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How banks can keep customers at the forefront during digital transformation

How banks can keep customers at the forefront during digital transformation 3

How banks can keep customers at the forefront during digital transformation 4By Amanda Beesley, MD Financial Services & Insurance Division at Paragon Customer Communications

The pandemic accelerated digital transformation across all industries, but for financial services in particular it catalysed widespread change to how services are offered and accessed.

In January 2022, 14 million people in the UK – that’s 27% of all British adults – held accounts with digital-only banks. It’s no surprise that traditional banks have been investing their resources in evolving to meet customers’ changing needs. Between them, Lloyds, HSBC, and NatWest Group have announced the closure of 161 branches in the second half of 2022 in an effort to do just this. Ironically, it is often the case that investments of this scale can distract from other key areas which add customer value.

Avoiding tunnel vision 

When embarking on major transformation projects there is always the possibility of tunnel vision. Businesses can get so invested in their largest transformational leaps that it becomes easy to miss out on the small steps that will bring customer value.

Mobile banking offers unparalleled convenience and accessibility to customers. Yet, it isn’t the only option – treating it as such can have negative consequences for businesses and users alike. Millennials constitute an influential and increasingly powerful consumer demographic, while Gen Z is also on the rise as a key demographic for your business to adapt to.

While Gen Z in particular has never known a life without digital banking and other online-only services, there are still many people who have never adopted these processes. You need to make sure that your business doesn’t change too fast for less tech-savvy users to keep up.

How omnichannel communication caters for all demographics

While it makes sense to take the preferences of influential consumers into account, focusing too much on one demographic has its downsides for banks and financial services. Fundamentally, you need to make sure that your customer communications shows that even as your business changes, your relationship with your customers is always the most important thing. This is achieved by omnichannel communication.

There are many reasons why customers may prefer physical communications – it isn’t always driven by a lack of tech know-how. It can come down to socio-economic concerns, for example, such as a fear that increased tech adoption will reduce jobs and take services out of local communities. As well as this, it can come down to basic preference: some people simply find it easier to digest information from a physical document rather than a screen. These customers deserve to have their values recognised and responded to, through ongoing investment in physical communication alongside digital.

Though catering effectively to the whole population may seem a daunting task, it is much simpler than it seems.

You can offer the digital options that many expect, and the traditional channels that others prefer, with omnichannel communications. This approach fuses digital and traditional channels, making use of the most impactful and valuable aspects of both.

Going omnichannel allows customers to choose how they communicate with you. They have a range of options, from a live chat on your website or over the phone to social media, email, or face to face. These possibilities are all integrated into a seamless system which never becomes inflexible or inconvenient.

To keep your customers with you at every stage of your digital transformation it all comes down to truly understanding them. If you really know your demographics and their preferences, you can create a seamless experience which ensures no one gets left behind. Part of the driving force behind digital transformation was the uncertainty created by the pandemic – this taught businesses the importance of planning for whatever changes the future might bring. With a strong knowledge of your customers’ preferences, you can make sure that you cater to them no matter what.

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