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Three Ways Community Financial Institutions Can Boost Customer Experience

We're in a new era where consumers carry their financial institution in their pocket. The convenience and ease of the mobile experience guide the way they manage money and plan for the future. In short, account holders no longer have to visit your branch to meet their everyday banking needs.

To help your institution compete in this on-the-go economy, we explore the areas that mobilely-minded account holders care about most.

Focusing on these three priorities should give you the tools needed to craft a customer experience initiative that's consistently fresh and dynamic:

1)  Investing in the community

According to the 2019 Debit Issuer Study, commissioned by PULSE and conducted by Oliver Wyman, 670 million mobile-wallet debit transactions were performed in the U.S. last year, and mobile transactions represent about 1% of total debit activity. These numbers are not huge compared to overall debit volume, but they are continuing to grow. What could this mean for community financial institutions? It means you have to commit to a consistent and exceptional brand experience. But what is a brand experience and how do you deliver on it?

The simplest way to think about a brand experience is that it's a feeling your account holders get from interacting with you over time. It's a combination of how they feel when they encounter your brand, how you enrich and support the community they belong to, and how you put the "community" into community banking.

To grow with your account holders, you also have to grow with the community—not something megabanks can easily achieve. So, think about how your institution shows up for the community you serve every opportunity it gets.

2)  Making design and functionality a priority

With mobile on the rise as the way consumers access banking functions, it’s easy for them to transact. Rebecca Cox, a U.K.-based design specialist, boils down user design experience like this: "Effective design is all the work you DON'T ask people who use your products to do."

So, how hard are you asking your mobile and online banking customers to work right now? Are you putting the most needed functionalities, like mobile check deposit and person-to-person transfers, top-of-menu? Are you offering easy ways to access their debit cards, perhaps to put a freeze on a misplaced card or quickly transfer funds from savings to checking?

You want a savvy design that helps your account holders move seamlessly through your brand so they can interact and transact with ease. With 69% of customers in a MarketingProfs survey saying they'll be more loyal to a brand with good design, it's time to bump design experience to the top of your list.

3)  Always thinking about omnichannel and security

The last step when thinking about a dynamic customer experience from the user lens: Are you giving them the best possible brand experience across all channels? The key here is to begin everything not with technology at the forefront, but with humans. Powerful user design starts with humans.

Think about the busy nature of your institution’s customers. They want sites that load quickly, have high levels of security like biometric verification, and simplicity. Everything they need up front and fast, and nothing that slows them down or puts their personal information at risk. Think about how your institution addresses security, simplicity and speed all at once. It’s crucial to hold all of these features to the highest standard to create the best possible overall user experience.

Your Goals

As you look for partners in your journey to deliver a dynamic customer experience, don't forget the importance of your debit program relationship. Discover® Debit and its commitment to highly competitive interchange, a simplified and transparent billing structure, cardholder benefits and dedicated support means a debit program that supports your goals and puts your cardholders’ experience first.