In recent years, national and regional banks alike have focused on improving the customer experience of individual consumers, wealth management clients, small businesses and corporations. This includes account onboarding, which has historically been a cumbersome and annoying process for both sides.
Initially, banks focused their energies on digitalizing just their marketing efforts, which enabled potential customers to explore bank products before applying for them. But that’s where it stopped. This should be the beginning of sales, but most banks require customers to visit a branch in order to open an account. After opening an account, the client can then access the digital services such as chatbots, intelligent virtual assistants, etc.
It is the part in the middle that converts someone from a prospect into a customer. This has not been the main focus of banks for the past few years, however. This needs to change, or banks will lose customers to competitors.
It’s not surprising that the biggest gains have been made by national banks. However, while regional and community banks have not seen the same success, they are starting to make progress in enhancing and streamlining the fintech needed to improve customer experience. Large banks have already shown that combining digital capabilities with a physical presence in customer acquisition is crucial. Some community banks are now working to digitize onboarding processes for new customers. They realize how important it is to combine their branch strategies with strong digital capabilities.
The gap between what small banks should do and what big banks are already doing is still sizeable. Local banks must have digital sales and digital onboarding if they want to be competitive. This is not a luxury, nor the future of fintech. Fintech is here, and it’s already something financial services clients are expecting (especially younger generations of customers). Mobile banking is now as common as online banking. All banks, even small local ones, must work harder to make mobile banking seamless.
Many banks, for example, have combined several applications into one application so that customers can provide their information once instead of multiple times. Banks have made it much easier for customers to obtain the products they desire in a simpler and quicker process. The result: Happier customers.
The business banking process is more complicated than that of consumer banking. There are many elements, such as multiple accounts and higher domestic and international wire usage, multiple users and multiple roles, and more stringent security and compliance requirements. The bank must do a more thorough job of screening the business and customer. This requires more staff and paperwork. However, the profitability of business banking customers is higher than that of a basic personal account.
Banks can offer tech-savvy business owners an easier experience. This demonstrates digital competence that strengthens customer trust and allows them to save on their relationship manager costs. Banks have a unique opportunity to stand out from the crowd by focusing on small business. Those that embrace emerging technology and the latest customer service demands will be well equipped to succeed in banking into the next decades.