It’s 2023 and Elephants are Dancing
In reading about all the FinTech lenders that have been re-imagining the customer digital journey, if you were an outsider (or a PE investor? ), you’d be left thinking that the banks and credit unions were all customer-journey challenged elephants destined to lose customers. Elephants, who are sitting on their hands, even though they oftentimes have better rates. But this is far from true. “Online-oriented” banks and credit unions have an ever-strengthening hand that they are playing. They are providing their customers and members with the service they’re looking for while outrunning the fintech models by improving their customer experience, but also leveraging their sophisticated call center capabilities. Here are two examples:
My dear 80-year-old mother, my iPhone-using, cross-country skiing mother, recently got a talking to from her son about how much more interest she could garner by moving her savings from a local brick-and-mortar-focused bank into an online outfit. We found that her interest rate would go from 0.5% to 4.0% instantly – it adds up. Easy right? We fired up the iPad on Sunday morning and got her started in opening an account at one of the leading online banks that you’ve undoubtedly heard of. But no! She didn’t pass the onboarding identity check as they couldn’t verify her existence and would need to wait to hear from a rep. Crazy right? In my Gen X point of view, I was furious and impatient, “what do you mean it can’t be done instantaneously?!”. Then again, I should have tempered this with the understanding that she hasn’t needed consumer credit since the 80s. Much to my surprise, come Monday after I had returned home contemplating how hard it would be to act as ‘remote support’ for her ongoing digital journey, my mom was called by “a nice woman,” who walked her through the process and <boom> the online bank now has a significant, sticky, new online customer that is quite pleased with their rates.
What would a fintech mantra have called for? I’d bet a paycheck they’d respond only to those that made it through the digital native process. Before you think of that as ‘the cream of the crop strategy’, what percentage of society is that really? And does that percentage have as much money to put into an online savings account as the older generation? On the surface, her new online bank seems to care more about her making a bit of money on her money than… dare I say it… her hometown bank. By combining technology and training staff on end-to-end processes (this was not that call center agent’s first rodeo), the elephant can dance. The whole experience was a real surprise to me.
In another example, at a large online-oriented credit union client of ours, I got a front-row seat of the customer journey from the other side of the fence. I had the pleasure of meeting the heads of open banking, customer journey, and customer interaction at a holiday luncheon. Those groups don’t all talk together about end-to-end journeys that often. While open banking at first is perceived as “allowing our members to provide access to their personal financial data to others,” it is now being understood as an opportunity to initiate the customer journey. A journey to keep a member from being pulled into the fintech journey, where the rate is much worse than the credit union can provide! In this case, the online credit union is working to establish a small set of predictive features from the open banking request that will trigger outreach to the member, highlighting the basics of the credit union’s competing offer (as in we think you are shopping for a personal loan; our rates are highly competitive, and we can approve you in 5 minutes…). It’s not hard to imagine the Elephant moving to a more sophisticated dance (let’s call it a ‘cha-cha-cha’) by running a soft inquiry and providing a firm offer of credit, but I suggest that a timely, but basic, triggered communication will start to become very common. And, in most cases, it’s good enough.
Execution is the hardest part of any plan, and the team at CC Pace excels at helping to turn strategy into results. Give us a call or reach out to me on LinkedIn to explore the ways we can help you tap into a more efficient customer journey process. We know your elephant can dance, and we can help.