Delivering a Great Customer Experience in a Digital-First World
Twenty months ago, in the blink of an eye, the world of financial services changed. And, as the current health crisis has continued, consumer habits and behavior have also permanently changed. With clients reinventing how to best engage customers, our conversations and work across the industry has coalesced around one, central question: how do we continue to deliver great customer experiences in what is now a digital-first world?
Dramatic Increase in Digital Channel Usage
As the leading provider of digital channel solutions to credit unions and banks, Leadfusion is privileged to have had a front row seat from which to observe and measure changing customer behavior in real-time. We saw traffic to our platform in 2020 increase by 107% over 2019. Evidence that digital is now the primary channel of preference was further confirmed in September, when traffic was up an additional 24% over elevated September 2020 levels.
A tale of two Americas seems to have emerged, with activity split between those living in the moment and others concerned about the future. The Mortgage and Auto categories saw outsized increases at one end of the spectrum, while interest in Budgeting, Savings, and Retirement tools clearly were the focus of those looking to shore up their financial position.
Key Elements of a Great Digital Customer Experience
With customers not returning to the branch and digital having gained a prominence that will not be surrendered, how are FI’s reimagining the customer experience? Here are three key elements that were foundational to our work over the past twelve months.
- Make It Personal. A personalized digital channel experience need not necessarily greet you by name or know your geography by referencing your IP address. Presenting a relevant solution in a time of need is, however, highly personal. For example, several of our clients worked with us to deploy skip-a-pay and emergency loan solutions for digital self-service when their contact centers could not keep up with the volume of inbound calls.
- Seamless and Integrated Across Channels. Knowing that your customers are engaging with you across channels, devices, and moments in time means thinking about how best to make that experience seamless and integrated. Ensuring that customer self-service work executed in the digital channel was available for review and discussion with a banker in the physical channel was a key focus in 2021 for our clients. And since banking is ultimately a P2P (person-2-person) experience, showing bankers’ photos and connecting digital channel users to real people as a CTA was a timely reinvention of the branch locator.
- Reduce Friction for the Customer. While this has been a common theme for several years as digital has gained ground, making things easier for the customer and on the customer’s terms rose significantly in importance. A customer journey that meets the customer where they are and is alternatively deep or shallow, depending on need, is the new table stakes. Admittedly, we’re finance geeks and are fond of calculating our own back-end and front-end ratios to assess affordability. In the next moment, however, we want a quick way to compare auto loans, view monthly payments, and apply. In 2021, designing flexible journeys that accommodated users across a broader spectrum gained in importance.
You Don’t Have to Out-Branch Your Competitors
In the past 20 months we’ve seen a remarkable shift in customer behavior that is now permanent. Digital is the primary channel, and channel of choice, for small businesses and consumers. In April 2019 an article in Forbes predicted that branches would not go away, but rather be reinvented as places where financial advice was provided. And branches also had a dual role and were important as brand billboards, prominent signage in key areas to draw in new customers and deposits. Of course, the author could not have foreseen COVID coming just around the corner in 2020. A better digital experience is the new differentiator in financial services. You no longer need to out-branch your competitors, you just need to deliver a great digital channel experience.
Leadfusion is the acknowledged expert in digital pre-sales journeys for financial services. Let us help you as you work on reinventing your digital channel experience in 2022.