A Blended Approach to Digital Banking
Technology has significantly impacted the banking industry for the last couple of decades with advancements like online banking platforms to artificial intelligence (AI) or interactive teller machines (ITMs). As COVID-19 spread across the globe this year, adoption rates for digital banking solutions skyrocketed. The pandemic urged financial institutions to act on their digital transformation agendas. But even after the pandemic ends, according to the J.D. Power Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, one-third of retail banking customers plan to increase their use of online and mobile banking services post COVID-19. Banks must consider how to maintain relationships with their consumers while meeting their expectations for digital experiences.
Digital Adopting is Occurring But There is Room for Growth
Today, especially now that consumers are gaining more familiarity with relying more heavily on digital banking technology during the global pandemic, expectations for those digital interactions are increasing. Where digital banking was merely one of many options consumers had to communicate with their bank in the past, COVID-19 has pushed digital communications to the forefront of the customer experience. Similar to how restaurants or retail stores ramped up activity for curbside pick-up, digital banking adoption has increased this year and will continue to keep increasing even post pandemic. As a result, the need for seamless, frictionless digital banking solutions has become critical as consumers continue to minimize their in-branch experiences yet still expect a high level of service.
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The industry has seen a surge of digital adoption across banks of all sizes. And although customers have displayed a willingness to shift to more digital activity, the pandemic has highlighted gaps in the industry’s consumer engagement. A 2018 McKinsey study analyzed a sample of U.S. financial institutions regarding performance on customer satisfaction. The study found that organizations are good at what is less important, yet the industry underperforms with satisfying customers for the two journeys that matter the most – using a product and resolving problems. The issues that matter the most to consumers are more complex and require processes with a variety of skill sets involving different humans.
People Want to Bank with People
Despite the acceleration of digital transformation due to COVID-19, uncertainties still exist in consumer willingness to adopt an all or nothing approach to digital banking. Though digital banking is sure to stay for the years ahead, it is only one piece of the puzzle to ensuring consumer satisfaction. As the adoption of digital banking increases, humans will remain as the key to driving positive consumer experiences – as consumers rely on digital banking to accomplish more complex matters, such as loan origination or commercial banking.
Despite advancements in technology and the current surge in the need for digital interactions spurred by the pandemic, people still want to bank with people – even if that communication happens to take place digitally. Consumers expect more when it comes to complex transactions and for things like advice and financial security and expertise, topics that are difficult for even the most advanced artificial intelligence (AI) or chatbots to deliver excellent customer service for.
Digital banking solutions like video banking provide a great opportunity for consumers to bank digitally while still connecting with a live human bank representative who can assist them with more advanced tasks. There is a propensity for human beings to be more present when communicating face to face, even if it is through a digital experience over video. Financial institutions adopting digital banking strategies should consider what role their human representatives still need to play for a positive customer experience moving forward.
Digital Banking with a Division of Labor
As digital banking continues to become commonplace both during and after the pandemic, banks are faced with challenging decisions on how to successfully weave humans into the new technology that is being adopted. The future of an enhanced customer experience will be a mix of serving customers both in-person and virtually. Banks will take advantage of skills-based routing and AI/chatbot technology to handle low-level customer service items and let human beings talk to customers about the items that really matter to them – things that are more complex, like applying for a mortgage or checking in with a commercial banker.
Although AI/chatbot technology is a critical piece to a bank’s overall digital communications strategy, a division of labor between the technology and the human resources at a bank results in the most effective customer experience.