The digital era has opened up many opportunities for banking customers to expand the way they handle financial transactions – from mobile banking to online account opening (OAO) to managing day-to-day banking tasks completely remotely. Yet, for many banking customers, a disconnect remains between the promise of digital banking and the reality.
A seamless omnichannel experience isn’t often the norm. Customers may find the information available online to be complicated or may be unable to complete a transaction as expected, only to have to start the process all over again when they take the time to go in person to a branch to get answers.
For traditional banks and credit unions, it’s important that digital banking not only creates a virtual channel to connect with customers, but also that it serves as an online port of entry for in-branch banking. Digital banking should be both a lead generation tool and a conduit to continue a conversation in-person, remotely, over the phone or online.
Friction Disrupts the Banking Process
Customers today are still frustrated by cross-channel friction, despite bank efforts to deliver an omnichannel experience. During Covid-19, many banks were forced to innovate quickly and change their approach, which didn’t always result in a sustainable way of working.
A World Banking Report from 2021 revealed that 42% of the bank executives said they are not sure how to “integrate and streamline mid-, back-, and front-office functions effectively and 46% said they are unsure how to embrace open banking, orchestrate the ecosystem, and become a truly data-driven organization.”
More than 40% of bankers said they are not confident their bank is successfully using digital in a way that offers superior customer service, and they are worried about the future of their banking branches as result.
At the same time, customers are demanding intuitive, integrated, omnichannel experiences that are personalized and accessible 24/7 on-demand.
That was already obvious in 2020, when the World Retail Banking Report 2020 revealed that “57% of consumers prefer internet banking in the COVID-19 era.” In addition McKinsey found that “the pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital banking by two years.”
Making Better Use of Digital Data
For banks, the answer is making better use of digital channels and the data collected online. Generating online leads and being able to convert them, if not immediately through online account opening, then at a later time. That means starting a conversation that can be continued later through follow-up emails, phone calls, or in-branch interactions.
In order for that to happen, the right information needs to be obtained up front, and stored in an accessible way. Turning your website into a successful digital interaction channel is the key. You need a user-friendly, compelling, interactive lead generation option. You want to collect customer information in a respectful, helpful and compliant way. One obvious solution is to have natural language conversations.
Going Beyond the Open Account Button
When it comes to getting customers to open a new account or choose a new banking product, adding an online account opening system (OAO) isn’t enough. You’ll need to go a bit further than just adding a “click to open account” button and form to the website to make your new prospects or customers comfortable completing an online application. There are a lot of unknowns in this process. People may have fears such as:
- Fear they haven’t selected the right type of account
- Fear they won’t be approved
- Fear of providing personal information
- Fear their credit could be negatively affected
- Fear of wasting time doing the wrong thing
The entire process needs to be prefaced in order to take customers on the right information journey: nudging them down the correct path by asking important, relevant questions that ensure they are directed toward suitable products and services to meet their needs.
What you want is a truly personalized digital conversation that reassures the customer that they are going to end up in the right place. No one wants to start what looks like a long journey (filling out pages of forms and handing over financial information) without being sure the path is heading where they want to go.
In 2019, a senior analyst at Forrester reported that abandon rates for online banking applications are at an all-time high of 97.5%.
Increase Your Website’s Conversion Success
One of the most important ways to generate banking leads is to increase the conversion success of your website. That means offering something for customers who may not be ready – right at this moment – to complete an online application. A digital conversation offers a way to interact with these customers, and provide helpful information, while learning more about them. Even if they don’t complete an application process right then, it ensures that you collect the information necessary so when they do come back – either online, by phone or into a branch – the customer can pick up the conversation from where they left off.
The information they already gave you isn’t irrelevant. You can use what you learned about them to start a lead nurturing campaign or educational email series that helps your customers gather the additional information they need to make a decision. Collecting information about your customers lets you stay in touch by offering them relevant content that might be useful months, or even years, down the road.
Create Meaningful, Interactive Online Experiences
Digital conversations guides help ease this process by creating interactive online experiences – and making the information collected online available to in-branch and remote bankers. Using digital conversations on your website enables you to gather better information and create more personalized experiences for your customers.
With digital conversation guides, your website can help you gain answers to important information such as:
- Does the customer have a student about to head off to college?
- Are they considering buying a new home in the next 1-2 years?
- Are they nearing retirement, or about to change jobs?
- Do they have additional accounts elsewhere?
- Are they a business owner, and need cash collection or drop-box support?
By collecting insights in a natural, conversational way, your website (as well as in-person or remote banking interactions) will become more engaging. Using a digital conversation guide that provides access to information collected during all past interactions (online, remote or in-person) helps your bankers do a better job of interacting with your customers in a way that increases customer satisfaction.
It also makes it more likely that your bankers can suggest the right products and upsell or cross-sell successfully. The same goes for the website. The right customer journey through your website, led by a guided conversation, can increase the chances of a successful product recommendation. This kind of relevant information gathering (online and in-person) acts as both a cross-sell opportunity and a customer engagement moment. And it’s one that delivers results.
Guided conversations result in a 40% increase in customer satisfaction and a 50% increase in accounts per customer opened.
Reimagine Omnichannel Customer Interaction
Offering a consistent omnichannel experience means synchronizing offline banking with digital channels. Capgemini research describes how banks are reimaging branches as “experiences centers” in the next phase of digital transformation. Banks do this by:
- Deploying intelligent assistants and self-service kiosks to support bank staff, so employees can focus on value-added services instead of transactional activities.
- Offering customers experiences beyond the usual transactions in banking branches (some offer coffee stations, wi-fi connections and small business support).
- Developing a technology agnostic UX layer that creates a consistent customer experience across the banking ecosystem.
Banks can develop this sort of offering using a Digital Guided Conversation platform that provides a consistent customer experience across channels from online to over-the-phone to in-person.
And after all, customer service is the number one thing keeps banking customers loyal.
Digital Engagement Success Stories
Read how the industry’s most innovative and successful banks are having deeper, richer engagement with customers by using dynamic conversations that put customers in the right products 100% of the time.
Find out more about how Digital Conversation Guides helped four banks achieve remarkable success.
Ignite Sales is the leader in digital customer engagement, using artificial intelligence for engaging analytics to facilitate growth, deepen product penetration and increase satisfaction levels of bankers and customers.