The banking and financial services industry is evolving quickly, and the need to adopt digital strategies is becoming more critical than ever — not only to keep up with the ever-evolving demands of tech-savvy consumers, but to stay competitive with the fintech startups challenging the status quo by delivering superior experiences. MeridianLink surveyed nearly 100 of its customers on 2024 expectations and predictions, and 42% of respondents believe credit unions and banks will prioritize the seamless omnichannel experience for consumers. What’s more, almost 64% think in-person banking will play less of a role in consumers’ daily lives. So, what does it all mean? Let’s dig in.
The rise of omnichannel banking
Omnichannel banking is a strategy that provides consumers with a wholly integrated experience across all possible touchpoints, including online, in-person, mobile, phone, email, and even video. An omnichannel approach empowers organizations to provide members with personalized experiences, a requirement if you want to keep today’s digital-first consumers satisfied and loyal.
Consumers want to bank in their preferred format, without any disruption or loss of information. Omnichannel banking isn’t just beneficial to consumers, but to the financial institution as well. With this approach, institutions can gather data at all touchpoints to personalize every interaction along every step of each customer’s unique financial journey.
When credit unions understand member behaviors and preferences, they are better prepared to offer customized recommendations, products, and support. So, while credit unions already have the benefit of meeting members in person and learning their preferred banking habits, omnichannel then allows for a customized level of service seamlessly across all touchpoints from online to in-person.
Omnichannel banking can also help improve an institution’s operational efficiencies and cost-effectiveness. Using data, they can optimize resource allocation and reduce redundancies by streamlining their processes. Deeper data insights throughout the member journey can help institutions maximize the impact of their staff by automating tedious, repetitive work, freeing up time to focus on support and proactive problem solving.
The shift to automated and digital-first experiences
Digital banking is here to stay: 20% of surveyed customers expect enhanced mobile banking apps in 2024. Millennials and Gen Z expect their banking providers to deliver seamless experiences, from streamlined digital applications to automated, AI-powered loan decisions.
To meet the demands of today’s digital-first audience, credit unions must adapt their offerings accordingly. Implementing an end-to-end frictionless workflow is pivotal, providing users with the best possible experience while minimizing human error and capturing member interest through the maximization of digital applications.
When faced with declining loan volume due to recent economic shifts, one credit union strategically adapted by employing digital automation to target specific audience segments using advanced logic. The approach centered on encouraging and incentivizing existing members without consumer checking accounts to open one, achieving three key goals seamlessly:
- Reaching a 699% ROI
- 4% of the target audience qualifying and obtaining new consumer products
- 1.5% of the total segment opening a new checking account
For less than $4,000, this credit union was able to grow consumer checking products while staying within their budget. Every institution will have a different set of needs to meet. What’s important is finding the strategy that works best for your members.
Key strategies for success in 2024
If you take away only one thing from this, it should be that credit unions need to invest in modern technology solutions that enable a seamless and secure digital banking experience that provides personalization at every interaction. A report by Finalytics.ai found that 40% of respondents are likely to leave their primary financial institution to access digital banking that resembles an online shopping experience. The people have spoken, and omnichannel banking and enhanced mobile experiences are expected. The sooner institutions adopt them, the better.
Integrating all channels to provide a unified and consistent member experience should be the first step financial institutions take in 2024. Start by leveraging data analytics to understand member behavior and tailor offerings accordingly. This will ensure that digital strategies employed will benefit the end user, fostering loyalty.
While omnichannel solutions are a great introduction to reaching consumers in every different area/meeting them where they are, McKinsey & Company recommends designing an experience for most members by focusing on two or three cross-channel member journeys that provide the most value to that group. By understanding consumer preferences, regulatory landscapes, and local competition, institutions can target specific groups of members with tailored messages and offerings while providing a seamless user experience.
Preparing for the future
The future of banking is undeniably digital. The MeridianLink survey highlights the growing demand for omnichannel and digital-first experiences. Consumers expect seamless, personalized, and secure interactions across all touchpoints. MeridianLink’s software solutions offer streamlined capabilities that help institutions achieve their digital-first goals.
Credit unions that embrace these trends and invest in modern technology solutions will be better positioned to thrive in the competitive landscape in 2024 and beyond. By prioritizing data-driven decision making, personalization, and robust security, institutions can build trust, enhance member satisfaction, and drive long-term success in the evolving digital era.