Forms, correspondence, written statements, contracts, subscription forms, informational and in-depth materials, service delivery receipts, transactional documents: The content that has conveyed corporate communications over the years has always enabled banks and financial services companies to interact with their customers.
In banking, as in many other industries, digital transformation is profoundly redefining business models and business processes, especially those related to communication. In particular, today’s new technologies are able to significantly help banks consolidate and develop relationships with their customers and markets by making customer communication-related activities increasingly efficient and scalable. Customer communication management (CCM) in banking fits right in with this change, providing financial institutions with an effective and efficient tool to offer increasingly digital customers the opportunity for a true multichannel journey.
Doxee has been supporting banking industry companies on their digitization journey for nearly two decades, through the provision of cutting-edge IT solutions and all-round expertise in developing advanced ways of digital interaction: products created to communicate transparently, effectively, and engagingly with millions of customers.
Before addressing how Customer Communications Management is changing the banking industry, let’s take a quick look at the context.
The digital revolution in banking: challengers and the impact on branches
According to Statista.com, the use of online contact modes and the preference for mobile banking will increase steadily through 2024. The trend will assume remarkable dimensions in the Asian market (Far East and China), which will see the number of active users jump from 805 million (2020) to one billion (2024). Although Asia represented the largest market for online banking in 2020, the countries with the highest penetration rates are all European (South Korea ranked sixth, with a penetration rate of 74%).
The trend toward widespread digitization of banking services thus seems unstoppable and it’s helping impose a new logic in the design of bank-customer relationships.
On the one hand, online banking provides users with a quick and easy way to conduct transactions, saving them from having to physically visit branches. On the other hand, as more and more customers conduct their banking operations remotely, banks are gradually reducing the number of branches, resulting in significant savings in maintenance costs. Over the past decade, commercial banks in the United States have closed more than 10,400 branches.
Also in Italy, as in other Western countries, we’re seeing customers abandon branches, with more than 4 million Italians, around 7% of the total, who do not even have a branch that can be reached within a reasonable amount of time. In 3,062 municipalities, nearly 40% of the total number of Italian municipalities, there are no longer any bank branches. This is the situation described in a report by FABI, the Federazione Autonoma Bancari Italiani, which highlights how banks have progressively reduced their territorial presence, which is also due to the shift of many services to digital platforms.
The analysis reveals “the conspicuous distancing of banks from their territories, between the advent of new technologies and the need to reduce costs.” Thus, as banks close branches, a significant segment of the Italian population risks being excluded: older people, for example, who are unfamiliar with digital tools, or those who live in areas where there is little or insufficient internet coverage.
At the same time, the number of digital-only banks is growing. These are also known as challengers or neobanks, which provide banking services exclusively through digital platforms. Taking advantage of low maintenance costs and simplified operations, these technologically advanced entities with a rather aggressive entrepreneurial style are challenging the large players that historically dominate the industry. The total value of the neobank market worldwide, which was about $47.4 billion in 2021, is projected to grow to more than $2 trillion by 2030.
The state of e-banking in Italy: varying digital intensity and the advent of FinTechs
In the aforementioned report, FABI points out that e-banking development in Italy is still low compared to the European average, with less than half of bank customers (45%) using digital channels, including apps and websites, compared to an average of 58% in countries such as Spain and France, which have projected customer rates on digital banking of 65% and 72%.
According to a survey by the Bank of Italy on digital transformation in the Italian banking sector, published in April of last year, digital transformation, with limits and slowdowns, has nonetheless spread evenly in Italy, and with varying speed depending on the different types of business involved. Digitization began with payment services: in 1998 already a quarter of banks allowed their customers to make or receive payments digitally; 10 years later, in 2008, this ratio was close to 90%, and in 2018 all banks surveyed were providing digital access. Moreover, in the same year, 75% of banks (corresponding to more than 80% of deposits) allowed online micropayments and peer-to-peer money transfers via mobile devices, reflecting customers’ preference for these tools.
Since the early 2000s, the digitization process has also expanded to wealth management, albeit at a slower pace than observed for other banking services. In 2018, fewer than 60% of the banks surveyed were placing savings products through digital channels.
Digital intensity (i.e., the ability to almost completely finalize a transaction or contract with digital tools) to date is largely heterogeneous across business areas, with poor performance for residential mortgages (the loans designed for people who decide to buy a property) compared to consumer credit and – to an even greater extent – wealth management. In contrast, digital intensity is very high for payment services.
Finally, it should be noted how IT transformation in banking is closely linked to the emerging phenomenon of FinTech companies, which concerns the adoption of technologically intensive and innovative processes that could lead to new financial products and services.
Designing personalized experiences to maximize the effectiveness of communications
On the banking institution side, the progressive reduction in the number of branches has accelerated the transformation of communication processes in the industry, reduced costs, and streamlined and promoted a more advanced data culture.
Consumers, on the other hand, are looking for solutions that enable them to reduce friction in the path to purchase, subscribe, renew products and services, increase the value of decisions, and take advantage of personalized data-driven experiences.
To foster customer progression along the customer journey and create a set of truly meaningful experiences, banks, credit unions, and other financial players must use customer data and information proactively, across all channels, to develop relevant and timely communication. A clearly defined loyalty strategy that is properly executed should maximize the effectiveness of communication for each of these interactions, on each individual touch point. Potential transactions, product offers and business proposals, insights, advice and recommendations—each piece of content must be tailored to the customer profile with the ultimate goal of creating engagement.
Loyalty in banking can only be achieved by implementing new customer-centric business models, which in turn require new channels and especially new modes of communication. Customer Communication Management represents the most comprehensive solution to this need.
Customer Communication Management in banking: a new way of communicating
Streamlining and promoting the digitization of the entire organization has become key to making communication processes efficient while reducing costs.
It’s a revolutionary new way of communicating where Customer Communication Management is at the very center. Banks and financial services organizations are reorganizing to be able to adapt and integrate CCM programs so that they can evolve to meet customers in a complex and increasingly competitive market. The long-term goal? To be able to intercept new generations—starting with Millennials and ending with digital natives.
In this attempt to structure communication to anticipate the trends of the now near future, financial services companies are now taking stock of the initiatives undertaken to date. Which investments have worked and which have not? What opportunities have been missed? In an ever-changing landscape, financial institutions need customer communication management that does more than just get the job done quickly.
They need a system that actually improves the customer experience.
That can produce communications and content that conforms to multiple channels while delivering the same message.
That can meet ever-higher expectations and move the conversation forward with customers who are more critical and elusive every day.
The urgency is to move toward an “industrialization of communications management,” as Capgemini called it, to operate efficiently at scale while keeping pace with business results, target audience needs, and regulatory changes.
Customer Communication Management in banking helps banks and financial institutions build communication programs and ultimately set up and implement a digital publishing strategy. We are witnessing the emergence of a new way of communication, a scalable and automated communication system capable of integrated upselling and cross-tasking. By replacing outdated systems and methodologies and unlocking the full potential of data across all channels, Customer Communication Management in banking is helping to expand wallet share and build customer loyalty.
The Benefits of Customer Communication Management in Banking
Customer Communication Management is a strategy through which organizations streamline and accelerate the way they create, distribute, store, and update their communications with customers. A CCM ensures that the communications produced and distributed are personalized, interactive, and able to foster the development of useful and beneficial conversations for all stakeholders involved.
Banks, insurance companies, and other financial service providers generate a variety of communications every time they interact with their customers: correspondence, company policy updates, account statements, sending claims, renewal notifications, and informational materials about new products and services. With effective Customer Communication Management, communication becomes a factor in competitive advantage.
- A CCM enables service desk or front office staff to generate and distribute personalized customer communications in real time.
- With a CCM, you can identify new potential customers and customize offers, and send quotes and proposals faster. If the chances of acquiring new customers increase, so do upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
- CCM platforms make it possible to automate the generation and distribution of large volumes of correspondence, eliminating the need to rely on paper and manual postage and considerably cutting operational costs.
- Financial services organizations operate in a highly regulated industry where there are precise compliance standards, usually complex and dynamic, that govern how customer data should be stored and used. An effective CCM is especially important for preparing for periodic audits and communicating in a compliant manner with its customers through the most appropriate channels, such as email, phone calls, cell phones, text messages, social media, and web interfaces.
- A CCM gives customers more options for how to interact and communicate with the bank through their preferred channels. With self-service features, for example, customers can independently access the documents they need, anywhere, anytime. Wait times for customer service are reduced. Overall, the customer experience improves and retention rates grow.
- The automation built into CCM tools lightens the manual workload of teams, relieves employee stress, and promotes more consistent and productive communication. It also decreases the chances of human error.
- CCM provides a consolidated framework that enables internal teams (marketing, sales, customer service) to interact quickly and easily across various touch points using a standardized user interface. The result is a considerable improvement in internal collaboration.
Not all financial services organizations have the in-house IT expertise needed to implement, integrate, and manage a CCM platform. In that case, engaging a partner for expert advice will avoid costly rework and potential frustration. A partner like Doxee.
Doxee document experience: the first cloud-based product for document process management
The Doxee document experience line enables the implementation of a Customer Communications Management strategy in the banking sector aimed at the digital world. Thanks to its cloud service model, Doxee processes companies’ data to optimize their document production and distribution processes, with a view to personalization and multichannel. It helps financial institutions transform every transactional document into an excellent tool with which to enhance customer relationships.
Customer Communication Management solutions in Banking developed by Doxee not only help advance an entirely customer-centric technology trend but also promote a real revolution in business perspective: making communication-related processes increasingly efficient and scalable and consolidating and developing customer relationships.