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Much has been written about how banks large and small have been caught flat-footed in the face of the digital disruptions taking place in the financial industry. On the bright side, a recent Accenture study concludes that, “Forward-thinking banks are differentiating themselves through continuous innovation such as beginning the digital journey, developing convenient mobile banking solutions and connecting with entirely new customer segments. None of this was even a thought just five years ago. This is an industry that’s on the move.”

One thing is clear—simply offering online banking options or the ability to embed a PDF of a statement into an email does not constitute a digital customer communications strategy. Customers want (and expect) more. True digital bankers will have the capacity to follow their customers along their financial and increasingly digital journey, developing new touch points and digital offerings along the way.

Mobile has changed the landscape

92% of people from the USA between 18-29 years old use a smartphone, 88% of those between 30 and 49.

Mobile is driving this trend and desire for instant access to all services, not just account transactions. For example, the Accenture study cites mBank of Poland’s Quick Loan program that allows customers to request a loan online or on a mobile device and receive a response approving or declining the loan from mBank within 30 seconds. Differentiation will require innovative capabilities like Quick Loan, including:

  • Mobile onboarding and account opening
  • E-signature applications that align with customer communication management systems
  • Single capture of customer information that populates and updates all relevant systems, and
  • The creation of dynamic (versus static) communications for customer statements and other communications, enabling the customer to create custom views and engage with videos as well as interactive charts and graphs.

All of this highlights the shift taking place in the banking customer experience from a transaction-centric focus to a value-added focus.

Moving beyond multichannel 

Today’s banking customers no longer have a mere preference for multichannel interaction with their bank, it is an expectation. Moreover, beyond the expectation for multichannel, customers really want an omnichannel experience—for example, allowing them to begin a transaction on their smartphone and pick up the interaction on their PC. Banks need to leverage the latest technologies for responsive design that deliver a seamless, consistent online experience regardless of the channel the customer happens to choose. Delivering anything less will undermine customer loyalty.

Mining data for a personalized experience

Accenture aptly observes that “…banks have a wealth of customer data to guide them in shaping the next generation of customer experiences.” However, another Accenture study notes that while a majority of bank customers would like their bank to proactively recommend products and services that match their financial needs, they see a disconnect between the traditional and digital experiences they receive.

Putting a Customer Communications Management (CCM) strategy in place that enables business users to easily leverage customer data will support your bank’s efforts to forge lasting, multi-layered relationships with customers through highly personalized and targeted communications delivered over digital or print channels. Implementing a CCM strategy of this kind will reduce confusion and service calls, promote education and build loyalty. Costs are reduced by eliminating the need to develop separate communications packages.

With a recent survey commissioned by GMC Software Technology showing that 72 percent of banking customers want to request the format in which they receive information from their bank, along with 48 percent of them feeling their bank doesn’t value them, it is critical for banks to have modern, responsive customer communications capabilities that make them a partner in their customers’ digital lives.

Differentiation in today’s competitive environment is a question of what you do to meet customer expectations, as well as how quickly you can do it. Communicating as a true digital banker with customers who move at the speed of light means finding solutions that make it easy to transform valuable customer data into relevant, personalized digital communications.

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