As a result of the pandemic, banking innovation accelerated across the industry. Now, technology is driving new trends in banking across channels, and customers and members expect their online experience to match their in-branch experience.
So, how do banks and credit unions maintain the human element in their online banking experiences to match or exceed their in-person experiences? Nick Barnes, Practice Director for Financial Services at JRNI, and Thomas Novak, Vice President and Chief Digital Officer at Visions Federal Credit Union, provide insights on keeping human-to-human connection central to all banking experiences.
“First and foremost, banks need to consider the emotional impact of their engagements with customers,” Barnes said. “From a digital standpoint, consumers demand more today than just speed and ease-of-access. They want to feel good about their interactions with technology, which requires an element of human connection. Banks can deliver meaningful, powerful, personalized experiences by using their existing data and everyday customer touchpoints.”
One keyword that Novak said Visions Federal Credit Union focuses on is empathy. “It all starts for us with the North Star, which is a focus on - how do we put digital-first experiences out there for our members so that we can empower them towards financial independence?”
Another critical focus for Novak and Visions is blending the digital and physical sides of banking seamlessly to make it intuitive for their members. No matter how they choose to do their banking, it’s an easy process. “So, taking that approach to really think through how a member might go through a particular journey is central to that empathy and helps us build digital experiences that enable the fostering of empathy and improving the member experience.”
Accelerated digital transformation in banking with a focus on building relationships
For every industry, digital transformation was accelerated during the pandemic. For financial institutions, it meant pivoting to prioritize what would best serve their customers during the pandemic and beyond. Barnes quoted a recent Deloitte study that found 80% of respondents from top financial institutions noted that COVID-19 uncovered shortcomings in their digital strategies. Barnes said that now, as financial institutions are re-evaluating their digital transformation strategies, they should embrace technology to ensure they can provide personalized experiences across all engagements.
“The focus should really be on providing that personalized experience,” Barnes said. “As I mentioned, it's a 24-hour business, and customers want to choose how they bank with you. But they want to get the same level of service across all [channels]. So it comes down to how banks and credit unions invest in technology to give their customers and members options.”
Novak said that this focus on digital-first experiences means taking a deeper look into each step of a member’s journey, finding ways to improve their experiences while also building better relationships.
“And now that we're in the age of digital transformation and digital-first experiences, we need to move from transactional to thoughtful, that's a really big difference. It's not just a shift in mindset. It's a shift in how we approach everything that we do as a financial institution. We're here to build relationships. And we're here to gain feedback and go through multiple iterations of a solution, not simply set it and forget it.”
Thomas Novak, Vice President and Chief Digital Officer at Visions Federal Credit Union
A focus on improving both the member and employee experience in banking
Novak noted that many financial institutions forget that the member experience and employee experience need to be connected and thought of from a holistic standpoint to provide the best experience possible.
“If we're only focusing on one side of it, we're going to have a drop off in that overall experience,” Novak said. “On the member side, appointment booking is crucial. I would even say table stakes, starting to up our game in personalization is becoming table stakes. Because our members, our customers are comparing us to the best experiences that they're having.”
Novak and Barnes also said there are things that credit unions and banks can do now to have an immediate impact on the experiences they provide.
“Number one is a relentless focus on your customer in their experiences. So what small improvements can you make, things like reducing clicks, providing relevant content, and making the customer feel they have a more personalized experience, that you're there for them. These small steps can have a dramatic improvement.” Barnes said.
“There's often this hesitation or procrastination by financial institutions that they need to boil the ocean, that they need to do it all at once, they need to fix everything. And that's really a paralysis by analysis kind of mindset,” Novak said. “By targeting a specific journey or specific interaction that you want to have with the member, you're going to make sure that you put out a best-in-class solution for that member. And all the while you're getting lessons learned that you can apply to other solutions and other journeys that you need to work on.”
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About the author
The JRNI team is made up of product, customer, and technical experts who are focused on driving personalized experiences - for our customers, and for theirs. The JRNI blog enables us to dive into how retail and financial organizations can use personalized experiences to grow profitability, build stronger customer relationships, and drive customer loyalty.
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