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How Banks Can Stay More Connected Like Amazon

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If consumers can get constant access to services and purchase through their computers, mobile devices and smart home technology, it follows that they would expect a similar level of connectivity (for service, advice and purchases) from their financial institutions. Most of the time, self-service on-demand is more convenient because it’s on the customer’s terms. It’s not a “Millennial thing.” It’s now the primary way the purchasing process begins, if not finishes. According to a recent study by Ellie Mae, 92% of all home borrowers research online before applying.  

So what can GonzoBankers do to keep up? Here are six ways financial institutions can prepare to better connect with customers who are nearly all digital-first now.

  1. Reorganize around the entire customer buying process by consolidating sales, marketing and service, instead of organizing by departments and product lines.
  2. Rework management accounting and resource allocations to reflect real production value instead of traditional profits and losses, which often treat marketing, contact centers and information technology as cost centers.
  3. Deploy strategic delivery plans—aligning with strategic or tech plans—that may start with a journey-mapping exercise. When done right, this can result in visual delivery roadmaps with milestones, and internal champions and working groups that bring needed attention to progress.
  4. Switch out sales pitch-oriented collateral with interactive and compelling information to drive self-buying. This could be in the form of in-depth staff training and certification, staffing smarter contact center representatives, smarter mobile apps and websites, financial education, webinars about cash management, videos or blogs.
  5. Focus on digital marketing and social media, supplemented with physical outreach to drive digital, such as enhanced contact centers, bank-at-work programs, trade shows, art exhibits and other outreach. According to Cornerstone Advisors research, digital account opening is the leading technology being replaced right now. About one-third of community banks are planning to add or replace this technology.
  6. Consider fintech partnerships that offer digital delivery. Smart banks are holding these new talents, tool vendors and fintechs accountable to specific revenue-driving projects instead of treating them as cost centers.

Excerpted from Sam’s contribution to How banks can follow Amazon’s strategy of constant connection, Independent Banker, March 1, 2019

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