2020 created an environment where digital services were tested both in terms of service offerings and access by consumers. In the area of service offerings, financial institutions quickly learned where their digital strategy fell short as accountholders could not perform their necessary tasks through the platform. In terms of access, for example, any functionality gaps between online and mobile banking may have been more noticeable during this time when members were more reliant on digital banking services. As financial institutions examine the ability of their digital platforms to meet consumer needs post-2020, that analysis may reveal the need for an invigoration, a digital “makeover.”
Product Choice is Critical
Once the desired areas for improvement are identified, the next step is to find the partner best equipped to deliver those improvements. This critical step requires that your digital platform be supported by a company which offers options and flexibility to meet those needs, either through its own product set or through integration of any third-party products/services of your choice.
The initiative to create a digital makeover is a big enough endeavor. It does not make sense to proceed down that path with a company that does not (and will not) meet your functionality needs. To choose the wrong partner platform may further deteriorate the value of your application instead of improving it.
Platform flexibility is key. Can the digital banking platform be configured to meet your usability strategy? Or is it a cookie-cutter system that you are expected to accept as is? Can the digital banking provider interface with the third-party products that YOU want to add to your application? Or do they specify which third-parties are supported? A successful makeover will create a better user experience that meets your Credit Union’s objectives. That will likely be a combination of a more robust product/service offering, increased functionality, willingness to interface with third-party products that you’ve selected, and a more attractive presentation.
The ideal outcome of an effective makeover is more users on the platform, performing more tasks. But, for those results to be achieved, the platform provider chosen must have the capabilities to perform the makeover.
The experience and knowledge of the digital provider’s team directly impacts the effectiveness of the makeover. In terms of digital banking, the depth of the platform’s integration with the core processing system is a critical component to enhanced functionality, presentation, and performance. That enhanced performance is essential to bring about greater efficiencies which will result in cost savings to the Credit Union (more on that in a moment).
The Developers and Product Team are the “artists” of the makeover. Together these teams ensure that the new products/services/platform and user-friendly presentation will provide an improved user experience - where the end user can get more done in the same or less time than prior to the makeover. The resulting “free time” then creates opportunities for the user to explore additional functionality within the platform and to encounter more products/services worthy of adopting. The result is a digital platform the users will be happy to return to. A successful end-user experience, then, is directly proportionate to the experience of the provider’s Development and Product staff. Choose wisely...
Financial Benefits of the New You
So, you have designed and executed your digital makeover. The platform is more robust, with improved presentation and functionality. But wasn’t there also a goal to achieve enhanced financial performance from your makeover efforts?
An effective makeover, as mentioned earlier, attracts and retains users. New user growth and increased service usage by existing users creates economies of scale around those products and services, which has financial benefits to the Credit Union.
Additionally, the enhanced capabilities should result in the user completing more self-service activities. With a digital banking provider that has deep core integration experience, the “heavy lifting” between the core and the platform should enable maximum automation to complete more activities without the need for back-office staff intervention. The resulting reduction in staff requirements to perform only activities that cannot be automated will bring about cost savings since the associated human resources costs are reduced.
As many businesses learned during COVID, just offering a digital platform doesn’t create a guaranteed profitability scenario. So is true with the makeover of an existing platform; the time, talent, and resources dedicated to the effort are only effective if the platform produces increased financial results.
It’s Not Over
One of the important lessons from COVID is that digital platforms must be continuously analyzed against consumer requirements. When a digital user needs to perform a function, either the platform can fulfill that request, or it cannot. The capabilities and the efficiencies of the digital banking platform must be compelling enough to meet today’s member needs to facilitate continued usage. But with an eye to the future, the capabilities and appearance must continue to evolve. And we don’t mean a makeover once every 3-5 years. The digital banking application needs ongoing advancements.
We advocate the concept of “continuous evolution” as a makeover strategy for your digital banking platform. This approach is based on capturing timely feedback from current users, weaving in the Credit Union’s vision, incorporating new third-party solutions, and keeping an eye on industry best practices, to incrementally improve and evolve the user experience. The outcome will be the retention and attraction of new productive users, and the financial gains that result.
Connect’s newly re-architected digital banking platform enables each Credit Union client the flexibility to customize their UI/UX, tailored to their desired layout, and Connect’s Development Team will achieve that layout for you during implementation. There is no more cookie-cutter approach, and we feel that’s a complete game changer. Further, whenever your Credit Union would like to make incremental changes to your UI/UX over time, Connect stands ready to help you evolve, facilitating the ongoing makeover that you envision, on the Credit Union’s timetable.