In our modern, digital world, the financial landscape is evolving—and fast. Today’s money moves at the speed of the Internet, which means banking isn’t what it used to be.
As a financial institution, you may be aware of the importance of the quality of service that institutions need to offer through self-service channels. With hundreds of thousands of customers moving from larger financial institutions to smaller, more community-based institutions and vice-versa, the attention placed on institutions’ mobile and online banking capabilities has grown.
As consumers move, or consider moving, their banking relationship, they will be equating your convenient, self-service options to those of other financial institutions, and you will need to make sure you measure up in order to retain these new accountholders and lure those on the edge of making the transition.
While there are significant opportunities to spend money on solutions and services, we thought we would give you a few DIY efforts to help ensure you’re better equipped to support a growing and evolving self-service environment.
Audit your accountholders’ self-service touch points:
The number of ways your borrowers can interact with your institution has grown dramatically over the last several years. Without a clear understanding of all your touch points, you run the risk of letting a borrower interact with an environment that makes them feel abandoned. Areas to consider include your website, mobile applications, ATMs, social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+), and Interactive Voice Response (IVR). For each channel, identify your maturity in these environments by asking these questions:
1. Is there an identified owner?
Having clearly identified channel owners leaves no room for mistakes when it comes to who is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of each channel and implementing adjustments in alignment with business needs. The channel owner should be someone who has experience with that channel and is dedicated to continually refreshing the content so the communications are up-to-date and relevant to your borrowers.
2. Are there policies to support customer service through the channel?
This helps clearly communicate to your team what is acceptable messaging for each channel, and also identifies who can and cannot modify or post information. Having policies in place and enforcing them will help keep the information reflected through each channel appropriate and consistent with that channel’s purpose. For instance, (in most institutions) you wouldn’t want a teller or IT programmer posting information to your Facebook or YouTube account—those communications should only be posted by your marketing or public relations team to ensure the tone of the posting reflects your brand. By the same token, you wouldn’t want your marketing or public relations team to take payments over the phone or reprogram your mobile application, as those are not marketing or public relations responsibilities.
3. When was the last time a comprehensive review of each avenue was completed?
Continually reviewing the effectiveness of your self-service channels will save your institution time and money in the long run. If it’s been more than a year since your last review, it’s time to revisit to ensure that your user-experience is the best that it can be. Ongoing reviews are also a good tool for accountability, as it will be evident which channels need more dedicated support.
4. Are there utilities in place to measure the channels’ utilization?
Measuring your self-service channels’ utilization is another way of saving you time and money in the long run, as you’ll know which channels need your focus and attention. These quantifiable details will ensure your team is making educated decisions on your investments and recognizing the full potential of each channel. Without these details, you will be relying on ‘gut feel’ decisions and not understanding the payoff of your efforts.Review your audit with operations, marketing, and directors to determine needs
Your service representatives communicate with your borrowers the most, so get their feedback to help identify regularly reported concerns. If there are any other departments, such as marketing, public relations, etc., that have direct contact with your borrowers, have them contribute as well to ensure all the bases are covered.
Determine your approach for problem resolution
With the feedback from your audit, you can then move forward to formulate solutions and implement them. If, upon further review, the channel doesn’t offer the value you need, is still under-utilized, or the expense to address the issue becomes too high, you may determine that it’s time to eliminate the channel.
However, if you do eliminate a self-serve channel, let your customers know. You will want to let those users understand that a conscious decision has been made to do away with that method of self-service and provide them with alternative service methods.
Proactively interview your team for “noise” about self-service channels on an ongoing basis so that any issues can be resolved in a timely manner. As stated previously, ongoing review is key to ensuring that user experience is the best that it can be. These days, if you don’t fix something that a borrower perceives as a problem—even if it’s small—that could mean the difference between them staying with your institution or moving their funds elsewhere.
Also, continue to monitor channel usage because as time goes on, your borrowers will change the way they want to self-serve. You want to make sure that you are not wasting resources on a channel that has suddenly become under-utilized or obsolete. There are a number of free tracking tools available to give insight to utilization. So, take advantage of them and get a realistic view of your borrowers’ preferences and needs.
To conclude, we all know that times have changed—consumers are no longer as loyal to their financial institution, which means you must pay more attention to their expectations, needs, and wants in regard to self-service, in order to retain them. Whether your institution is small or large, ensure your self-serve channels stack-up to or exceed the social “norm” or you may risk losing the borrowers you’ve worked so hard to keep.
As SVP of Payments for SWBC’s Financial Institution Group, Jason is responsible for developing and launching new products and services that address financial institution needs and provide a myriad of benefits.