In the past few years, more traditional brick-and-mortar banks have expanded their operations to include 24/7, accessible-from-anywhere banking channels. It’s now commonplace for banks to oversee customer transactions from a dedicated web portal or from a proprietary app. That gives customers the option to fulfill their day-to-day banking needs from either a physical counter or a virtual one. But in truth, is this setup sufficient? Is it enough for today’s banks to simply make digital banking channels available and expect them to operate as mere extensions of their on-premise services?
Based on how the retail banking sector is evolving, the answer is no. Having both digital and physical channels open for your customers will not be enough to facilitate the widespread digital banking transformation that your organization needs. In order to fully integrate your bank with the times, you must pursue a digital banking ecosystem that syncs up your digital and over-the-counter operations as one. It’s time for a bank like yours to address the tech, service, and staff empowerment gaps that may be getting in the way of your growth. Here’s a briefer on how you can do so.
Addressing the Tech Gap
Though banks have acknowledged the need to invest in their technologies to accommodate an increasingly tech-savvy customer base, many still harbor an “add-on” mentality for apps, web properties, and the like. This approach sees technology as something that only needs to be acquired as needed—not something that is meant to radically transform the bank’s way of doing things both onsite and online.
If you want your bank to excel in the digitally-driven future, however, you must be able to envision a major shift in your relationship with technology. Instead of merely adding on tools and services, you should aim to gradually shift your bank’s operations to an all-inclusive digital banking platform and run a full digital-and-physical banking ecosystem from it.
For sure, moving to such a platform will allow you to streamline both your over-the-counter and digital banking processes. But it will also give your on-prem and digital banking staff leverage over the two things that are driving the banking industry today: financial data analytics and customer-centric insight.
New technology should make it easier for your bank to offer things like personalized loan programs, custom-tailored bancassurance, and in-depth financial management advice. It should be possible for customers to learn more about these, sign up, and follow up on their involvement from any one of your bank’s channels with minimal friction.
Resolving the Service Gap
Some customers, like the “digital native” millennials, may choose to transact with your bank almost exclusively through digital channels. The older generations that preceded them, however, may still want the option of handling their money matters over the counter. But the largest subset of your customer base will be those who want both—and who expect consistent and straight-through service no matter what they choose.
The problem is, the levels of service that they experience while they’re doing digital banking may be extremely different from those that they experience when they’re banking on-prem. And if customers end up feeling like they’re transacting with two different institutions, it may turn them off enough to seek another banking provider.
In order to sync up your digital and on-prem operations and prevent this customer dissatisfaction from happening, your bank will need to resolve the service gap in the following ways:
- Identify where the discrepancies in banking service are occurring;
- Eliminate the burdensome data silos between your on-prem and digital banking teams;
- Ease your on-prem and digital banking staff into using a single source of truth for your customer transaction data;
- Spearhead full integration of your bank’s digital and on-prem systems, and;
- Cut down on the redundancies in your digital and on-prem banking processes.
When you address all of these things, you will notice that there will be fewer delays, transaction errors, or turnovers happening between both teams. This will leave you with happier customers who will be confident about transacting with you no matter which channel they’re utilizing—precisely because they feel like it’s easy for them to pick up where they left off.
Responding to Gaps in Staff Empowerment
The last part of the equation involves your staff. They may not have articulated this to the bank’s management committee just yet, but they may be feeling rather uneasy about your impending digital transformation.
Do all of your staff feel like they are operating inside one cohesive work environment? Or do the over-the-counter banking staff and the digital banking staff feel somewhat disconnected from each other? If the situation leans more towards the latter, then it’s your job to build the bridge between these two factions in your staff.
One way to do this is to remind your staff that no one’s work is obsolete. The technical and data-driven work that’s spearheaded mostly by the digital banking staff will cultivate trust for the bank’s other channels, including on-premises banking. Conversely, the warmth and thoroughness of hands-on engagement, headed mostly by physical staff, will give a human “face” to the banking organization—which is something it may have lost in the fast transition to the digital sphere. In the empowered banking ecosystem, everyone’s work is important. Your banking infrastructure and processes, both onsite and online, must be able to reflect that.
Remember: whether you’re servicing your banking customers over the counter or online, you are still the same bank with the same brand promise. Make sure that they feel that consistently, no matter which channel they use to interact with you. That is the surest way to keep both your on-prem and digital banking services running well, and the best possible guarantee of your bank’s relevance in the digitally-driven future.
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