As 2023 kicks off, questions about the economy’s health continue. A mix of factors – inflation, rising interest rates, supply chain challenges, and continued fallout from the COVID 19 pandemic – make it clear that the coming year is going to continue to be difficult for our financial system. With a recession likely here – even if we’re not yet ready to call it that – financial institutions must prepare themselves to proactively address some of the challenges a contracting economy can bring. Banks who embrace a sales culture will be best positioned to improve speed to revenue.
How This Recession Will Impact Banks and Credit Unions
One of the hallmarks of the current financial situation is a staffing shortage. Banks – like other service industries – are suffering from staffing issues. Financial institutions are being forced to do more with less staff, manage turnover, and perpetually train new hires. In fact, in 2022, bank turnover at the nonofficer level reached 23.4 percent, the highest level since 2019.
At the same time, consumers are facing unprecedented financial pressure. They need experienced bankers who can help them navigate the financial crisis and the ever-expanding array of financial products available. And, they are more and more accustomed to self-serve, digital interactions with their financial institutions in the wake of the pandemic, even as they need more personalized attention to navigate rough financial waters.
Together, these developments can present a real challenge to banks. But, technology can turn the tide and help banks embrace a sales culture that emphasizes building trust with customers to truly support them on their financial wellness journey. Intelligent Conversation Guides are the latest efficiency technology that can help banks weather the storm and turn their bankers into power bankers who can both meet their customers needs AND grow the bank’s top line.
Arming Bankers With The Tools to Engage Customers
Personalizing conversations with customers and prospects is key to building deeper, longer-lasting relationships. But with turnover high, how can banks train new hires quickly – getting them familiar with the different products and services the financial institution offers and training them on the bank’s culture and customer service processes? Customer engagement technologies put all of that information at the banker’s fingertips, allowing them to focus on building connections with customers while getting meaningful data about their financial wellness, goals, and needs.
Banks and credit unions that embrace a sales culture that puts the customer in the center are best positioned to weather the challenges of the current environment. Using intelligent conversation guides, one bank experienced a 40 percent increase in productivity from its best bankers. In a recession marked by staffing issues, improving output from more experienced staff is one way to blunt the impact of attrition and turnover. And for new hires, the technology makes it easy for them to learn the products, engage with customers, and effectively guide customers to the products that best meet their needs.
Providing a Consistent Omnichannel Experience
The pandemic has resulted in closed branches and a customer base that has become more accustomed to self-service banking. Studies show that for every one time a customer visits a branch, the same customer will access the bank’s app between 50 and 80 times. Financial institutions that aren’t having engaging conversations with their customers via digital channels are missing out on the opportunity to counsel customers – and build relationships with them. Especially in a recession, bank customers need more personalized services and recommendations, not less.
Often, visiting a bank’s website or app is confusing for consumers. They’re not sure exactly where to go to get the information they seek, and they have no one guiding them as they look for information on products and services that can meet their needs.
Banks that can replicate the in-person experience through smart digital conversation guides can capture those customers, get them into the right products, and begin building loyalty. And providing that level of service in turbulent financial times can build a life-long relationship.
Why Guided Conversation Technology?
Guided conversations not only make bankers more efficient because they don’t need to remember the details of every bank offering and can focus on really connecting with customers, but they also build a relationship between the institution and the user.
While banks are often wary of focusing on sales – and with good reason, as customers need to trust their bankers, not feel like they are being sold to – the RIGHT sales approach can both build trusting relationships with the customer, and increase deposits.
And for digital channels, guided conversations are an effective way to deepen relationships, which isn’t always easy to do in online interactions. Rather than feeling lost when they interact with a bank online, or worse, feel like they are simply being sold to, users feel heard and engaged.
Ignite Sales is here to help financial institutions provide powerful and experiential services on all channels for FI customers, members, and businesses. We welcome the opportunity to partner with your financial institution to create an experiential service that combines all of the elements needed for powerful engagement. Give us a call >