking navigation and even provide answers to many of the most common banking questions. Or, marketing automation built on a 360-degree view of customer data can personalize messaging throughout the financial lifecycle—enabling loan officers to focus on the high-touch communications that close these deals and bring the branch new revenue.
of FSI Enterprises have made data monetization and data capitalization a top digital transformation priority.
In either case, data agility sits at the center of a winning approach. If you use multiple data sources and data governance across your organization is murky, consider bringing an experienced data partner who can help eliminate siloes across your data ecosystem to create a more complete understanding of your customers, their questions, their challenges—and, most importantly, how you can address them.
Looking for more tips you can use to frame up a winning customer experience strategy in 2022? Visit our CX trends website to get started.Explore the Trends
Combat rising fraudulent activity—without damaging the seamless connectivity of your digital strategy
While fundamentally necessary to support digital-first consumers, digital banking comes with a new set of implications that could turn into risks if not addressed properly. During the first few months of 2021, FIs witnessed a 149% increase in suspected digital fraud attempts. Digital banking creates a wealth of financial data, and for that reason it’s critical that data privacy remains an overarching priority across every new channel financial institutions add to their arsenal.
As a starting point, minimize your data collection processes to only the most crucial customer data points. For everything else, invest in robust security solutions that protect your hard-earned brand reputation. Sounds simple, right? Not so much. While data privacy and consumer protection solutions are necessary, many of them also negate the seamless nature of the modern digital banking environment. Implementing single sign-on (SSO) or biometric identity features are a good place to start to restore speed and convenience to your digital strategy, without creating unnecessary risks.
These four 2022 strategies shouldn’t feel earth-shattering to most organizations. After all, they’re the same challenges financial institutions were primarily focused on solving in 2021. What is different this time around, however, is that there is more urgency than ever to not only complete these digital transformations, but complete them in a way that provides a foundation for greater digital advancement in the years to come. By embracing a long-term view of digital transformation, banks and credit unions can set themselves up for a more agile digital future that builds on today’s best practices and allows them to out-pace the competition.