Prior to the pandemic, the banking industry had been slowly inching its way towards embracing digital transformation. Some banks were still hesitant to revamp their communications strategies and adopt new technology, but once community shutdowns began and stay at home guidance was put in place, most were left with little to no choice but to go digital. The pandemic greatly accelerated the technology shift as customers were largely unable or not willing to visit branches in-person during the public health crisis.
Banks and credit unions are now committed to updating their technology to meet today’s changing customer preferences. Mobile apps and online chat are being widely deployed so that customers have the convenient anywhere, anytime access they both desire and need. Though the quick pivot to offering digital experiences satisfied both the consumers’ urgent need for remote banking capabilities and the overarching desire for digital communication, it did not come without significant challenges. One of the largest issues that banks faced when undergoing the accelerated shift to digital banking was security as potential consequences include increased sensitive data exposure and loss of customer loyalty.
The urgency to create online solutions was clear, but in order to make digital communications possible so quickly, security regulations around digital communications had to be relaxed. As the banking industry looks ahead to post-pandemic and beyond, one thing is certain: the consumers’ financial data must be fully secure. Customers that are not confident that their financial institution is keeping their data is secure will take their business elsewhere.
To ensure the privacy and protection of customer information, banks must prioritize a security-first approach, upgrade their communications solutions to provide a variety of channels for customers to engage in, and keep up to date on compliance.
Prioritize a Security-First Approach
As banks adopt new technology to meet changing customer expectations, the security of that technology is paramount to the customer experience. Making it easy for customers to interact with the organization while still providing the highest level of security in the experience is a delicate balance. Because of the demand for a seamless, convenient digital customer experience, today’s banking organizations often wind up sacrificing the level of security their technology provides.
As banks also increase their number of digital customer interactions, it is critical to prioritize a security-first approach to all applications and systems. To do so, banks should seek out providers, partners and solutions that are inherently secure or were developed with stringent security standards for highly regulated industries such as banking.
As banks deploy new solutions, they should also ensure that the technology they are using complies with privacy regulations such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which ensures proper processing and storage of sensitive authentication data and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), which requires banks to explain their information-sharing practices to consumers. In addition to PCI DSS and GLBA, seeking out communication solutions that are HITRUST CSF certified helps to ensure that both the vendor and its solution have undergone rigorous scrutiny and are a verified secure partner. The more confident customers are in the security of their digital communications with a bank, the greater their loyalty to that institution becomes.
Give Your Communications Technology an Upgrade
Just as data privacy is essential to building customer loyalty, so is providing consumers with multiple channels to connect with a banking organization. Since today’s consumers have high expectations for the ability to communicate with their bank through a variety of digital channels that are easily accessible, it is critical that banking organizations invest in updating their communications solutions to meet the increasing demands.
Consider the following example of a customer looking to connect with a loan officer at their bank to get preapproved for a mortgage. Rather than making an appointment to visit with a loan officer in-person at their local branch due to limited hours of operation during the pandemic, the customer schedules an appointment to meet virtually. During the meeting the customer shares their desktop with the loan officer through co-browse, allowing for more efficient assistance. Since sensitive information is being transmitted through the virtual appointment, it is critical that the bank’s communications technology is designed to keep the customer’s information secure.
Adopting an omnichannel communications system that can move freely and securely across all types of interactions such as chat, file transfer, video, voice or SMS, helps meet consumer expectations for a satisfactory digital experience. The more satisfied customers are with their digital banking experience, the more likely they are to remain loyal to the organization over the long term.
Stay Sharp on Compliance
In addition to deploying a unified communications solution that was purpose-built for security, staying up to date with the compliance of that technology is crucial for banking organizations. Maintaining compliance pays dividends when it comes to keeping sensitive consumer data secure as well as retaining customers.
For example, consider the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which regulates telemarketing and auto-dialed calls. Banking organizations that are up to date on the latest TCPA information can validate their compliance and, at the same time, engage with their customers in a smarter way when it comes to sending text messages or making payment or appointment reminder calls. Staying abreast of the latest regulatory compliance in the industry results in more secure communications and loyal customers.
As banks and credit unions continue down the digital path to create next level customer experiences, they will need to make a strong commitment to keeping their customers’ information secure and private to ensure long term loyalty. Understanding the starting points can help organizations to chart a course to creating a solid security and compliance strategy.
Perry Price, CEO, Revation Systems