In the years leading up to the pandemic, banks branches were closing steadily. Consumers were getting more comfortable with online banking, and banks were offering more services digitally. But when the pandemic hit and stay-at-home orders, social distancing measures, and mask mandates went into effect, consumer adoption of mobile and digital banking skyrocketed, leaving branches empty and many closing.
Likewise, low-interest rates have negatively impacted margins forcing cost-cutting and branch closures. As a result, banks are closing branches in unprecedented numbers. S&P Global Market Intelligence reported that bank closures in the United States increased 38 percent in 2021, a record high.
The Human Connections at Branches
The allure and the differentiator of bank branches have always been its helpful, knowledgeable staff. The human connections made at bank branches are undeniable – neither is the importance of the human touch in the customer experience. Consumers need to be heard, and they want to be able to explain to bankers what they feel are their unique situations and their current needs. In response, they want guidance on their financial journey that matches their distinctive circumstances. So, staff at local bank branches made it their business to know their customers and deliver personalized services.
Sans-Branch Personalized Services Still Needed
Without a local branch, the need to offer personalized services is even more critical. However, financial institutions need technology to provide that human touch when the customer is home, even if the banker is also working from home. Conversations must be on target to ensure that bankers uncover customers’ financial needs and circumstances and, at the same time, build relationships.
Remote Banker Helps Create Customer Connections
The Remote Banker, a remote version of Ignite’s Customer Engagement Platform, helps bankers stay connected with their customers no matter where each is. The Remote Banker enables bankers to engage with customers digitally using targeted, dynamic conversation guides that reveal customers’ financial needs and generate highly accurate account recommendations. Guided conversations through the Remote Banker help bankers to demonstrate interest and empathy in their customers and their financial situations using email and phone. As a result, bankers can get to the heart of customers’ current needs and the necessary knowledge to recommend best-fit financial solutions accurately in real-time.
We are implementing the remote banker technology to allow our bankers to assist our customers today during quarantine as well as into the future of all things digital.
—Large FI in the Midwest
The Remote Banker uniquely allows bankers to engage customers in digital sales and marketing conversations. The solution’s decision tree science and operational AI drive customer conversations and product selections relevant to each customer, whether consumer or business and their unique financial situation. Information is synthesized in real-time from various sources to provide product recommendations and analytics data.
Mitigating Retention Risk
Like all industries, the tight labor market is having a dramatic impact on the banking sector. According to Quantum Workplace research, only 50 percent of employees in the banking sector are highly engaged, and 35 percent are a retention risk. Add to that worrisome statistic is workers’ desire to work from home. Research from Harvard Business School Online revealed that 81% of workers either don’t want to go back to the office or would prefer a hybrid schedule from now on. Consequently, financial institutions must offer technology to enable staff to work from home to win the war on talent. The Remote Banker can help banks address their talent challenge as it allows bankers to effectively work from home while delivering a highly personalized customer experience.
Banks continue to face challenges created by the ongoing pandemic. Implementing innovative technologies that enable their bankers to deliver exceptional customer service will help them better compete and grow their business in this everchanging market.
To learn more about delivering an exceptional customer experience in a hybrid working model, click here.