Helping passive banking customers become active

Personalized recommendations that inspire customer enthusiasm can launch a rewarding life-long financial partnership.

Increased use of digital banking, coupled with the reality that people just don’t visit bank branches the way they used to, has made it more challenging than ever for financial institutions to deliver personalized customer interactions.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that these conditions have increased consumers’ tolerance for impersonal service. With awareness of emerging technology at an all-time high, consumer expectations for highly personalized online service have increased. Consumers expect their institutions to replace vanishing in-branch interactions with digital interactions that feel just as relevant, genuine and personal.

Healthy long-term banking relationships begin with a personalized online account opening experience—one that offers insights and recommendations for products and services that fit customers’ unique financial needs. Many consumers lack a deep understanding of the financial products and services that are available; in fact, research shows that without guidance from banks, most new customers don’t choose the most appropriate products.

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Meet Charidy and Thomas

Charidy and Thomas are newlyweds with a great life plan.

Business owners, they earn above the average household income and have high balances in checking and savings accounts. Their plans include buying a home, starting a family and preparing to retire comfortably. They don’t know much about financial planning, but they’re interested in learning more.

Without assistance in selecting products and services, however, Charidy and Thomas are unlikely to take full advantage of the benefits available to them. Many others share the same disadvantage.

By simply asking a few basic questions about financial goals during an online account opening experience, institutions can obtain all the information they need to make effective, personalized product recommendations. With the help of guided product selection, new customers choose the appropriate products a high percentage of the time.

Using intuitive digital dialogues, it takes just a few minutes to learn not only about Charidy and Thomas’s current needs, but also about their future personal and financial goals. This initial digital conversation provides the information needed to recommend the best products based on their current financial situation. It also offers insights and timing for future engagement opportunities designed to support every stage of their financial journey.

Turn passive users into active engagers

A key trend in tech is to allow users to choose their own adventure. By redesigning digital experiences with new models, providers can turn passive audiences into active participants by “transforming one-way experiences into true collaborations.”

One of the best ways to increase customer engagement is to provide customers like Charidy and Thomas with information and tools to help them reach their financial goals. From a how-to video on improving credit scores to an online class on saving for a home, the tools you offer will motivate customers to seek more of your services within those sectors.

Offering tools also encourages customers to think of you as a valuable resource and inspires them to reach out about other options. These initial conversations can lead to revenue creation, because you’re providing answers to questions about how to reach their goals. Even if they’re not ready to commit today, knowing their future needs will enable you to start that conversation at just the right time.

Continued online and offline engagement with customers gives you the predictive capabilities you need to help them reach their goals and diagnose problems and challenges along their consumer journey. In doing so, you win their trust, loyalty and respect.

Consumers are passionate about maintaining financial wellness as their lives change and evolve. Financial institutions that don’t provide the digital tools and platform to automate, simplify and satisfy growing demand for 24/7, year-round personalized service risk losing customers to institutions that do.

Getting and keeping their attention comes down to reinventing the online account opening experience. Ideally, that experience is the start of a lengthy journey that allows you to reach them at key moments with advice that boosts their confidence and facilitates their decision-making.

Financial institutions that use online technology to engage customers, support their values and priorities, assist them in building and preserving wealth responsibly, and help them meet their goals at every life stage create strong professional and personal relationships that last a lifetime.

Learn from industry leaders and understand best practices with the insights shared in the BAI Executive Report, “The changing intersection of banking and technology.”

Stephenie Williams is vice president, financial institution marketing product and strategy for Vericast.