A lot has changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial institutions were forced to address digital transformation, if they hadn’t already, adjust traditional workplaces and adopt new technologies to operate within the new normal. As priorities and goals changed, banks and credit unions adapted their operations to champion socially distant consumers’ health, safety and experience.
As we move closer to 2021, the knowledge, intelligence and lessons from 2020’s trial by fire will come together to push the financial industry forward. These new insights and technological advancements will expand financial institutions’ capability to meet and exceed customers’ ever-changing expectations. With the wisdom earned from this year’s obstacles, institutions will utilize 2021 to advocate for innovative solutions that solve problems and better the lives of their account holders and employees alike.
Employees master change
In the past year, financial institutions learned how to manage remote workforces, navigate shifting roles, embrace digital channels, introduce policies and address new banking questions on a day-to-day basis. However, these daily changes can make it difficult for employees and customers to locate up-to-date information.
To fight for the success of employees and satisfaction of consumers, banks and credit unions must implement communication channels that allow employees to deliver and consume updated information. Remote employees need to utilize communication channels, such as Slack and Microsoft® Teams, to send and receive the knowledge needed to perform tasks. Many businesses are taking advantage of this across the globe, with Microsoft reporting an overall 48% increase in Teams chats per person in the six months after the first work-from-home orders.
To supplement these communication channels, employee-focused chatbots can also be embedded into the applications that employees use every day, allowing them to quickly and efficiently find answers. Chatbot support can ensure that employees receive the most recent information and feel more confident in sharing that information to account holders. In addition, rich media content can show employees how to use or support updated technology.
Digital branches defeat dated strategies
The COVID-19 pandemic and digital transformation boom created a perfect storm for branches to develop forward-thinking digital strategies. As the world became increasingly distant, many institutions were forced to ask themselves how they would change their strategy from physical locations with a digital presence, to a digital presence with physical locations. This resulted in big investments in both digital banking services, such as peer-to-peer payments and mobile deposits, and digital and support tools, such as video banking, live chat, appointment schedulers and efficient online accounts. However, with so many new components added to the digital strategy, how will financial institutions strengthen customer experience?
In 2021, banks and credit unions must look to their digital assets and channels as components of an overall digital branch strategy, rather than disparate tools. The website, online banking and mobile banking platforms should function as one channel, delivering consistent answers for transactions, service, support and product information. Utilizing this banking strategy, institutions will provide the digital experience that consumers have simply come to expect.
Artificial intelligence overcomes one-size-fits-all approach
Previously, chatbots have been considered an expensive solution to basic customer service requests. However, in 2021, investments into artificial intelligence (AI) will begin to pay off. As more fintech vendors deploy AI solutions, banks and credit unions of any size will be able to utilize affordable, AI-powered solutions to automate more processes and deliver better customer experiences.
In addition, as AI will be implemented in more financial institutions, it will also be widely used for much more than customer support. For example, some companies are using intelligence to deliver insights to consumers while other companies are using artificial intelligence to detect fraud in contact centers. Innovative applications for artificial intelligence will only continue to grow in the coming year.
Rising from the ashes
While the past year has been challenging, 2020 has presented opportunities to create a better employee and customer experience. As banks and credit unions apply their hard-earned wisdom to improve procedures and strategies, financial institutions will continue to fight for innovation and the wellbeing of their consumers.
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