Bankers, make your Internet site a fully functional branch!

Now more than ever, bankers and credit union managers need to make sure their Internet web sites are fully functional branches.  I purposefully used the word ‘web site’ because an Internet branch is comprised of the entire web site including content pages, online banking, and other transactional links.  Consumers are increasingly expecting to find a fully functional Internet branch whether they are accessing it for information, rates, customer service, or transactions. This applies to all account holder segments, including those with the highest balances.

Take a quick inventory

Take a look at your Internet web site. Are all of the products and services you offer explained on the site? Do you have services where you direct an existing account holder or prospect to visit a physical branch location to complete the transaction? If so, you have a crippled Internet branch that’s not meeting the needs and expectations of the empowered consumer today. Short of spitting cash out of the computer or mobile device, you should be thinking of ways to offer every service you do in a physical branch through the Internet.

But the Internet is not secure. It’ll invite fraudsters.

You need to come to terms with this way of thinking to make relevant changes to your offerings that serve account holders instead of penalizing them. Yes, criminals live on the Internet. Criminals also live and commit crimes within physical bank branches and offices.  To combat this, follow the sage advice of security experts in developing a framework for a complete security system at your financial institution. The Internet is only a piece of the overall security concerns you have. Don’t penalize your channel for serving account holders by limiting the services based on an outdated policy.

And the winners are

In the Accenture Global Consumer Behavior Study, 2009 there was a question “What degree do the following describe what you like about the companies you do business with today?”. The top three answers receiving a 7 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10 were:

  • Easy to do business with
  • Trustworthy
  • High-quality customer service

Keeping and growing customers with high quality customer service is nothing new.  Why show your account holders or prospective account holders a weaknesses in your customer service by not offering them a true multi-channel approach to your products and services? Today’s consumers wants to use mobile, the Internet, and branches to conduct their business with you. When you are where your customer is then you have a start at being easy to do business with.

Now that’s a recipe for success. You can bank on it.