While the COVID-19 pandemic has sent most financial institutions (FIs) into some form of a business continuity mode—adjusting their operating models and managing account holders’ new needs—it’s important to remember that parts of this sudden, temporary, new normal were already set to be the next normal.

Before COVID-19, FIs were already trending away from branch interactions and towards digital channels. In 2018 alone, there were 2,000 net branch closures. At the end of 2019, just over 80,000 branches remained, down from 95,000 in 2010.

That said, the impact COVID-19 has made on these remaining storefronts can’t be underestimated; even the branches that aren’t fully sitting out the pandemic are operating under reduced hours or are only accessible by appointment. Instead of face-to-face interactions, the digital channel is more important than ever—but this reliance on digital channels was already on its way.

What remains is for FIs to more fully “humanize” the digital channel. This undertaking can be accomplished with a two-pronged approach that addresses user experiences and customer service.

User experiences

Digital banking is banking, and self-service is service. Customers increasingly want to help themselves whenever possible. Across industries, over 80 percent of consumers would prefer to solve their issues before calling a representative. Easy-to-find FAQs, knowledge bases, and chat functions can help account holders address their needs without forcing them to reach out via phone—an option that eats up FI resources and that account holders dislike.

With this in mind, the best way to address customer service is to make it unnecessary. Whether an account holder is just browsing an FI’s site, making a payment, or filling out a loan application, online and mobile experiences should be intuitive and straightforward.

Customer service

Part of delivering exceptional digital experiences is having the ability to understand and connect with users, but FI representatives often can’t see what their callers see in their UI (user interface). This disconnect makes fully understanding and addressing customer needs and complaints a struggle.

Q2 HDX (Human Digital Experience) fixes this fractured view by integrating Q2’s digital banking platform into Salesforce. Gaining a full, 360°-view of customer experiences improves service, builds empathy, and humanizes interactions between FIs and account holders. FIs’ service teams and call centers can quickly grasp and solve any issues that account holders are experiencing in the digital branch.

The next normal

Improving experiences, reducing friction, and improving service in the digital channel is crucial to keeping customers happy and maintaining engagement in these uncertain times.

2020 will no doubt provide essential lessons about how FIs can, should, and will do business. Measures taken now aren’t only responses to the crisis, they’re snapshots of the next normal to come: a sleeker, simpler, and more human experience—in the digital channel and beyond.


Written by Q2