Are financial service organizations’ response in this crisis passing the digital reality check?

  • Alex Jimenez
  • April 02, 2020

According to Javelin Research, half of North American banking customers turn to branches, ATMs, and call centers regularly. As banks and credit unions try to respond to the current crisis, they have dusted off their usual marketing messaging about the benefits of digital banking and are trying to funnel their customers to their existing digital offerings. Is this working?

Today, we were able to attend a webinar from Javelin Research examining this question. Jacob Jegher and Emmett Higdon walked us through what they are hearing from their clients. Much of what they covered matches what Extractable is also hearing from our clients and the industry in general.

The marketing messages we’re seeing from Financial Services center around all of the capabilities that digital banking offers. That approach is the same that has been used by a majority of FIs introducing and re-introducing their digital capabilities in the past. An approach that seems to be working better is to focus on the specific use cases that the FI offers when replacing an activity not available during the crisis, for example mobile deposit capture. The message should also set specific expectations, particularly if they are not well spelled out in the highlighted process. In the case of mobile deposit capture, offering the functionality but not referring to specific existing limits might discourage a new mobile banking user from ever using the functionality again.

The importance of simplicity driven from a good understanding of the customer’s experience, is coming to the forefront as less-digitally savvy customers try to use digital offerings. A quick review of a bank’s social media responses shows that many FIs are struggling with this problem. Customers have excused digital experiences that aren’t optimized because either they figured it out on their own or they have another way to perform it using a different channel. As person-to-person channels are not available or overwhelmed, as in the case of many call centers, customers are frustrated by experiences that haven’t been well thought out.

As FIs realize that their current digital experiences aren’t appropriate for a remote majority, it is time to begin considering the use of design thinking. Anyone that attends FI conferences regularly can tell you that the industry talks a lot about customer experience design. However, it is a minority of FIs that take the time to truly apply design thinking. Few organizations have spent the time to talk to their customers about their digital experience expectations. Fewer still can tell you about the personas and customer journeys they design their digital experiences around. Javelin highlighted some specific experiences that seem to be well thought out, like US Bank’s transfer functionality and Bank of America’s mobile deposit process.

While banking executives struggle working from home, they should be thinking about tooling their organizations better. We all hope that the current situation won’t happen again. However, the future of banking is in digital and if we don’t start investing appropriately in customer-centered digital experiences many of these organizations will not survive in the long-term.

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