We’re not saying that customers these days are lazy. Really, we’re not. But maybe, just maybe, they’re feeling a little entitled.
Okay. Maybe a lot entitled.
But really, you can’t blame them. As with every other aspect in today’s “get-it-now” society, customers want their transactional lives easy as pie: not just any pie, mind you, but one fed to them in a hammock right before a long nap. Turns out businesses are all too happy to oblige, as it puts them in a far better position to succeed.
So if your financial institution wants to increase the amount that customer deposit, and at the same time solicit business from new prospective clients, the best thing you can do is make it simple.
“Banks are in a great spot,” says Mike Kerins, founder and CEO of RobustWealth. “They have millions of customers and interact with them every day. And so if I’m sitting in their seat, I want to figure out how to leverage those interactions even more and make sure that someone else doesn’t come in and take those customers away.”
That involves creating tools that make banks and financial institutions run smoother—and delivering great mobile sites that give customers complete access to their accounts, no matter where they are. And in the age of big data, it also means knowing as much as you can about your customers so you’re ready to offer them a product, even before they know they need it.
To that end, fintechs offer a vast array of powerful tools. Banks, credit unions and other financial institutions can now:
gather information about their customers’ needs, browsing habits and life events
use it to help customers open accounts, transfer funds, apply for loans and mortgages
provide investment options, and
handle complicated transactions and loans with speed.
“Banking is a data-heavy industry, particularly with loan facilitation,” says Trevor Dryer, CEO and co-founder of Mirador Financial. “Banks that implement lengthy, paper-based applications miss out on opportunities for customer engagement. By partnering with lending platforms that utilize predictive analytics algorithms, banks can streamline the constant customer data mining and decisioning processes.” And that means faster loan completion, “opening up more time for customer engagement and retention and leading to increased deposits.”
Make it seamless as it seems
Kerins believes a good fintech solution offers customers an experience as seamless as when someone orders a new pair of sneakers on Amazon—cited again and again and again as the ecommerce gold standard all banks should aspire to follow. RobustWealth is designed to help banks and investment advisors integrate multiple platforms into one suite that includes billing, account management, investment portfolios and automated rebalancing.
“We enable banks to offer a variety of products digitally including investment solutions to their customers,” Kerins says. “It means that a bank can deepen that customer relationship by including investment solutions and financial advice planning—in addition to their traditional banking relationship—so others don’t come in and offer investment services instead.”
David Wallace, global financial services marketing manager at SAS, says fintech can utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning to anticipate what customers need in the digital banking age.
“AI and machine learning can help banks follow customers in their journeys using mobile and web banking apps,” Wallace says. “These insights can enrich the banking transaction data banks have traditionally analyzed to provide real-time context and insight into customer needs.”
With a 360-degree view of customers and their changing needs, “AI and machine learning can also predict the timing and the content of communications customers will perceive as helpful to their financial well-being, instead of traditional offers for products that the customer either already has or has told the bank they do not want or need,” Wallace says.
Happy customers means bigger deposits, Wallace says. “This positive experience makes it more likely that customers will stay with the bank, adopt additional products and services that grow deposits, and less likely they will move to other firms because of dissatisfaction.”
Even Financial, which focuses on connecting high-wealth customers with its network of clients, uses targeted editorial content on web portals such as The Penny Hoarder, says John Ventura, president of Even Financial. The company is currently testing products to attract depositers in money markets, high-yield accounts and CDs.
“We’ve been running and integrating our deposit offers with personal financial management platforms and applications,” Ventura says. “And in those environments we have the ability, in conjunction with those partners, to detect consumers who have large sums of money and have demonstrated a past need for finding a place to get the best returns.”
For Even, apps mean that “we can present that customer with a message that makes it clear they may want to place their money where they can earn higher interest,” he says. “And in that case, the customer will tap through and then see a number of different options to do that.”
The sweet spot for growing deposits, Kerins says, centers on anytime, anywhere, any-way customer interaction.
“Sometimes customers will log in because they have a financial problem or need investment advice and want to solve it online,” he says. “And other times they may want to chat with a banker.”
No matter the customer’s choice, “Banks are in an interesting spot because they have some things nobody else has,” Kerins says. “They have the customers. They have all these branches and offices. All they need is a couple more tools to enhance that relationship.”
And, of course, to keep it easy as pie—spoon-fed, bank-baked, anytime, anywhere pie.
Based in Maryland, Patrick Sanders is an assistant managing editor for U.S. News & World Report and formerly worked as an editor for The Associated Press and at newspapers in West Virginia, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Indiana.