Amid recession possibility, banking professionals reveal challenges in customer digital adoption; express desire for additional staff, and indicate increased investment in relationship banking
For banks and credit unions to provide the relationship banking that will be critical in 2023, they need to focus on customer engagement rather than customer experience.
While 78% of consumers are satisfied with the level of support received from their current primary financial institution (PFI) only 54% of consumers agree that their PFI tries to engage with them to understand their needs, and even fewer, 43%, say there is someone at their bank or credit union they can talk to when financial help is needed.
More than 50% of the banks and credit unions surveyed expressed the need for additional staff to deliver strong customer engagement; a 66% year-over-year increase from 2021.
TEWKSBURY, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Engageware, the industry-leading provider of customer engagement solutions, released its ENGAGE 2023: Customer Engagement in Banking, Annual Trends Report. This year’s report, powered by market research firm, Infosurv, explores the strategic priorities of U.S.- based banks and credit unions, their current initiatives, and their outlook on customer engagement for the coming year. Engageware surveyed banking professionals in a variety of roles at credit unions (65%) and retail banks (35%) with average asset sizes ranging from $250 million to $20 billion. Additionally, this year, Engageware surveyed 450+ banking consumers, aged 18-65.
“In today’s challenging economic climate, financial institutions need to be closely attuned to the changing needs and preference of their customers,” said Caroline Platkiewicz, Senior Marketing Manager, Engageware. “In addition to our annual survey of banking professionals, we complemented our findings with a proprietary survey of U.S. banking consumers to understand their attitudes, behaviors, and expectations of their primary financial institution. In doing so, our aim is to provide community bank and credit union leaders with data and insights to better equip them in their customer engagement strategy and planning for 2023. When FIs create avenues for their customers or members to engage, they are more likely to entrust their PFI with important financial decisions, thereby positioning the bank or credit union for long-term success.”
According to survey findings and insights from the field, Engageware’s report advises mid-tier banks and credit unions to observe the following themes in 2023:
During a Recession, Relationship Banking Should be a Focus. 84% of consumers said they think the U.S. economy is in a recession or would be in one soon; compared to 91% of banking professional respondents who believe the same. This underscores the importance relationship banking will have moving forward. This requires prioritization of human assistance (from financial institutions’ professional staff) amidst increasing digital channel usage. Consumers surveyed indicated they would be receptive to more financial guidance in the event of a recession.
Enable Efficiencies to Mitigate Staffing Challenges. Banks and credit unions see personnel as a critical resource for building strong customer engagement and identify it as their #1 resource need. Training and development, employee retention, and ensuring appropriate staffing levels are identified as the top priorities for enabling stronger customer engagement in both contact centers and physical branches. This will also be essential to driving 1:1 personal relationships with customers. Empowering existing staff to act as digital advocates to increase digital adoption, and providing employees with easy access to operational information will enable short-staffed institutions to work more efficiently with limited resources.
Opti-Channel: FIs Must Support Customers in Channels of Their Choice. As customers increasingly utilize digital channels, a critical part of winning and retaining customers will be supporting their ability to choose their own channels and providing a consistent experience. No matter the channel selected, FIs will need to optimize the experience to create seamless transitions that provide continuity in the customer experience and inspire long-term engagement.
Digital Adoption: FIs Must Improve Adoption and Digital Support for Long-Term Technology Success. The focus on digital has shifted from implementation of digital offerings, to driving stronger adoption across the entire customer base. This can be achieved by providing support resources across key channels, and continuous education of both staff and customers on how to use digital offerings, while incorporating easy and seamless access to human-assistance when needed (for example, the ability to instantly schedule an appointment with a financial advisor or reach a banking professional via video banking).
To access the full report, click here.
Engageware provides industry-leading technology and expert know-how to help organizations better engage their customers. Having surpassed scheduling more than one billion online appointments, and trusted by more than 500 organizations, Engageware’s self-service, appointment scheduling, and knowledge management SaaS solutions – combined and integrated with those of our market-leading partners – make it easy for customers to answer their questions quickly, connect to the right resources when scheduled expertise is needed, and get a consistent, efficient experience when help from a representative is required. Organizations that use our customer engagement solutions deliver quality customer experiences no matter the channel — enabling faster growth with greater efficiency.