Resolving the Banker’s Dilemma

Free choice is a wonderful thing. At least, it is when one of the options happens to be desirable. When none is, you have on your hands what is known as a dilemma.

At first, a dilemma was exactly what online banking seemed to present to bankers. The fear was that offering online services would reduce or even eliminate personal contact, which isn’t helpful in a relationship business. Yet with growing demand, not offering online services could mean losing clients to competitors, not to mention forgoing the benefits of increased speed and error reduction.

However, the days of impersonal transactions are safely behind us. A bank that still limits its view of online services to inquiries, transfers and payments needs to wake up and smell the virtual coffee. In fact, it should banish the term online banking from its lexicon for a more apt and visionary term. Like, say, interactive banking. Because today, a well-conceived and organized interactive banking division can be — or at least feel — every bit as relationship-building as in-person one.

Here are some great opportunities:

  1. Take advantage of intelligently programmed interactions. Let clients select preferences and monitor database for trends and frequent client choices so you are making relevant and helpful recommendations.
  2. Craft messages with a human touch. Avoid “banker-ese”, passive voice, boasts like “proudly bringing your excellence.” This will create the impression of a real person seeking opportunities to be of service. Which, in fact, is the case.
  3. Consider social media as an invaluable opportunity for interactivity and research. Pay attention to what fans are responding to, or not, through comments, likes, @ replies, retweets, etc. This is valuable information that not even the most sophisticated survey and focus groups can provide.
  4. Smart Phones have helped make interactive banking more personal than ever, because clients can now take your bank with them wherever they go. Mobile banking lets clients complete whole transactions from a restaurant, bus seat, boring meeting or hair salon.
  5. Live chat is an interactive opportunity that can’t be overlooked. Increasingly, clients are comfortable communicating with someone at the bank via live chat, rather than by voice.

Increasingly, clients like and want interactive capability from their bank. But providing it is as good for the bank as for your clients. Besides matters of speed and accuracy, cost reduction is a major factor in a bank’s favor. Right now, the average bank location transaction costs about $4, whereas the average computer transaction comes in about 17 cents. The average smart phone transaction? About half that.

Any other interactive opportunities your company is taking advantage of that you have found particularly advantageous to your business?

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