Client experience (CX) is key to retaining primary financial institution (FI) status. It has morphed from being physically available to customers and members into curating a personalized digital experience. Bringing such value to users requires understanding and rewarding them with guidance and digital tools to achieve their financial goals. Intersecting the latest technology with human empathy earns loyalty — but how do FIs take on that work while handling their day to day?
In our fourth Gold Standard Series event with Jim Marous, co-publisher of The Financial Brand, he and MainStreet Bank SVP and Chief Marketing Officer Brian Baker, and Alkami Chief Marketing Officer Allison Cerra discussed how to keep a challenger mindset, prepare for the future of loyalty, and understand the ethical, efficient use of technology to move forward. Here are the highlights from the conversation.
New Focus for a New Year
As we face 2022, organizations are asking what they need to do to create the best user experience and efficiencies, and how to future proof for what lies ahead. The answer is at the intersection of data and analytics, innovation, leadership, employee engagement, and fixing back office processes.
The result of making these processes work well together should be an easy, simple, and engaging user experience, that offers the right tools. For instance, what consumers don’t want are budgeting tools; rather, they want FIs to budget for them, and provide the GPS of financial services: something less transactional and more engaging.
Tomorrow’s loyalty isn’t based on accounts, balances, or transactions, but how much users engage on a mobile device or desktop computer. Achieving that desired level of engagement requires working at the speed of digital and respecting the privacy of consumers and small businesses.
Improving Account Opening
When improving CX, a seamless, simple, easy way of opening an account is a must. FIs can leverage tellers in new hybrid approaches for this crucial moment in the digital banking experience. Opening an account through a modern digital experience requires bringing the human touch to the screen. FIs will need data, analytics, and a digital tech partner to connect tellers to users for an engaging experience.
To improve the account opening experience, you’ll have to examine where you can make improvements in the back office. This doesn’t mean simply digitizing analog processes, but building digital processes from scratch. Here’s where a partner comes in to get you moving at the speed of digital innovation and transformation. FIs should also look at achieving goals quarter by quarter rather than year by year at this pace.
The Next Frontier for Banks and Credit Unions
Our CMO Allison Cerra explained how the next frontier for FIs to face is leveraging data to make users financially healthy. She pointed to the use of AI to scale the endeavor and to allow all users to engage in financial planning typically reserved for the upper class who can afford professionals to do this for them. But using AI in this way comes with a warning—as we leverage machines and AI, we need humans to provide the supervision and avoid biases in data that teaches AI. In short, FIs should focus on preventing machines from exploiting people.
Brian Baker from MainStreet Bank is looking at how his team crafts their CX strategy and message to center their customers’ financial lives and create new expectations in MainStreet Bank’s content. Baker is focused on translating his organization’s passion for the industry to the customer with content that engages customers where they are, not where the FI is.
In regards to content development and delivery, Baker suggested to plan everything with care to deliver the message at the right time to the right people through the right channels. The best way to do that is to remember we’re all customers, and develop plans from that perspective.
Cerra also noted a shift in perspective for the future: “We still see FIs believing another local FI is the competition, but the real competition is neobanks and large fintechs that seek to disintermediate and commoditize you.” As a collective, she explained, banks and credit unions need to harness the power of the community to move faster together.
Baker also gave attendees insight into how innovation works for his FI. Mainstreet Bank is investing in innovation and looking at how many wins come from those dollars, keeping in mind that the process is about experimentation because that’s what innovation is. “Failing fast is a cliche,” he said, “but that’s the idea so you can take innovation to the market before it’s no longer innovative. And it never ends—innovation is an ever evolving thing.” He also pointed out that a digital banking partner must evolve with the FI, and advised banks and credit unions to look closely at what they are investing in.
Thank you to Jim Marous, Brian Baker, Allison Cerra, and all attendees for another great Gold Standard Series event!
You can watch Banking Transformation: Realizing the Next Phase of CX and User Relationships on demand by clicking the link below.