The number of community banks decreased by fifty percent between 2000 and 2022. In a market saturated with competitors, how can community banks survive and thrive? The answer remains to focus on and enhance your differentiation, namely customer care. Today’s clients are looking for availability and convenience in their banking. To be relevant and create competitive advantage, you need a strong digital banking strategy.
According to Tim Zimmerman, CEO of Standard Bank in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, while big banks use technology (particularly automation) to eliminate customers, community banks can thrive by using technology to improve their customer service.
- Focus on user experience
What is the user experience like for customers when using your banking app or website? Is it simple for them to navigate, so they can readily find what they’re looking for and perform tasks with ease? Do robust security measures persuade them to protect their data and deter unauthorized access? Do banking apps and websites load fast for transactions to complete?
You’ll also want users to turn to your platform for personalized financial advice or tailored product recommendations. There should be modern and attractive apps, dedicated 24/7 customer service, and integrated digital products and services across one frictionless ecosystem with common standards of operation. Consumer research by Salesforce.com found that for 80% of consumers, the digital experience your community bank provides is just as important as its products or services.
- Integration with existing systems
According to Senior Director of FICO, Darryl Knopp, the best digital banking platforms are those where data, systems and processes synchronize like a finely tuned orchestra. What do you need for a unified customer experience?
- Fast and seamless onboarding
- Real-time updates and notifications
- Integrated self-service tools
- Robust security and fraud protection
- Customer support
To outshine the competition and succeed, you have to display excellence at each and every touchpoint and provide a smooth transition between channels. It’s the details that count. Even with a fantastic onboarding process, if your website’s painfully slow or difficult to navigate, your customers will find what they need elsewhere.
- Intentional Planning
Start with a reasonable budget and clear achievable results. Follow a customer-centered roadmap. Start small on your three to four most critical needs or drivers. Analyze user behavior to drive efficiency. Scale success through leveraging deep analytics to improve your business. This cautious strategy helps you transform your bank in iterations, focusing on results.
How flexible is your digital banking platform in terms of customization and integration with other systems and processes? Does your banking platform scale to accommodate your bank’s future growth and changing customer needs?
Flexible and scalable banking platforms enable community banks to capitalize on the close relationships they can establish in their communities. For example, such systems help you improve your engagement with peer banks as counterparties, investors, co-financiers or clients. They also help you address the environmental and social issues in your communities, as well as provide accurate and accessible information to investors and analysts and expand your supplier base. In short, flexible and scalable platforms provide an expanded network that serves to intensify your local presence, demonstrate your community investment and engagement, entrench your expertise in your local banking and business landscape and, altogether, act as facilitators and trusted advisors to your growing customer base.
How Hartman can help your bank develop and implement a digital banking strategy
Community banks remain key in providing for small business and individual customers in localized areas, but as the transactional space becomes more competitive and frictionless, community banks need to lean on technology to help them grow and stay relevant.
Successful digital transformation needs to start with a clear strategy and strong leadership. Hartman Executive Advisors help you align your IT strategy to your business strategy, create a business case, perform proper diligence and execute Implementation to gain traction quicker and more efficiently. If you are a bank leader who is looking for more information, please contact the banking experts at Hartman Executive Advisors to schedule a free consultation.