By Nick Barnes, Practice Director, Financial Services & Customer Success at JRNI
Digital transformation and digital banking has become the core focus for banks and building societies. While digital banking was a substantial part of many strategies prior to the pandemic, the necessity to deliver these offerings happened at an accelerated rate. So, now digital banking and services aren’t only a nice to have, they’re a must. During the past year, consumers moved dramatically towards online channels and this behaviour looks to be here for the long haul. The transition to experiences, and a more adaptable, virtual world was already happening – but the pandemic made it happen that much faster.
As many companies have adapted their work policies to not only work from home, but work from anywhere, many customers now want to do business from anywhere. That means many bank customers want to bank from anywhere – and expect to. Let’s take a look at what banking from anywhere means, how it empowers customers, and what technology banks need to consider to enable banking from anywhere.
The empowered customer
The basic need for banking services has not changed. People still need to deposit a cheque, open a new account, get a new debit card, refinance their homes, and more. What has changed is the way technology enables customers and members to do these services on their terms, and the empowered customer wants convenience, simplicity, and options.
With flexible appointment modes from virtual technologies, customers can access the services they need anytime, anywhere, via any device, and this is exactly what the empowered, hybrid customer expects.
Physical branches aren’t going away
So what does this mean for physical branch locations? There will always be customers who prefer to bank in-person. In fact, phone and branch-level customer service still rank high in importance at banks and building societies. People value in-person, human-to-human connections when it comes to issues as personal as money. That’s why physical branch locations are embracing hybrid strategies, supplementing branches with digital offerings, including remote video- and voice-based appointments.
And according to a recent survey, 73% of customers still prefer in-person interaction when receiving financial advice. So, while there might be less dependence on physical branches moving forward, they are still an important part of a bank’s business.
Embrace technology to enable banking from anywhere
How can banks embrace technology to make banking from anywhere an option for customers? How can they provide personalisation at scale – across multiple branches, staff members, and time zones? That’s where appointment scheduling technology comes in. It gives customers an unmatched level of service and the personalisation that keeps them coming back for more. Additionally, virtual queuing and capacity management can help branch staff manage waiting areas while simultaneously improving the customer experience.
Appointment scheduling was already used by eight of the 10 largest banks prior to the pandemic, and now many are seeing additional value from appointment scheduling software. Appointment scheduling helps run a safe and efficient business, reach a broader audience, and provide the unique, personalised experience customers want and need.
There is a slew of appointment scheduling use cases for financial institutions, and many ways to provide memorable experiences, but a couple worth mentioning are:
- Mortgage appointments: Video appointments have been a huge innovation for the mortgage market as advisors can now share documents online and customers can sign documents while on a video call. This makes the entire process more flexible and efficient.
- Wealth management appointments: According to Accenture, the trend is heading to a blend of face-to-face and remote interactions to provide more personalised and higher value interventions with advisors. Through one-to-one, personalised in-person and remote appointments, there are many opportunities for wealth management advisors.
- Dispute resolution: Nothing unnerves a customer like an unsubstantiated charge, an overdue credit or the potential of fraud, and offering the ability to reach out to a human can make or break the situation.
Additionally, with virtual appointments, there is the benefit of providing services during non-traditional hours. The after-hours availability could be the difference between a loyal customer or having them choose a competitor. Additionally, having more convenient hours and ways to connect with customers opens up doors to more socio-economic groups.
Another way banks and building societies can significantly improve the customer experience is through waiting room or lobby management. Virtual queuing and capacity management technologies are helping banks do this at scale.
With virtual queuing, customers and members have the choice to go online, check in, and be notified regardless of their location when it is time for their appointment or to meet with a staff member. And capacity management can be used to set a limit, manage walk-ins at peak times, and ensure there is enough space and distance in bank entrances and waiting areas.
Technology considerations for financial institutions
While appointment booking may seem simple, it’s complex, especially for the financial services industry. There are many technology considerations from accessibility to security compliance. Here are four main considerations for financial institutions:
Finding a technology solution that is accessible to all customers is critical. Along with the UK Disability Discrimination Act and internationally-recognized WCAG 2.1 guidelines, being accessible for customers across all digital entities, including software vendors, matters. So find a technology partner that prioritises accessibility and is dedicated to keeping up with the ever-changing guidelines and regulations.
Data breach costs are among the highest in the financial services industry. Finding a technology partner that goes above and beyond to ensure security is a must. From GDPR to ISO and more, strict information security policies should protect both the bank and customers.
The digital transformation of banking and financial services is becoming increasingly important – and data is at the core of this transformation. Utilising analytics allows financial institutions to make critical business decisions that drive growth. Having an enterprise appointment scheduling solution that puts data at the forefront is key.
Integrations: Microsoft Office 365
Did you know that the financial services industry has the highest usage of Office 365? Ensuring a technology partner can integrate seamlessly with Office 365 is crucial. This will ensure all employees can use any new scheduling technology solution with ease to increase productivity across the business.
Leading banks are seeing value
Appointment scheduling software is providing leading banks value in everything from reduced wait times to optimising their workforce. In fact, leading banks have seen some of the following benefits:
- 50% decrease in wait times
- 63% improvement in no-show rate
- 40% better utilisation of staff
- Doubled appointments while cutting branch numbers in half
So, as we look to the future, it is important to embrace digital transformation and technology like bank scheduling software to exceed customers’ expectations. Giving customers the option to do business on their terms and with expert guidance, will lead the way to improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.