As we’ve learned from consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic: Banks need to seize this digital moment before they become mere marketplace memories.Digital transformation is no longer a “nice to have” for small and medium-sized banks. Consumers have flocked to digital channels in record volumes since lockdowns rolled out across the country earlier in the year. Branches are seeing declines in in-person visits, while one Mastercard study showed 40% growth in contactless transactions in the first three months of 2020.
No longer are we talking about a digital-first approach. To meet these rapidly evolving customer preferences, banks need an end-to-end strategy to integrate digital for significant gains – including increased operational efficiency, improved customer satisfaction and decreased regulatory risk. And let us not forget that bringing your bank up to at least market expectations for digital experience will enhance your brand.
Without question, the COVID-19 pandemic has also changed the daily work of banks – but the timing has never been better to reignite and focus your bank’s digital transformation to meet your customers’ needs. Asking three critical questions will help you build a just-right roadmap as you look for the best ways to assess, fortify and optimize your systems to move to the next level.
Spend time reviewing your budget and transaction metrics, which can help you identify opportunities for investment and establish benchmarks to measure against as your digital journey advances. An important part of this initial assessment is aligning on key definitions across channels, which, in turn, will drive consistency in future reporting. For example, do you consider a married couple as one customer or two? What if they have both individual and joint accounts? Is your customer total still at one – or are you up to four now?
Fight the urge to have a digital strategy. Instead, you need an integrated channel approach that supports your overall strategy. Take the time to understand where and how you’re investing in your primary customer channels: branch, phone, ATM and digital. At the end of the day, this should be a zero-sum game: As you pick up customers in one channel, volume should drop in others. As digital gains more traction, you should start to see cost savings from greater automation and operational efficiency – or you need to figure out why you’re not.
This is hard work, and you won’t succeed if the effort is contained just within the digital team or even if you rely on a few digital ambassadors. Getting everyone in your bank – from the CEO to the front lines – on board with driving greater customer usage in your digital channel takes both time and engagement. Your phone agents and branch tellers need to understand the benefits of digital products and services so they can educate customers.
Getting from Point A to Point Z – and taking all the right steps in between – can be a tough thing to balance. That’s why we developed our digital transformation playbook, How to Successfully Reclaim and Navigate Digital Transformation Amid COVID-19, to help you get a running start on developing the right blueprint for your organization. The playbook walks you through the steps to start your bank on a digital journey that will enhance your daily operations (read: save money via greater efficiency) and better meet today’s customer needs. Download your copy today.
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