Now, more than ever, financial institutions need to stay close and support their customers
Even in the best of times, customers rely on strong relationships with their bank or credit union to support them through each phase of their financial lives. From a first credit card account for a college bound senior, to a young adult starting a new job and opening a retirement account, to a new family buying a house, a financial institution that can share these experiences and customer journeys each step of the way is more likely to hold onto a customer for life through a digital relationship.
A strong digital banking experience is always a cornerstone to building and maintaining these relationships, but in these unprecedented and trying times of social distancing and protection from COVID-19, these digital channels are of paramount importance.
Digital Channels in a Socially Distant World
The world has changed dramatically almost overnight since the start of COVID-19, often forcing businesses to either close their doors completely or innovate with digital solutions. For financial institutions, responding to new restrictions in the way our world interacts requires a robust, fully featured digital online and mobile presence.
More than 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the onset of COVID-19, and the number keeps growing. People are more worried about their financial health than ever before, and they are looking to their financial institution relationships for support. Banks and credit unions are considered essential, and they have the responsibility to continue service throughout the duration of the current pandemic even though both patrons and staff are demanding ways to limit in-person transactions and activities. Functionality such as depositing checks, withdrawing funds, and applying for loans are all required during this time of crisis through digital banking relationships. The time for each financial institution to showcase their value is now. Times like these can create loyal customers for life.
Promoting Digital Financial Services
While certain customer segments such as Gen Z are very comfortable with digital technology, many bank and credit union customers in both the Baby Boomer and Gen X segments have not completely made the leap to leveraging digital solutions. Boomers themselves hold two-thirds of all deposits and will continue to be the wealthiest generation until 2030. Reasons for slower adoption of digital services include comfort, trust, and lack of training. The COVID-19 pandemic and its disruptions to day to day life provide a renewed urgency and heightened digital activity for financial institutions to promote alternatives to in-person services. While tellers, loan processors, and administrative personnel are kept from their normal day-to-day duties, financial institutions have an opportunity to potentially repurpose staff temporarily to encourage inactive digital users to get started with online or mobile interfaces today. Examples include:
- Creating a walk-through video of highly demanded services and promoting them online;
- Running a marketing campaign promoting digital services to end users;
- Placing assets and direct links on the financial institution website and emailing customers with targeted notifications;
- Establishing a support center function that assists users in creating a digital account or activating digital services such as mobile check deposit; and
- Tailoring communications to all users or particular customer segments.
Building Trust and Loyalty That Outlasts Any Crisis
Online and mobile digital channel adoption will continue to grow as people recognize the value of digital solutions and the need for greater control of their finances through features such as automated budgeting, person-to-person payment integration and mobile check deposit. There has never been a time more important than now for banks and credit unions to deliver innovative digital solutions to their customers. Answering the call today can create the trust and loyalty in a customer or small business that can last a lifetime.
By Chris Babcock, CEO, Apiture