Let me begin by being perfectly honest – I am hesitant to write a post about COVID-19 and its impacts. Six months in, I am feeling the fatigue of “COVID-19” and its presence everywhere: Online articles COVID-19; TV – COVID-19; Small talk – COVID-19; Call any organization – a five-minute automated message about COVID-19. You would think it has all been said, however, if you are a bank and challenged with keeping yourself afloat because of this pandemic… read on.
Six months ago, this was new to everyone; organizations scrambled to enable remote working. Now as areas begin to reopen, they struggle to implement protocols to resume business and keep employees and customers safe.
For financial institutions, the struggle has been connecting with customers who solely relied on the branch and then were unable to come in. Suddenly, the importance of a digital strategy moved a lot higher up on the priority list. And if it did not, it should have.
The challenge in this situation is there is no short-term fix. Creating, revising, or reprioritizing your digital strategy and starting to make some investments to enhance your current digital solutions is the only way to help generate incremental customer growth in this environment.
Here is why:
- COVID-19 is here for the foreseeable future and a lot of the processes that organizations have implemented require more resources, more time, and of course, more money. The money being spent simply trying to run day-to-day operations tends to produce no ROI. Yes, it is a necessary evil right now; however, the sooner you invest in your digital strategy, the sooner you can start serving customers through better offerings that will sustain long after COVID-19 is done.
- There is no going back to “normal.” What was normal six months ago will not be normal in the future. Six months ago, many customers resisted all things online, but this pandemic has forced people to do things like online shopping for the first time or ordering dinner through an app. Some have even learned to pay bills at a click of a button. Sure, some will go back to their branch, but many more will continue to use digital banking over a branch. If you are trying just to get through COVID-19 and return to normal, you may find that your customers come through the other side of this more tech-savvy and confident in their ability to self-serve through various banking channels. If you do not offer those channels, it is likely your customers will find another bank to deal with that does.
- It is not as bad as you think it is. If you think that to improve digital offerings you need a full-blown core transformation, you don’t. Many cost-effective options provide significant benefits to your digital strategy. Whether it is through APIs, a digital adapter, or an omnichannel layer in your technology stack, it is possible to integrate new solutions into your current platform – no matter what core you operate on.
COVID-19 has impacted business revenues. As a bank, it is difficult to justify a mid-fiscal investment in technology. That said, the right investment right now will not only help you get through these trying times, it will also continue to serve you long after COVID-19 is gone, no matter what that new normal looks like.
About the Author:
Andrew MacDowell is the President of Axxiome Americas. He has over two decades of senior management experience in the financial services industry with Fortune 500 financial institutions such as MBNA Corporation and Bank of America.
Andrew has seen success with roles in Business Development, Loyalty Marketing, Technology Project Management, Bank Operations, Payments, and Fraud. Most notably, Andrew was a key founding stakeholder of MBNA Canada during its peak growth phase in the Canadian marketplace, which ultimately led to it becoming the largest MasterCard issuing bank in Canada