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Need for human connection in digital banking

Via Banking Technology : Technology may rule the world, but human connection is still king.

While digitally transforming industries such as banking have been focused on conquering the Internet age for about a decade, the world of mobile is looking vastly different – not only in its technological capabilities, but its aptly-evolving consumer mindsets as well.

Gone are the days where customers have to wait to balance their online checking accounts via a desktop computer at home, or visit their local branch for routine services such as depositing a check. Now, mobile deposits, banking apps and the future of all things digital have begun shifting an already evolving industry (and how its customers interact with its services) into a new era.

Although this new era is still in transition, the everyday reality of secure virtual appointments with tellers, cardless transactions and robo-advisors is just around the corner (and, in many ways, already here, thanks to early adopters). It’s no secret that today’s fast-paced world has created an anywhere, anytime, any device type of consumer mindset – and with good reason, since much of the world is now built (or being altered) to accommodate such a framework.

However, industry discussions of this emerging consumer model aren’t just focused on the technological ramifications of industries rushing to meet customers’ increasing expectations. The shift facing many industries as they innovate today is also behavioural.

In fact, it could be argued that behavior is influencing technological development more than the other way around – especially in banking, an industry traditionally slower to adopt the latest innovations due to highly regulated markets.

With this model driving the online-to-mobile shift in banking, the key to successful digitisation isn’t just creating and deploying new technology; it’s raising user engagement through the number of digital interactions as well as ensuring customer satisfaction.

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In a 2015 report on consumer banking behaviors, Accenture found that in order to increase customer engagement and a bank’s “share of the digital opportunity,” they need to insert themselves in the center of a “digital, interconnected ecosystem of cross-industry providers and services that serves customers’ everyday needs.”

In other words, as banking moves from online to mobile, it’s not enough for technology to become a peripheral addition to the user’s every day – it needs to become an integral part of it. How? By combining multichannel features (such as HD voice/video, web chat, SMS, secure file transfer, screen sharing and more) to enable a fully dimensional banking experience geared toward consumers seeking access at their fingertips.

And this technology goes hand in hand with the need for human interaction. As coverage of artificial intelligence, robo-advisors and other futuristic tech infiltrates nearly every field, many are questioning what this means for the people who currently complete those tasks manually.

However, successful user engagement doesn’t simply exist in technology versus humanity – it’s found in the cross-over. For example, while it may be convenient for users to securely web chat with a teller about a problem from their laptop, they might prefer to have the conversation on the go via text or they may feel more personally supported if they could see the teller’s face through a virtual appointment. If the user’s convenience could dictate his or her method of digital interaction with a bank – to a higher degree than the current industry standard – then that technology not only has the ability to meet rising customer demands, but also has an opportunity to impact their behaviour.

As the industry pushes toward mobile engagement and technological innovation, it’s the solutions that add human connection and collaboration to the mix that will be best positioned to give banks and their customers the type of service (and results) that they’re both seeking.

After all, it’s the technological features that shape a customer’s view of what mobile banking should look like, and human connection is a critical aspect of ensuring personalized customer service and creating the ultimate user experience.

By Perry Price, CEO, president and co-founder of Revation Systems

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