It’s estimated that 3 in 5 financial institutions have recently gone through a digital banking conversion or will in the next 18 months. While there are endless resources outlining the planning, and implementation from a technical perspective, what is often underestimated is the impact on your customers and staff.
We recently talked to a Credit Union in the process of a digital banking conversion and when we asked what their support plan was they responded “Our vendor provides 2 weeks of call center support.” That was their whole strategy – let a 3rd party handle all of the member inquiries… for 2 weeks and then it was back to normal. Something tells us that conversion will not go smoothly.
Sadly, this is the mentality we are hearing over and over from banking executives – that technology is the silver bullet to solving all of the industries challenges. And yet there is data that shows 2 of the top 3 reasons that customers switch financial institutions – customer experience. Executives are focused on costs and execution, when they should also be considering the reputational damage a rough conversion can have. Digital banking conversions are hugely disruptive events for your customers and employees, ones that have the chance of being full blown disasters if not properly planned for (loss of customer and employees).
Here are 5 ways to ensure a successful digital banking conversion:
#1 – Recognize this is not just an IT project
While your IT team will be responsible for the technical implementation, this needs to be a coordinated effort across departments and disciplines. It should include team members from the contact center, branch / customer experience, and marketing. The output needs to be not only a comprehensive communication strategy, but also a robust outline that clearly documents all of the changes that both customers and employees will experience. This becomes your internal and external communication roadmap – the outline for what marketing messaging and what support, FAQs and how-to content needs to be developed. Don’t forget to include both your customers and employees – Which leads us to…
#2 – View this as a massive onboarding project
Your customers did not ask for this – you just moved their cheese and for most, it’s not something they are going to be happy about. This is why you need to view this as a massive and exciting onboarding project for both your customers and employees. It starts with smaller notices that explain what is happening and why (aka what’s in for them) and when. As the date gets closer, you need to clearly state the impact (on the 1st at 12:00 p.m. our digital banking is switching to XYZ) and more importantly, what they need to do (download the new app, register etc). This message needs to be consistent, helpful and perceived as a huge value add that will be easy (or at least worth the effort). But do that, you need to….
#3 – Centralize your content, resources and FAQs
The biggest challenge with onboarding projects is deploying consistent content that crosses departments and is actually usable (aka remove the financial jargon, fluff, andjust make it understandable). Marketing can generate the messages outlining the what, why and when, but when it comes to the how, typically that is handled by another department (aka the step-by-step instructions with screenshots and videos). To create an effective experience, all of this content not only needs to work together, it needs to be housed in a centralized knowledge base that can be deployed across channels consistently. You do that so you can…
#4 – Deploy across all customer touchpoints and channels
Today’s banking customers have different preferences and ways that they expect you to communicate with them. While some prefer email, some prefer social media, some prefer texting and others prefer mailings. So that means that you need to deploy your conversion messaging and support content across social media, website, email, direct mail, in-branch, and outbound calls. Or at least use those channels to drive them back to robust Support Centers that centralize all of the content in one, easy-to-consume area. And don’t forget about your employee channels…
#5 – Don’t forget about your employees
Employees fear and dread digital banking conversions. They spend months preparing and worrying about the impending call volumes and customer visits, most which will not be pleasant. In addition to a well-executed customer onboarding strategy, you need a well designed and executed employee onboarding strategy. This means not only proper communication, but easy-to-access and reference cheat sheets, guides and resources. They also need to be able to provide real-time feedback as to unanticipated questions, which instructions are not elaborate enough and which need more information. They need to feel heard and they need the tools to do their jobs.
In today’s day in age, it’s almost inevitable that your institutions will go through a digital banking conversion within the next 12 to 18 months. You can roll the dice with a “2 week vendor support contract” or you make a high-risk event a positive for your institution. Be champion and choose the latter.