The number of building society and bank branch closures have significantly accelerated over recent years, with many consumers now far more comfortable engaging via a digital solution.
Concerns around data security and whether an online interaction could replace a face-to-face conversation with an in-store expert were widely disregarded during the COVID-19 pandemic, when branches were forced to close their doors for weeks at a time.
Modernisation is required
To facilitate more cost effective and efficient ways of working, there is now a widespread acknowledgement that investment in new technology is essential. Interestingly, one study published in May 2021, found that more than 90 per cent of firms operating across the financial services sector were still reliant on legacy technology in one form or another.
Other key barriers found to be hindering the deployment of new technology included budget constraints, uncertainty around decision making and concerns about how easily the new technology would integrate with an existing legacy system.
However, with the right technology in place building societies can develop far more robust and customer-centric ways of working, as well as reducing operational overheads, here’s how.
Without high levels of automation, building societies will struggle to access a complete overview of a customer’s situation. Not only will this lead to missed opportunities to offer support and advice, it might also lead to a low-quality level of service. Over time, consumers might feel undervalued and look to switch to a brand offering a more personalised experience.
Multiple digital touchpoints
Gone are the days of people visiting a branch to access advice or guidance. Consumers now expect to be able to engage across several different touchpoints at a time that is convenient to them. While technology can support this, it’s essential that all systems are integrated, to prevent oversight or error. The last thing you want are gaps in customer records or missing data.
By deploying a solution that covers the entire end-to-end customer journey, building societies can keep track of every customer at every point during their journey, helping to ensure more positive outcomes.
The growing success of Open Banking is another factor fuelling building societies to accelerate their digital transformation.
A study by Whitecap Consulting found that while Open Banking is an area of ‘strong interest’ for building societies, it is not currently deemed to be an immediate priority – with many adopting a ‘watch and see’ approach. Interestingly, 55 per cent did consider Open Banking technology as an opportunity and we expect building societies will be keeping a close eye on market developments throughout 2022.
Looking ahead, promoting positive engagement with consumers must be a top priority for building societies. It is imperative that organisations use all available systems and processes to support customers on the brink of financial difficulty or in need of expert advice.
Cloud-based solutions such as those developed by Aryza, are proven to help businesses streamline processes and develop more positive relationships with consumers. With the rising cost of living and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic still significantly impacting the nation’s finances, it’s important for building societies to be able to adapt in line with the ever-changing needs of the market.