How Financial Institutions Can Keep Up with Changing Expectations
Banks and credit unions need to invest in digital experience and prioritize innovation
In the past, banks and financial institutions have been able to control their users' experiences with a tight grip. Nowadays, customers are more demanding than ever before, especially with major lifestyle shifts to digital due to the pandemic. From banking apps that offer instant notifications of transactions, to social media messages for customer service inquiries, customers are expecting immediate responses from companies in all industries.
To keep up with this new era of technology-driven expectations, banks need to be willing to change the way they operate and invest in innovation. Many users are unwilling to wait hours for a call back or days for an email response. Instead, consumers want instant answers, as they know that more companies than ever before offer services and products online and they can find the digital experience they seek with just a few clicks. Marketers are even seeing that customer expectations are not reverting to what they were prior to the pandemic – these changes are here to stay.
With expectations higher than ever and unlikely to change moving forward, how can financial institutions continue to reach and keep the attention of their customers despite the hurdles created in the last year? The answer is simple: move with the digital landscape.
As the Digital Landscape Changes, So Should You
The digital landscape moves quickly, especially in times of rapid, rigid change like during the COVID-19 pandemic. With each challenge brought on by lockdowns, travel restrictions and mandates, the world of digital has had to adapt and grow with every new hurdle. Teachers and students adapted to online learning, judges held trials via Zoom, and all non-essential businesses adapted their brick-and-mortar stores to live online. While these changes were difficult, they pushed innovation forward and created a new standard for function in their industry.
According to a report from appnovation.com, 84% of consumers expect and hope for brands to adopt new digital solutions to deliver products or services to them in 2021. With the number of businesses and organizations that adapted their usual functions in-person functions online, users actually found themselves enjoying the convenience of the new digital solutions that they never had access to before the pandemic. Why visit a branch if you can apply for a new loan without ever leaving the comfort of your couch?
By keeping these recent digital advancements on your site, building upon their existing capabilities, and adding new features as the industry evolves, your financial institution can keep up with user expectations while also meeting the new standards that will inevitably arise.
A New Look at Online Banking
As the trends change, it is important that your financial institution prioritizes implementing the most up-to-date technologies and strategies for your industry. While in the past banks have been able to get away with sticking to the “old school” approach to finance, users today want fast, automated, and seamless digital experiences – especially when it comes to more unsavory banking tasks like refinancing your mortgage.
So, what does the digital landscape look for financial institutions in 2021? What tactics are on the rise, what strategies are just fads, and what trends are now the norm?
While digital is driving many experiences and purchasing decisions, users still want that sense of human interaction and individualized experience they receive while in a branch. A couple of ways that banks and credit unions can bring individualized experiences to their members on the web is through tactics like personalization, A/B testing, persona building, video banking, and more.
When you leverage customer data and personalize your website to fit the needs of those customers, your conversion rates will be higher, you will have a better ROI (return on investment) and will overall be meeting the needs of your members because you are giving them exactly what they want, where they want it.
When it comes to making sure your financial institution’s website is living up to expectations, you must have the common tools and modules that every bank or credit union has on its website. Users should be able to find the rates of a mortgage, learn about current interest rates, find branches and ATMs near them, and see what products are offered by that bank before they initiate any kind of transaction.
The many types of financial tools you offer will depend on customer needs, but a full suite will include calculators for mortgages and purchasing vehicles as well as investment tools like retirement savings options or savings accounts. You should also think about implementing an interactive FAQ section or glossary to help members better understand unfamiliar terminology they might come across when researching the best bank account for them.
If your competitors have interactive modules with valuable information that your website is lacking in, they are already capturing users' attention more efficiently than your site. Do not let your bank or credit unions site fall behind, implement the tools that will elevate your user experience and give them the essential information they need to purchase.
There is a lot of work and dollars that go into launching a new website or updating existing technologies on your site. A project of that magnitude can feel daunting and overwhelming, making it easy to put off for another week, month, or year. Unfortunately, the digital landscape does not wait for you to be comfortable for innovation to happen. The world of digital is constantly changing rapidly, and the financial industry needs to continue innovating at the same pace to keep up.
One of the most important aspects of a bank or credit union site is making sure you are on an advanced content management system (CMS) or digital experience platform (DXP) that is easy to manage internally and provides a seamless user experience for your customers. Not only is an advanced CMS the standard for the financial services industry, but it has also become the bare minimum for companies in any industry that want to compete in the digital landscape. If you're having trouble picking the right CMS for your bank or credit union, check out our whitepaper detailing the steps of choosing the perfect platform.
Once you have been on an advanced CMS or DXP for a while, there will come a day that your software is out of date and needs updates. Staying on top of these updates and auditing your website for broken links, slow loading speeds, and other roadblocks that will impact user’s experiences will lead to a better optimized and more advanced version of your financial website.
The financial industry has been under immense pressure to provide better customer service, more convenience, higher security, and greater overall transparency than ever before. Users want 24/7 mobile banking access, personalized advice on everything from retirement planning to student loans, seamless and secure money transfers between accounts, and even digital wallets for making contactless purchases at retail or online stores. Financial institutions need to ramp up their current technologies and strategies to better capture the attention of users in their industry. Users are not willing to wait until you catch up, these changes need to be made sooner rather than later.
Know you have a digital need and have no idea where to start? SilverTech works closely with the financial services industry and knows the tools you need for digital success. Contact us for a free digital audit of your website to get started.