Don’t Forget the Low Hanging Fruit

By Kathleen Craig

Every day we are bombarded with news articles on the changing branches, the takeover of AI, and Amazon and Apple becoming banks—along with a plethora of other big intimidating changes we need to face…eventually.

But are we losing our focus on the customers we have today while speculating on how we may or may not serve them in the future?

It shouldn’t be this hard.

This week, I tried going online to reset my password for my business banking account with my community bank. There was no reset password link. You read that correctly. No reset password link.  With where technology is today, you’d be hard pressed to find a legitimate obstacle to securely allowing your customers to self-serve password changes.

In addition to not being able to self-serve my password reset, I could only find the generic “contact us” area of the website. There were general phone numbers that are also meant for non-customers and an online form. However, the form was impersonal, and as a current customer, I couldn’t be sure it was meant for issues like mine. In fact, there were no clearly labeled email addresses, let alone a chat window—something I have come to expect from the other companies I use for my business.

After spending several minutes searching, I opted to use their online form, only to receive an email the next morning asking me to give them a call to reset the password.

I did this, and she stayed on the line while they verbally walked me through their process.

At that point, I asked how I could add my accountant to the portal. The customer service rep explained that they would have to email me a fillable PDF, which I could fill out, sign, scan and email back to them to add my accountant.

All of the above took me less than five minutes to complete with the large national bank I do business with.

In this case, size is no excuse. Changing the above processes to mirror what I can do with the largest banks does not involve the largest investment—certainly less than adding AI or machine learning. Nor does it require an API, open banking, or blockchain. But it would add value to your customer experience immediately. What it takes is an organizational focus on how we are doing things today and a willingness to say: “Why are we still doing it like this?”

Make those changes that are within reach.

Changing these low-hanging fruit items takes a champion in the organization willing to lead change when they see a need.

The best way to do this is to ensure you have a change process in the organization that any co-worker from the front line to the executive team can use and bring changes to the table.

Here are three different ways you can begin a culture of change in your organization:

  1. Analyze the data.

If you are not doing so already, regularly review what your customers have entered in the search field on your website and internet banking.

Log all calls in the contact center and see where there are trends—such as password resets. Identify the areas where you can improve the self-serve options. Take unnecessary customer support work off of your team and allow them to provide value-added services.

  1. Provide a simple web submission form.

When bank staff sees a process that needs to change, make sure they have an easy way to submit the recommendation immediately.

This approach takes coaching and strong communication, as you do not want it to become a complaint box. However, if you have strong managers and a positive internal culture it can be a great source of ideas. Being clear about expectations—that you want process change—and encouraging folks to look at competitors and share how they would make your bank better will help to keep it positive. Highlighting examples, grabbing onto a few and making the changes quickly to show you are responsive all will help it gain momentum. In my example above, I would submit the following recommendation: “Business banking password reset. Major competitors in our market allow you to reset your password for business banking online.”

  1. Implement a change committee.

If you already have meeting and committee overload in your organization this approach may not be for you. But it is a great way to gather all levels of the organization together to work on things that affect everyone. Have the committee report to the board on a quarterly basis on what they accomplish. The committee approach makes it easy to involve the people who you can help make the change happen. For example, IT can talk to the core vendor to see what capabilities they have that you may not have turned on yet.

Whether you do one or all of the above, ensure your leadership teams across the organization are actively trying out your competitors’ financial products. It’s essential that your decision makers understand where the bar is set and are actively working to bring your organization forward.

Kathleen Craig is the founder and CEO of HT Mobile Apps (HTMA). Kathleen has been in banking for over a decade, prior to founding her company she led consumer eServices leader at a community bank in Michigan. Kathleen’s specific focus in digital channel strategy gives her insight into the latest fintech and banking trends. HTMA now serves community banks ranging from $30 million to over $15 billion in asset size over 16 states. Email: kathleen@htmobileapps.com. Twitter. LinkedIn.

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