Digital Banking Solutions for Now and the Future of Financial Services

Jun 02, 2020

In mid-March, the abrupt limitation of face-to-face interactions thrust digital banking solutions into the spotlight. Many financial institutions unfortunately found themselves ill-equipped to handle this new forced digital transformation, but others discovered they were more than ready to go all-in on digital banking to fill in new gaps in their customer experience.

When the pandemic first hit, banks went into triage mode. Call centers were flooded with customers looking for answers, and all the while, banks needed to provide covid-related updates and changes in real time. To address both inbound and outbound engagement gaps, many financial institutions turned to Relay's secure mobile engagement feeds to provide proactive guidance and support, and deliver the most up-to-date information to customers.

What makes this approach different is the level of personalization and one-to-one engagement the feed provides. Every customer gets his or her own individual mobile feed that is completely unique, and from there, their chosen bank is able to provide the most relevant information and support. Like a social feed, engagement with the customer feed is 10x higher than traditional channels like email because the content specifically speaks to each customer’s financial needs.

Now that many customers have become accustomed to completing banking transactions digitally over the last few months, it's likely to become the norm. In fact, a recent Novantas survey revealed that only 40% of respondents said they expect to return to branches post-Covid. Below, we discuss how leading financial institutions are leveraging Relay's personalized mobile feeds to drive critical engagement, customer loyalty and lifetime value in the pandemic and beyond.

Banking Platforms Should Provide Resources Proactively

Many financial institutions created a central location online where customers can go to find the most up-to-date coronavirus-related information, like updated branch hours and in-person safety measures. However, using mass emails to get this information to customers has been particularly ineffective as inboxes are more cluttered than ever with messages about the pandemic from almost every type of business. Making the message stand out and answer a question your customer hasn’t asked yet is crucial to building trust in a digital banking solution.

To cut through the noise, banks looking to alternative methods of outreach are seeing success in secure, personalized mobile messages. Using SMS as a notification method help customers understand the significance of the bank’s message, and a personalized, proactive delivery builds makes customers feel supported and cared for.

For content, banks can start applying this approach by addressing the kinds of questions customers are asking most during this time:

‣ What are my local branch hours?

‣ Where can I find out more information about relief programs?

‣ How do I know if my stimulus check was deposited?

Provide answers to these questions before customers need to ask on a safe, effective delivery channel like secure SMS to see 10 times more engagement with customers.

Educate and Drive Adoption of Digital Banking Tools

For many, the pandemic is forcing brand-new behaviors — like completing regular banking practices online or on mobile, causing even more stress and anxiety. In fact, nearly 1 out of 2 adults in the world owns a smartphone, tablet or smartwatch, yet almost half have never conducted a mobile transaction with their bank. While that is a stark statistic, it speaks more to the fact of needing good effective solutions to engage every customer.

It’s important that banks prioritize building a strategic, segmented communication plan for this vulnerable group. Once you’ve identified these customers, setup a targeted, personalized experience with a direct link to download your mobile app. Follow up with easy instructions for essential banking moments like how to check account balances, set up direct deposits and view monthly statements.

One Relay client, a top 10 financial institution, took swift steps early to make sure a particular population of its customer base wouldn’t be affected by statewide branch closures and limited hours. On the days of the month when social security checks are distributed, this bank would typically see an increase in deposits, especially in-branch.

For the subset of customers who had never deposited a check via mobile, this bank proactively provided guided, step-by-step instructions on how to complete deposits on a mobile app with a direct link to download the app. The timing of messages and the easily-accessible mobile instructions helped customers better navigate this critical process and prevented an avoidable trip to a bank branch. It also introduced an entirely new customer segment to the ease of digital banking.

Use Digital Banking Solutions to Cut Back on Face-to-Face Interactions

Since the start of the pandemic, inbound calls have been overwhelming call centers and unfortunately created a spike in wait times. This has exacerbated customer frustrations and anxieties. Also, customers are waiting hours in drive-thru lines at bank branches with limited staff — often to complete simple transactions that could be done online.

A U.S.-based bank with roughly 1,400 branches across the country is currently operating with no more than 5 associates present at a time. When the pandemic began, this bank equipped each branch with an iPad containing ready-made mobile experiences that the associates could push out to any customer’s mobile phone in seconds. For simple procedures like how to find one’s login credentials and where to download the mobile app, associates simply need to enter a few pieces of customer data to deploy a fully personalized guided walk-through. This has helped to alleviate pressure on bank associates, and provide much-needed guidance and education to customers.

Providing an End-to-End Digital Customer Experience

When statewide closures began, many banks found that their digital ecosystem was not ready to handle a complete eradication of in-person interactions. Apps and portals left banks in a reactive state, struggling to engage with their customers, deliver a high-quality experience, or update content quickly enough during times of rapid change.

Banks that had previously implemented digital experiences for moments like onboarding new checking customers or guiding customers through each step of a loan application found it much easier to transition to digital-only. Personalized mobile engagement platforms have emerged as not just a nice-to-have service, but as an essential component to providing the experiences today’s consumer has come to expect. Relay insights show that customers are 30% more engaged and 21% less costly down the road when they receive a personalized digital onboarding experience.

Now more than ever, financial institutions need to invest in digital banking solutions that provide seamless, end-to-end service to customers. Before the pandemic, many banking leaders did not trust the power of digital engagement for critical moments like onboarding, but the forced digital transformation due to Covid-19 has the entire industry changing its tune. The key is making customer moments hyper-personalized, timely and convenient, and choosing digital banking solutions that can sustain and grow with customers.

Create a Persistent, Secure Channel to Communicate Reopening Plans

Gartner research shows that organizations that are able to pivot to well-planned and comprehensive improvements to service — not just getting by as customer needs shift — break away from their peers and sustain three times more revenue than their lagging competitors in the following five to seven years. In the last three weeks, we’ve seen incredible momentum from financial institutions leveraging digital solutions to better engage and serve their customers, while building strong, persistent relationships that will prevail.

Looking ahead, customers will be hesitant to return to branches without fully understanding measures being taken to ensure their safety. They will be inundated with emails and calls from almost every business, desperately trying to communicate their own reopening strategies to get customers back as soon as possible. Banks who lean into a dedicated digital strategy now will have a solid, reliable channel that will bypass the impending deluge of emails and calls, quickly connecting customers with critical information. This will give them the information, confidence and peace of mind they need to return when they’re ready.

New Digital Banking Solutions Will Only Improve Your Customer Experience

While these last few months have brought on plenty of new challenges and problems to solve, proactive guided mobile experiences are proving to be a vital asset to the banking customer experience.

To learn more about Relay's digital engagement solution for financial services, request a personalized demo today.