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By John Howard, director Video Collaboration, EMEA

Banks are facing a new and steep challenge from disruptive start-ups, unencumbered by old habits and behaviours and promising customers a new, digital-centric experience. Monzo, for example, had processed £20 million in transactions within the first year it had been founded, and before it even had a banking license. One of the key challenges banks are faced with today is making sure that they seem relevant to the growing digitally savvy customer base.

John Howard

John Howard

Banks must ensure the customer experience aligns with the habits of a modern millennial consumer. This is an audience that doesn’t use its phone for voice calls, but for video messaging and calling, for richer engagements. The proliferation of quality high-definition video and affordable video conferencing solutions is providing an opportunity for banks to shift the way they communicate. Video can help to build a positive relationship with the customer that’s built on trust, ensuring that the benefits of a relationship are mutual between the provider and client.

The new way to communicate

Financial institutions need to become more innovative with their communication if they are to continue to attract and retain their customers. Fortunately, advances in both mobile and broadband data speeds, increased affordability, and developments in video collaboration hardware and software have made the video experience a much more powerful tool for customer service.

Research by Efma and Vidyo found that 70% of customers prefer video banking on mobiles and desktops over making the journey to a branch, or even simple account and balance enquiries in person at an ATM. Further to this, the same research found that 60% of those surveyed thought private banking, wealth management, mortgage and loan services were ‘best suited’ for video banking. In the UK Barclays famously established a video consultation service for its premier account holders in 2014, a move that distinguished itself from competitors within the premium banking sector. Video is also widely used in the investment banking sector, to communicate with international clients.

Leading the pack

In the same way that consumers expect to be able to browse and watch the latest films from the comfort of their own home, they also want to browse, be consulted on, and select the best financial products to suit their needs – all without leaving the sofa. Indeed, a recent McKinsey report found that 58 percent of Europeans and 52 percent of North Americans prefer digital to branch-based transactions

Two other major players taking advantage of video communication are Lloyds Bank and Halifax. Customers can now choose to receive virtual face-to-face mortgage advice simply through connecting to the banks’ video links. Similarly, Nationwide Building Society has taken a leap forward by video-enabling their branches, so advisors can offer video based mortgage consultations to their customers, whenever and wherever they are.

Across the Atlantic, BluCurrent has rolled out a video consultation service to their customers, which can be used for processes as simple as opening new accounts. The addition of this service has added appeal to younger generations, attracting new customers to a bank that traditionally services older age groups.

Interest in video is rapidly increasing as high street banks close unprofitable branches and consumers bank while at home or on the move. For financial service providers that need to close local branches as high street traffic to them dwindles, video is a sensible and popular way to ensure customers are able to have a more intimate customer experience. This remains of value to customers, particularly when dealing with complicated transactions, or sensitive conversations where privacy is of the up most importance. Video enables advisors to reassure customers and maintain their trust, when they call in from a location of their choosing.

My takeaway

By investing in video, providers will be able to improve the quality of their customer experience and boost satisfaction levels. There are three key places where video adds value and helps you to achieve these outcomes:

  1. Anytime, anywhere: Save the expense of travel while retaining the personal connection of face-to-face communication; your specialist advisors can be available to your entire customer base without time and cost wasted commuting
    2.Goodbye to the queue: By removing the necessity to visit a branch you’ll reduce waiting times– allowing customers to bank more conveniently
    3.Personal consultation: The customer relationship (B2C or B2B) relies on having a solid, honest and personable conversations. Video enables you to maintain and build customer intimacy more effectively than phone or digital based engagements

Final thoughts

Video will become an integral part of banks’ communications strategies. It empowers both employees and customers to take matters into their own hands, making banking efficient and easy. Developments in HD video conferencing and sound systems will embolden more companies to explore their options, and encourage them to innovate their communication channels to ensure they keep in step with the demands of the next generation of customers.

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