How to navigate digital banking needs now and in the future

Marshall Self / May 2020

At a time when retail branches are closed and in-person interactions are limited, digital has become a critical channel for retail banks. Digital channels are allowing people to continue to access their accounts, open new ones, pay bills, and remain on top of their finances. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated digital banking trends, with half of Canadians conducting their banking transactions online each week.1

Retail banks need to act now to meet current consumer needs and adapt their future omnichannel strategy, or risk being left behind in this digital shift.

Here are five things marketers at retail banks can do now to help navigate digital trends into the future.

Promote your mobile apps

Banking apps provide utility and value to both banks and their customers, and demand is high. At the end of March, global searches for “home banking” grew by over 50% versus the previous week.2 According to an April BCG consumer survey, before the COVID-19 crisis, only 13% of consumers surveyed said they opened new accounts using a mobile app.3 That number grew to 23% in April.4 There is also reason to believe that this demand will continue, with 77% of Canadians saying they will continue to use their mobile banking app or mobile site in the next six months.5

Build digital trust with customers

Consumer trust should be a top priority right now. We found that more than one-third of Canadians say the biggest barrier to doing their banking actions online is safety concerns.6 Educate new customers on safety features and processes and show current customers that their safety and privacy is always top of mind.

Retail banks need to educate customers on how to use their digital platforms through clear messaging.

Educate customers on digital

Another common barrier to digital adoption is education. According to an April Google consumer survey, 22% of Canadians surveyed said the biggest barrier in digital banking was the lack of familiarity with digital banking platforms.7 Retail banks need to educate customers on how to use their digital platforms through clear messaging, and illustrate the benefits of digital banking through videos, tutorials and educational content hubs. For example, Capital One used YouTube videos to educate customers on how to use their mobile app.

Use data to help drive personalized messaging

Retail banks can achieve advanced digital maturity and get a better return on investment by creating personalized messages across the consumer journey. Unified data and automation can help you do this at scale, but it requires a cross-functional approach — and a company-wide shift to a digital-first mindset.

Digitize banking workflows with an end-to-end (E2E) approach

BCG research found that 76% of Canadian consumers rank E2E functionality — the ability to apply for financial products, receive approval, and get follow-on servicing seamlessly — as an important feature of digital banking platforms.8 Most banks have digitized simple transactions or workflows (such as credit card sale or servicing), by directly connecting a modern front-end to core systems through a variety of APIs.

The next step is to digitize more complex transactions or workflows, like mortgage sales or first investments, by re-imagining “on-stage” experience and “back-stage” delivery together. Ensure customers have the ability to easily access advisors digitally or through their preferred channels. This re-imagination would use data, analytics and new technologies to redesign processes, roles and teaming.

What we’ve learned from a year of COVID