Banks must expand hybrid banking options to survive

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When you think of the financial services industry, “soft” is not a word that usually occurs to me. With strict regulations, policies and underwriting rules, banks often cannot adapt to customer demands and wants as easily as they would like. But being able to do so, especially when it comes to knowing where, when and how consumers want to interact, is becoming increasingly critical.

Why? Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 has prompted a significant number of people to want to limit social contact in public places for the time being.

In addition, the expanding experience economy is conditioning consumers to expect more from their banks. They are drawn to institutions that offer good customer experiences and shy away from those that don’t. Online reviews and social media posts make it easy for consumers to spot good or bad customer experiences.

Additionally, the rise of remote working has shown consumers that it is possible to meet anyone almost anytime via video dating without the hassle of driving time, traffic, queues. waiting and waiting in the halls. However, while some clients will prefer to meet the staff online, others will always prefer to meet in person.

To delve deeper into consumer preferences, JRNI surveyed more than 500 clients of U.S. financial institutions to learn more about their attitudes and needs when it comes to interacting with their bank. What he found is that while banks are seeing a decline in branch visits, overall interactions, whether in person or online, are still key to delivering great experiences and building brand loyalty.

Communication and convenience options are essential

The results clearly showed that banks need to expand their communication and convenience options, including the ability for customers to meet at a branch, online or via live chat, depending on their specific preferences. Respondents noted:

  • Many have struggled to interact with their bank over the past six months. 33% found it difficult to talk to the right person at their facility.
  • 45% would prefer to meet an agent in person versus 34% who prefer a video meeting.
  • But consumers want the option of video dating. 77% would prefer to go completely remote. But face-to-face dates aren’t going away, as 23% say they still want the option of going to a physical bank branch.
  • Bad service was the number one reason customers left their bank. Other top reasons people consider switching institutions include poor customer service, a poor online banking experience, and an insufficient number of physical branches.
  • Additionally, inflexible hours will drive some consumers away, with 39% considering switching to a bank with more flexible service hours.

It all comes down to being flexible and accommodating. Banks need to offer flexibility so that customers can decide what is best for them when it comes to their interactions.

Online or in-person preferences

For example, respondents noted that online chat and online banking add value, with 68% wanting to use a live chat option to speak with an agent from their institution’s website. Women in particular want to chat online, with women almost twice as likely as men to want to interact via chat. And high-income consumers (over $ 110,000) are 13% more likely to want online banking.

Although online banking is clearly important, bank customers still want to see a variety of staff face to face, preferring in particular that cashiers, loan processors, mortgage advisors, financial advisors investment, relationship managers, loan officers and wealth managers are available to meet in person. The same group has indicated that it wants access to credit analysts by video.

Research has shown that different types of services require different types of interaction. The main reasons consumers want to bank online are dealing with check payment issues, overdraft services, credit card issues, and debit card issues. However, customers want to go to a branch for loans, including mortgages, home equity loans, small business loans, and commercial real estate loans. The similarity between these types of transactions lies in the many options available and the desire to chat with an expert.

Customer satisfaction through adaptability

Businesses that want to count strive to improve the experiences they deliver, and customers are conditioned to expect more from businesses in return for their loyalty. Large banks recognize that providing flexibility to their customers is critical to improving their experience.

Agency appointments are not disappearing, and neither are video appointments. Data shows that banks that make it easy for their customers to do their banking the way they want, including scheduling appointments and meetings the way they want, will attract more customers, keep their existing customers, and offer experiences that fuel growth and loyalty.


Author: Nick Barnes, Practice Director, Financial Services at JRNI


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