Banking as a Hospitality Industry: Why Client Experience Matters
Community banks understand the complex realities faced by their clients. They are ingrained in their respective regional communities; attuned to local economic and demographic factors. The more successful community banks are able to hone that expertise and, with it, forge strong, personal relationships with their clients. This insight is a major asset and a big reason why businesses that were initially denied loans during the pandemic’s early phase turned to their local community banks for support.
But the hospitality of community banks (and indeed the banking industry as a whole) is lacking an integral component: concierge service. Streamlined client experience, not just onboarding, must be the focus.A Banking Concierge
Successful concierge service is about personalizing a complete experience. This is done by removing internal silos, operating on a single end-to-end platform, and analyzing client data for
Banking today is a complicated endeavor for both client and bank personnel. Each department (account opening, lending, etc.) contains divisions (like retail, commercial, wealth management) that are often disconnected from each other. Each business line operates as an individual business with limited communication. Imagine you are looking to plan a family trip to Hawaii.
Hotel packages that include airline travel, activities, and airport pickup are an attractive option compared to relaying between airline company, hotel chain, taxi service, and snorkeling crew. This way the customer is at the center of everything: hotel choice, air travel, and airport pick up times depend on the customer’s preference and all these services interlock and market each other.
Airline ticket prices and a convenient online platform may be what entices people initially, but the package trips are what will keep them engaged. Community banks have become experts at quickly and efficiently opening accounts but a package experience is what will turn first-time clients into loyal customers. Implementing digitized workflows and platforms not only makes account management easier, it doubles as a kind of internal marketing initiative. Departments that were previously fragmented would be able cross-sell and build off of each other. Because of the enhanced internal communication, hand-off of client information would also be much more efficient. Insight into your customer journey resides in this information. And when you understand your client you can begin to offer tailored services. Who’s more likely to need a loan now? What appeals to small businesses? Which client would most benefit from wealth management services? By analyzing your customer’s behavior--implementing data management systems—banks are able to market different services without ever interrupting the customer journey.A Concierge Platform
Customers have come to expect all the convenience of online shopping in every industry. They want companies to adhere to their schedule, accommodate their needs, and engage with them across a multitude of digital channels. They want to be able to reach the company when it’s most convenient for them. Underneath this desire for convenience is a craving for recognition: customers want to know that they matter to the company that’s servicing them. Consequently, banks now need to reckon with these seemingly incongruous demands of remote convenience and personalized attention.
In the same way Disneyworld is made possible by the myriad of internal operations, planning, maintenance, and data analysis happening behind the scenes, banks need software infrastructure capable of uniting departments, effectively managing client information, digitizing back-office processes, and providing customers with a fast, convenient interface.
The client or borrower should be at the center of operations and their experience should be the priority. Disneyworld visitors don’t want to know about the peripheral struggles; They want to enjoy the magic kingdom. Similarly, guests at a resort don’t concern themselves with the event planning, maintenance, training, and preparation happening before their arrival; They want to have an enjoyable stay.
People like ease, but we also like personalized service. Addressing both requires the adoption of a concierge hospitality-like mindset alongside supporting infrastructure. Community banks are so good at fostering partnerships. The next step is to economize on that goodwill and utilize digital platforms that make the banking process easier for both the client and bank officer.
About Vikar Technologies
Vikar Technologies combines modern technology and deep industry experience to help banks digitally transform their business. Our Vikar Digital Automation Platform is highly scalable and easily configurable into core backend and data systems using open API’s and 3rd party integrations to non-Vikar modules. This allows for the consolidation of core data, a streamlined loan origination process, and improved client lifecycle management. We enable our banks to onboard and maintain clients in a complete, end-to-end digital experience resulting in straight-through digital processing. And because our platform was architected to sit on top of existing systems, bank officers can focus on relationship building and value-added analysis.