I recently attended and presented at the Future Branches Virtual Event. The resounding message across many of the presentations and speakers was clear: digital transformation and digital banking has become the core focus for banks and credit unions. While digital banking was a substantial part of many strategies prior to the pandemic, the necessity to deliver these offerings happened at an accelerated rate. So, now digital banking and services aren’t only a nice to have, they’re a must.
The notion of how much customer behavior has changed over the past year, and what customers expect now, is exactly we’ve been hearing and seeing across the financial services industry. As customers, and as humans, we don’t just want to buy products or services, we want a truly unique experience. And providing that unique, human-to-human customer engagement is at the very core of where the financial industry was headed. The transition to experiences, and a more adaptable, virtual world was already happening - but the pandemic made it happen that much faster.
As many companies have adapted their work policies to not only work from home, but work from anywhere, many customers now want to do business from anywhere. That means many of your members and customers want to bank from anywhere - and expect to. During my presentation, I discussed what bank from anywhere means, how it empowers your customers, and what technology you need to consider to enable banking from anywhere. Here’s a recap of what you need to know about banking from anywhere:
The empowered customer
The truth is, the need for banking services has not changed. People still need to deposit a check, open a new account, get a new debit card, refinance their homes, and more. What has changed is the way technology enables customers and members to do these services on their terms, and the empowered customer wants convenience, simplicity, and options.
With flexible appointment modes from virtual technologies, you can give your customers the services they need anytime, anywhere, via any device, and this is exactly what the empowered, hybrid customer expects.
Physical branches aren’t going away
So what does this mean for your physical branch locations? There will always be customers who prefer to bank in-person. In fact, phone and branch-level customer service still rank high in importance at banks and credit unions. People value in-person, human-to-human connections. That’s why physical branch locations should supplement with a digital strategy, including remote video- and voice-based appointments.
And according to a recent survey, 73% of customers still prefer in-person interaction when receiving financial advice. So, while there might be less dependence on physical branches moving forward, they are still an important part of your business.
Embrace technology to enable banking from anywhere
How can you embrace technology to make bank from anywhere an option for your customers? How can you provide personalization at scale - across multiple branches, staff members, and time zones? That’s where appointment scheduling technology comes in and can give your customers an unmatched level of service and the personalization that keeps them coming back for more. Additionally, virtual queuing and capacity management can help your branch staff manage lobbies while simultaneously improving the customer experience.
Appointment scheduling was already used by eight of the 10 largest banks prior to the pandemic, and now, many are seeing additional value from appointment scheduling software. Appointment scheduling helps you run a safe and efficient business, reach a broader audience, and provide the unique, personalized experience customers want and need.
There is a slew of appointment scheduling use cases for financial institutions, and many ways to provide memorable experiences, but a couple worth mentioning are:
Mortgage appointments: Video appointments have been a huge innovation for the mortgage market as advisors can now share documents online and customers can sign documents while on a video call. This makes the entire process more flexible and efficient.
Wealth management appointments: According to Accenture, the trend is heading to a blend of face-to-face and remote interactions to provide more personalized and higher value interventions with advisors. Through one-to-one, personalized in-person and remote appointments, there are many opportunities for wealth management advisors.
Additionally, with virtual appointments, you get the benefits of providing your services during non-traditional hours. The after-hours availability could be the difference between a loyal customer or having them choose a competitor. Additionally, having more convenient hours and ways to connect with customers opens up your doors to more socio-economic groups.
Another way banks and credit unions can significantly improve the customer experience is through lobby management. Virtual queuing and capacity management technologies are helping banks do this at scale.
With virtual queuing, customers and members have the choice to go online, check in, and be notified regardless of their location when it is time for their appointment or to meet with a staff member. And capacity management can be used to set a limit, manage walk-ins at peak times, and ensure there is enough space and distance in bank lobbies.
Technology considerations for financial institutions
While appointment booking may seem simple, it’s complex, especially for the financial services industry. There are many technology considerations from accessibility to security compliance. Here are four main considerations for financial institutions:
Finding a technology solution that is accessible to all of your customers is critical. Along with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) legislation and internationally-recognized WCAG 2.1 guidelines, being accessible for customers across all of your digital entities, including your software vendors, matters. So find a technology partner that prioritizes accessibility and is dedicated to keeping up with the ever-changing guidelines and regulations.
Data breach costs are among the highest in the financial services industry. Finding a technology partner that goes above and beyond to ensure security is a must. From GDPR to ISO and more, strict information security policies should protect your company and your customers.
The digital transformation of banking and financial services is becoming increasingly important - and data is at the core of this transformation. Utilizing analytics, your financial institution can make critical business decisions to drive growth.
Having an enterprise appointment scheduling solution that puts data at the forefront is key. It should be robust while giving you the information you need at ease.
Integrations: Microsoft Office 365
Did you know? The financial services industry has the highest usage of Office 365. Ensuring your technology partner can integrate seamlessly with Office 365 is crucial. This will ensure all employees can use your new scheduling technology solution with ease to increase productivity across your organization.
Leading banks are seeing value
Appointment scheduling software is providing leading banks value in everything from reduced wait times to optimizing their workforce. In fact, leading banks have seen some of the following benefits:
50% decrease in wait times
8% to 3% drop in no-show rate
40% better utilization of staff
Doubled appointments while cutting branch numbers in half
So, as we look to the future, it is important to embrace digital transformation and technology like bank scheduling software to exceed your customers’ expectations. By giving your customers the option to do business with you on their terms and give them expert guidance, you will be well on your way to improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. For more information, and to learn more about this topic, watch the full video presentation: “Banking from anywhere: Embracing technology to exceed customer expectations”.
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