Risk Watch with Alberta QUARCOOPOME: The changing role of the branch manager in a digital world (2)

ONCE UPON A TIME: the relevance of history in risk management (final)
Alberta Quarcoopome

Last week we looked at some of the functions of the bank branch and the roles that branch managers play. In this era of digital banking, let us examine important functions which are sometimes overlooked.

Customer Service in a Digital World- The New Paradigm

The customer service revolution in  financial services is dynamic, overarching, and being driven by consumers who are embracing digital and mobile channels as never before. The digital age is changing the way consumers research, shop and buy products and services and how they share their experiences after each purchase. As a result of this transformation, there has never been a time when customer service and the overarching customer experience has been as important as it is today. The rise of digital channels, digital communication, social media, social networks and word-of-mouth across a connected universe gives us a glimpse into the power and potential to solve problems, address customer complaints proactively, and potentially predict outcomes before they occur.

Boosting Digital Adoption

Modern banking involves using artificial intelligence to increase sales and cross-selling in digital banking. It is not enough to build amazing digital products. You also need to convince consumers to use them, considering the following general findings:

  • Awareness and education alone do not drive adoption
  • 25% of customers who use traditional channels are interested in doing the same task digitally
  • 84% of customers are aware of digital banking products but only 33% have adopted them
  • Competition from non-banks could erode 1/3 of traditional bank revenues.
  • Process can be quite complicated.

Branch managers therefore need to go beyond awareness and education, and actually influence customer behaviour. How can this be done? This involves the use of a combination of both traditional and online means. A branch manager can easily get Management’s buy-in to organize SME clinics for customers with special needs in your community at minimal cost.

Ho about the following tips?

  • Educate customers on the benefits, encourage them to adopt a change in the way they view and use the new concepts, and demonstrate how the products are actually used. Many banks rely on video training to make the sale very practical.
  • Using AI and machine learning: Segment and identify the customers’ need of the varying levels of help and incentives to go digital. This information needs to be provided in the various channels to appeal to each customer group.
  • Product walkthroughs are a quick and easy way for both your customers and your staff to learn how to use products. They quickly walk you through a product, highlighting key features, and letting customers (or staff) learn by doing — without the branches, sales ambassadors walk around with tablets to aid customers and sell products and services.

After customers try your product for the first time, you need to ensure they continue using it.  The onboarding process should encourage customers to habitually use your product for at least two months. This will gradually make them a habit and create loyalty to the bank’s brand. If banks have a low level of digital sales strategy, then it should be made a priority. This should make the branch manager coordinate the branch team to increase their readiness to sell more products digitally. However, with every passing day, your customers’ expectations of a great digital experience are increasing.

Digital Customer Experience Management

The banking industry’s efforts to shift to digital channels have not been without hiccups.  But given the industry’s financial pressures and global economic uncertainties, there is increased urgency — and opportunity — to adopt a holistic approach to going digital and integrating that strategy across the banking ecosystem.

The modern digital consumer has increased power and expectations around how they want customer service delivered. Digital customer experience management is understanding how people interact with your brand online. Organizations today must find a way to create emotional connections with their users on their mobile devices, let their customers provide feedback, and respond to those issues. Dear manager, when building out your CX program, mapping the customer journey is critical.  In traditional banking, we have moments of truth experiences. These are usually identified by the moments of consumer brand interaction that shape brand perception and loyalty. As we become increasingly digital, many of these key moments of truth are happening online.

In order to diagnose, gain insight, and fix digital experiences on the bank’s website, an effective program design will include the following steps:

  1. Dive deep into the key journeys to gain insights

Due to the omni-channel experience, managers can ask feedback from customers on their various touchpoints along the journey. Some aspects may be challenging to them, while some may be seamless. Just like traditional banking, customers may enjoy mobile banking, but not the remote capture of cheques or deposit of cash in the ATM. It will be beneficial to know their pain-points and make recommendations to your management for solutions. These customers are your brand promoters and you must keep them happy.

  1. Asking for feedback

With any digital customer journey, it is important to give your users a place to easily provide feedback in order to improve their experience. This can be in the form of an always present feedback tab, or a website chat function. The data is invaluable to improve the customer journey and when you implement their feedback, customers know that you care. This information is invaluable to the customer recovery process.  In modern banking, convenience is the catchword since customers find it easy to switch banks.

The Benefits of the Omni-channel experience

The integration of digital technology into everyday life is now at a point where omnichannel user experiences are the norm. Customers now expect banks to provide an omnichannel experience so that they can choose their own journey through a bank’s when completing a task.  Let us look at the benefits of using the omnichannel experience.

  • Happy Customers

From a customer’s perspective, the benefits of an omnichannel experience are self-evident. Dealing with the company is smoother, much simpler and more intuitive. The customer does not have to take responsibility for finding the right person to talk to or retaining and repeating information. There are fewer hurdles to overcome.

  • Saving time and money

For businesses, the smooth efficiency of an omnichannel strategy immediately delivers a return on investment by saving money and cutting down on time and resources associated with a less joined-up approach.

  • A better view of the customer journey

An omnichannel experience strategy gives the bank a bird’s-eye view of the customer’s digital interactions on the journey. These days, customers are choosing their own digital journeys and the points of success or failure. An omnichannel approach puts everything inside a single system that is visible and trackable, so you can gather insights and take steps to improve aspects of your business as required.

Finally, Managers must own the omni-channel experience of customers. Is the manager even using the product? Is he or she acquainted with the features, benefits and even typical problems that customers have with the product? During the Covid 19 epidemic, many customers were informed digitally to patronize e-banking, but did banks not fileter to know that not all customers can use it? Many customers were defrauded by their own agents, family members and friends. Segmentation and profiling of customers using technology is now a basic and a must-have. Let us get closer to our customers to know what they are going through, even if the relationship is virtual.

For more insights please book a copy of my new book, “THE MODERN BRANCH MANAGER’S COMPANION” which involves the adoption of a multi-disciplinary approach in the practice of today’s branch management. It also shares invaluable insights on the mindset needed to navigate and make a difference in the changing dynamics of the banking industry. Call 0244333051 for your copy.



Alberta Quarcoopome is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers, and CEO of ALKAN Business Consult Ltd. She is the Author of Three books: “The 21st Century Bank Teller: A Strategic Partner” and “My Front Desk Experience: A Young Banker’s Story” and “The Modern Branch Manager’s Companion”. She uses her experience and practical case studies, training young bankers in operational risk management, sales, customer service, banking operations and fraud.


Website www.alkanbiz.com

Email:[email protected]alkanbiz.com  or [email protected]

Tel: +233-0244333051/+233-0244611343

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