The new challenges in consumer banking are considerable.

Consumer uncertainty rose as the markets plummeted, and fear of the future kept everyone in an ongoing holding pattern.

The banking industry is still feeling these effects, which has given rise to questions about future best practices, specifically how to deliver exceptional customer service experiences and accommodate changing consumer preferences.

ath Power Consulting endeavored to find out by surveying more than 2,000 banking customers nationwide to isolate how they have been impacted and, perhaps most critically, how they intend to bank in the future.

Frequency Banks Have Enacted

Bank customers were asked about the measures they think are essential for banks to implement since the COVID crisis started. Over 70% of customers felt measures like providing hand sanitizer, increasing abilities to conduct transactions outside of branches and enforcing social distancing in branches were “very important". Strong support was also seen for several other measures, such as limiting the number of customers in a branch at one time, employees wearing a mask, and having a protective barrier between the employee and customer.

The noteworthy technique that did not receive strong support from customers was for branches to become drive-up only for transactions (only 30% felt this was “very important"). This challenge was not surprising in our research, as the delivery of an outstanding drive-up experience has long been a challenge for banks and credit unions of all sizes.

Are your employees ready for an exceptional drive-up experience?

ath Power has developed an effective drive-up training program that focuses on fundamental skills that are critical to delivering a next-level drive-up experience and maintaining excellent customer relationships.

  • Drive-Up Soft Skills
  • The Art of Small Talk
  • Introducing Alternate Banking Channels to Customers

Prior to the challenges posed by COVID-19, the role of Interactive Teller Machines were slowly gaining traction in traditional banking, despite the lack of universal availability and significant capital expense to implement the tool.

Our survey results cite that only 20% of respondents had had experience using an ITM. Given the choice between an ITM or face-to-face interaction, only one-quarter surveyed preferred the latter with nearly three-quarters of those surveyed comfortable with either option. Despite low use, nearly three quarters of our respondents suggested they would be at least just as likely to use an ITM versus a live in-branch Teller, if given the choice.

ITM usage also seems to have a strong chance at Credit Unions with just over 2 in 5 Credit Union Members preferring an ITM versus a face-to-face experience. This figure is on-pace with the nation’s largest banks but is ahead of smaller Community Banks by a wide margin.

The significant impact to branches, as well as the omnichannel impact of COVID-19, will be explored further in future ath Power Executive Briefs and Webinars. The recommendations put forth will help banks better understand where to invest their resources and build a roadmap for the future of banking.

Exploring customer experience through survey research is a proven way to acutely understand your organization's strengths and weaknesses in meeting customer needs.

If you want to know how the pandemic is affecting your customers, let us conduct a custom survey for your institution.

We now know that banking has never changed as fast as it has in 2020.

Ultimately, the need for an omnichannel experience is more important than ever, which requires consumer outreach and employee education. Employees need the tools to meet customer expectations. This is an advantageous time to identify employees’ weaknesses and opportunities for growth. For instance, are your employees adept at true relationship banking, offering financial guidance, and doing so through cutting-edge technology like video conferencing? Are your employees trained to provide an outstanding experience; in other words, do their customers know how to use, and recognize the benefits of online banking? Do your employees launch customer tutorials to help those populations resistant to digital platforms get up to speed?

What do these educational opportunities look like for your institution? What would your customers say if we asked them about their experience? What do your customers want from their customer experience? Do you know?

The ath Power Consulting team can conduct a study to isolate the data relevant to your organization, producing data generally within one week.

Tomorrow’s bank will likely look very different and requires creating a customer-centric engagement model today.

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