How Retail Banks Must Adapt During and After COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic has left no industry unscathed, especially retail banking. As banking brands reel from everything from a reduction of in-branch business to the economic crunch at large, it’s imperative that they adapt to these and other challenges if they hope to emerge from this crisis in a strong position.

As we outline in our recent white paper on this subject, Five Predictions About The Future of Retail Banking, retail banking brands can achieve this goal by asking the right questions. What follows is a quick rundown of four topics and how addressing them today can help retail banks succeed tomorrow.

The questions we’ll focus on today concern:

  • Inactivity
  • Overactivity
  • Surprises
  • Customers

Topic #1: Inactivity

The first customer experience (CX) question that banks need to ask themselves is not what banking activity COVID-19 spurred, but rather, what activity didn’t occur as a result of the pandemic. Specifically, retail banks must discover which transactions could have taken place and what accounts might have opened were it not for the Coronavirus.

There are several ways that banks can obtain a glimpse at how inactivity has hurt their bottom line. The first and most obvious step is to compare operational and financial data from the past few months against the same time period in preceding years. This tip may seem gratuitous, but it’s a simple and effective way to get an idea of how much activity COVID-19 has robbed away.

Next, banks need to understand who their customers are. This means identifying customers by their usage loyalty (i.e. identifying customers who regularly bank with a brand versus newcomers or more casual users) and compare that data to a CRM or database to gain a deeper view of what customers are and aren’t doing. Financial and operational metrics are also useful here because using them helps retail banks achieve a total, holistic understanding of their customers.

Topic #2: Overactivity

Gauging inactivity is a good way for retail banks to learn how COVID-19 has changed their customers’ behavior—so too is taking a look at any overactivity. In keeping with the customer understanding we established in the preceding section, it’s important for banks to better know their customers by learning which activities have taken place more often during this pandemic.

For example, are banking customers opening a certain type of account more often? Retail banks can keep an eye out for account overactivity in addition to, say, whether certain services or consultations were solicited more often. Overactivity is a good indicator of how banking customers are feeling during this crisis and, as with measuring inactivity, comparing it to previous customer activity and gaining a 360-degree view of who these people are is vital.

Topic #3: Surprises

Retail banks that work to understand both inactivity and overactivity will be well-equipped to spot anomalies in how their customers act. 

It’s helpful for these banks to ask themselves what about recent customer interactions has been the most surprising. Have customers present unusual questions, comments, or concerns to their local branch? Are they making requests that your bank is unprepared to accommodate?

Asking questions like these and looking for behavioral anomalies go a long way toward ensuring that retail banks are prepared to continue serving customers best they can during this pandemic. Besides, it doesn’t appear that COVID-19 is departing us anytime soon.

Topic #4: Customers

This is a big one. Banks can better understand their customers by asking the questions mentioned above, but these queries are also a useful way to learn if their audience has shifted entirely. Has your target customer-base shifted? Do some customers seem harder-hit than others? Ascertaining this information can help banks keep a lock on their audience and adapt to their changing needs and expectations.

As we said up top, banks that ask the hard questions and incorporate any findings into their digital strategies will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic in an ideal position. They can then continue providing an optimal banking experience for customers, resulting in both happier audiences and a stronger bottom line.

Want to learn more about our predictions for the retail banking world during and beyond COVID-19? Check out our new white paper “Five Predictions About The Future of Retail Banking” by retail banking CX expert Jennifer Passini.

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The InMoment Team

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