As the economy continues to mend, banks are looking to new digital technologies and solutions to help them reconnect with and regain the confidence of customers. To be competitive, financial services providers must look to embrace new technologies and find innovative ways to cater to today’s connected customer. In this digital era, if financial providers are unwilling to adopt new technologies and solutions, innovative players such as Google, Square, and Simple -- which have begun offering financial services -- could dominate the industry, winning customer approval.
To develop a sound and effective strategy, we recommend that banks implement several key principles as part of their overall business strategy. From Facebook to smartphones, technology and innovation have placed control in consumers’ hands. Now more than ever, financial institutions must embrace these digital guidelines allowing consumers to use the new technologies to communicate their satisfaction.
In today’s digital world, brands may have less than 500 milliseconds to secure consumer interest before customers click away. Financial services providers need to anticipate customer needs and work to quickly and strategically to guide them to the relevant product and/or offers they desire in order to satisfy them. Companies need to learn more about their customers in order to provide a targeted and enjoyable digital experience.
In working to achieve the “Digital First” mindset, companies need to quickly respond to their customer moods and serve up appropriate content. For example, website landing pages should be able to recognize whether a particular user is a new visitor or returning customer, determining what type of content should be presented.
Financial services providers must be able and willing to leverage data and analytics to ensure they are properly targeting each consumer with relevant offers. Ultimately, careful data mining will help companies leverage analytics and develop powerful insights that will allow them to understand customer preferences and needs. These insights will guide them and increase the value of each customer interaction.
Today’s consumer is always connected, and therefore brands must provide a tailored, connected and seamless experience for them. An interaction without interruption will not only secure customer interest, but will ensure that customers return. The experience should be user-friendly online as well as seamless across all channels and devices to ensure that customers have a positive digital experience with their respective banks. For instance, if a customer submits a mortgage application to his bank, all his subsequent interactions with the bank -- including contact with the call center, a visit to the bank’s Web site or an SMS on his phone informing him about the approval of his mortgage application -- should be in sync with each other.
If a bank implements the previously mentioned guidelines but forgets to be relevant, the company will not experience a significant return on their investment. Instead, companies must be able to deliver appropriate experiences across all channels. For instance, if a customer goes abroad, the bank’s locator application on their mobile device should recognize their travels and provide contextually relevant information such as the nearest ATM machines in the vicinity.
By offering improved service to customers in-person and through digital, social, mobile and traditional applications, brands will have the ability to recognize circumstantial signals and engage customers within each context -- and customers will be satisfied.
Finally, in today’s always-connected world, it is vital that banks and financial services providers offer services 24/7 across all channels and devices. By being constantly available to consumers, they will have a greater sense of loyalty with access to virtual relationship managers and other digital tools. This will ultimately deepen the relationship and help develop an additional layer of trust with consumers.
A “Digital First” mindset is an essential component of any business plan for financial institutions that want to enhance customer satisfaction, build customer loyalty and experience a positive ROI. At a time when tech-savvy customers are in control and have the freedom to demand more from their banks, becoming a truly integrated digital business is essential for growth. By adopting a “Digital First” mindset banks can deliver reliable, relevant and innovative financial services, and ultimately develop a strong and loyal customer base.