How to use digital channels to elevate relationship banking

Though often perceived as a low-touch strategy, online account opening can actually help your institution create a relationship-focused customer experience.

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Though often perceived as a low-touch strategy, online account opening can actually help your institution create a relationship-focused customer experience.

Key insights:

  • Person-to-person customer service has long driven success for community banks and credit unions—and many are concerned that digital banking will disrupt this model.
  • Online account opening can actually serve as an important step in a high-touch banking model, ensuring that the onboarding process is quick and efficient.
  • OAO offers analytics to help community institutions understand how consumers are interacting with their products, and thus personalize their experience.

Traditionally, community banks and credit unions have built their businesses using high-touch models. By prioritizing reliability and trust, they have created valuable long-term relationships with customers and members. In many ways, person-to-person customer service is part of their DNA—and what sets them apart from the money-centers and megabanks.

Now, as digital banking comes to the forefront, community institutions may be hesitant to embrace online account opening (OAO) out of concern that it will disrupt their customer-first approach. However, OAO can actually serve as an integral part of a high-touch banking model by ensuring that the account opening process is a quick, and even enjoyable, experience. Further, OAO is just the start of your institution’s relationship with a customer. Once a user has opened an account, their journey can be highly personalized going forward, especially with the help of the data and analytics that OAO solutions like MANTL provide.

This article counters the idea that digital banking is a low-touch approach, instead demonstrating how OAO fits seamlessly with relationship-focused community banking. In particular, OAO offers benefits for institutions looking to build consistent branding, optimize communication channels, and run hyper-personalized engagement campaigns.

Establish consistent customer communications

With an account opening solution like MANTL, banks and credit unions have the ability to set up customer communications in a repeatable way. Everyone who joins your institution can have a streamlined and personalized experience, and no customer or member will fall through the cracks.

Further, marketing automation tools enable you to leverage data to create campaigns that are hyper-relevant to each customer’s financial needs. For instance, relevant product promotions might be organized around a person’s key life events like marriage or homeownership. And even though OAO allows for automation, customers can still access a real person when they reach out by phone or message. In this way, the account opening experience gains convenience without losing the human touch.

As an example, Flushing Bank in New York has used digital banking and OAO to strengthen relationships with customers. In Flushing’s first six months using MANTL’s platform, approximately 60 percent of digital applications for new accounts were submitted successfully, and 90 percent of account decisions required no manual review. Plus, since the launch of the bank’s online application, 12 percent of new accounts were opened by existing customers. By creating a convenient and easy-to-navigate onboarding process, Flushing has been able to deepen customer relationships without spending unnecessary time or money on marketing and promotion.

Customize experiences across digital and physical channels

After a customer has opened an account, OAO allows banks and credit unions to better understand how they are interacting with different products. This allows you to personalize services to better serve your customer base in a high-touch way.

Hyperpersonalization takes this customization one step further. Drawing on data and analytics to develop a deep understanding of each person’s needs and expectations, your institution can develop a set of uniquely tailored experiences across both digital and physical channels. Hyperpersonalization can also lower operational costs by allowing you to focus on effectively  serving a niche set of customers.

With MANTL, a variety of customer data sets are available for analysis, including online interactions, geo-location data, and aggregated payments behavior. Plus, these insights are easier than ever to understand. Banks and credit unions have the capability to build and deliver reports, create visualizations, and consult both high-level and granular analytics.

Bring a high-touch approach to the digital space

Community institutions have long found success—and served many satisfied customers and members—by following a high-touch banking model. Now that digital banking has gained prominence, banks and credit unions are adapting their services to new customer expectations and delivering a fast and easy-to-understand online experience.

Online account opening platforms like MANTL are beneficial because they make the onboarding process easier for bank customers and credit union members, and create exciting potential for financial institutions. If you can deliver an efficient online experience while still supporting customers with high-touch service, your institution is well-positioned to boost customer satisfaction and retention, as well as draw in valuable new business.

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