Snippet: Banks’ focus on digital transformation means we are all a lot more reliant these days on digital tools to perform everything from routine to complex financial transactions.

Banks’ focus on digital transformation means we are all a lot more reliant these days on digital tools to perform everything from routine to complex financial transactions. Where brick and mortar establishments and personal bankers were once the go-to to guide consumers through opening a new account or applying for a loan, we now have at our disposal a long list of self-help options: apps and portals, ATMs and kiosks, chatbots, and video and telephone banking.

Though the benefits of digitization – safety, compliance, and good old convenience – abound for both consumers and banks, the burning question is: has it all come at too high a cost? In a race to save time and money, close branches, and compete for customers by adding more and more self-service channels, have financial institutions lost sight of what’s really important?

Digital overload

Many industry experts agree that to capitalize on digitization, financial institutions need to retain some of the softer stuff and not fall into the trap of thinking that all-digital banking is what their customers want. As Forrester emphasizes in its 2018 banking customer experience index,1 digital-only might not be the best strategy: “Conventional wisdom states that customers prefer digital experience,” the report says. “As a result, companies race to create entirely digital experiences to entice customers away from contact centers and branches. That’s a mistake. Our data shows that the real situation is more complex.”

Read: 5 Essential elements to increase customer engagement in the digital age

Having realized that they’re now competing on the “how” more than the “what”, many banks are starting to steer their digitization efforts in a slightly different direction. Yes, they’re still at work optimizing their mobile apps and web portals. In parallel, though, they’re re-thinking the importance of personalization and high service levels across all touchpoints. They’re starting to focus less on the channels themselves and more on customers’ needs, rolling out integrated offerings and meticulously designed experiences.

Interestingly, branches are also starting to make a comeback as important components in the omnichannel journey, at least in some regions. They’re being reinvented to appeal to even the most loyal of digital banker, with emphasis on the role of both digital tools and physical interactions at branch level to strengthen relationships and drive sales.

In 2018, for example, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America went against “the death of the branch” trend and announced that they would each be building between 400 and 500 new branches over the next few years.2 In South Africa, Capitec, which has been awarded on more than one occasion for leading the pack in digitization, surprised the industry late last year by saying it would be adding to its branch tally and hiring more – not less – staff during a time when retrenchments due to digitization were widespread.3

Why all the fuss, though? Here are a few clues.

Engaged customers are loyal, happy customers

Banks whose customers are fully engaged have essentially hit the jackpot. Engaged customers bring in far more revenue, possess greater purchase intent and consideration, and are more likely to build a valuable bond with their banks. But successful customer engagement doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience and a concerted effort to find that rare, delicate balance between the programmed and the personal.

Our friends at The Financial Brand say that these five attributes are common among financial institutions that are digitally efficient while maintaining a human edge:4

  • They make their banking interfaces customizable to their customers’ preferences.
  • They put a real person on standby within a second’s reach to assist at critical moments.
  • They provide proactive and empathetic responses during difficult times.
  • They focus on engagement through communication rather than trying to sell.
  • They build trust by using discretion and displaying “human” behavior in individual cases.

The right investment in digital capabilities and features also play a huge role in driving customer engagement. Of value here are intuitive design and navigation; an extended selection of notifications (beyond fraud alerts); enhanced security comprising multi-factor authentication (including biometrics), and highly functional push notifications or alerts, which have shown to be extremely powerful in both customer experience and education. Some say that open rates for push notifications can be between as much as 30% to 60% with interaction rates of up to 40%!5

Entersekt on upping the engagement

At Entersekt, we understand the value of engagement and the role it plays in your business’s success. We also believe that good user experience and meaningful customer journeys need not stand in opposition to strong security. Which is why we designed our solutions to embrace every step of the customer enablement journey, allowing you to offer your customers safe, innovative, and personalized touchpoints throughout.

Watch this space over the coming weeks for more on how we can help drive your engagement efforts.

At Entersekt, we believe in the power of trust. Security is at the heart of our customer-first approach to digital banking experiences. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you make the most of the relationship you already have with your customers.

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Cara Visser


Cara is a high-functioning content strategy and plain language addict whose self-proclaimed purpose in life is to fill the world with good, clean, meaningful content. She loves the challenge of simplifying and translating complex information, especially if there’s something new to learn along the way.

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Entersekt is an innovator of customer-centric fintech solutions. Financial services providers and other enterprises rely on our patented mobile identity system to provide both security and the best in convenient new digital experiences to their customers, irrespective of the service channel. With us, they can concentrate on their innovation roadmap, while delivering intuitive, low-friction digital experiences to their customers.