“There’s an opportunity for banks to stop being afraid of outside factors and start embracing how they can take advantage of them.” -Jeffery Kendall

The shift towards digital operations began long before the pandemic, but the pandemic did act as a sort of catalyst to advance things forward. Though some companies want to turn back to how things were before, this really isn’t an option. The digital revolution is here to stay, and it’s essential for financial brands to get their digital acts together to move forward and experience growth.

Jeffery Kendall, Chairman & CEO at Nymbus, who provides best-in-class digital banking solutions to help financial brands delight their members and customers, joined the Banking on Digital Growth Podcast to discuss this very topic. 

New Decade, New Digital Growth 

2020 was the start of a new digital era. There were a lot of wins for financial brands in regards to maximizing their digital growth. Though everything was already going digital, a lot of financial brands started taking more risks with digital, and it paid off. 

Essentially, the pandemic forced brands to take a closer look at how they were running, and it allowed them to take some risks to make improvements. It gave them the nudge forward to invest in new products and services, and now they’re starting to see the fruits of their labors as everything they’ve invested in is coming into production. 

One of the biggest wins is that it allowed financial institutions to better understand the customer journey in relation to digital. It enabled them to take a closer look at how someone becomes a new customer and how they can provide better services and experiences to draw people in and hold onto them. 

Technology-enabled financial brands to boost their capabilities in regards to service, but it also enabled them to boost retention. By automating operations, it allows brands to free up more time to focus on building relationships and creating better customer experiences.

Investing in Digital is Now More Important Than Ever

One of the most interesting things to have come from the pandemic is this shift in focus on how we work and live our lives. This great resignation, as people are calling it, is happening as a result of people thinking about what it means to have a work-life balance and what it means to work in a different way. 

This is a very powerful trend that has a significant impact on brands. It means they can’t just go back to operating as they once did. This new way of thinking, of living, of working means investing in digital is now more important than ever.

And doing so can open up new growth opportunities. 

Even in terms of staffing and acquiring new talent, businesses can experience growth. As more and more people are working remotely, it opens up new opportunities to expand your business into new areas and acquire talent from different regions. The ability to acquire, train, and onboard new people has really been accelerated as a result of the pandemic and the digital changes being made. 

Getting Your Digital Foundation in Place to Strengthen Your Workforce and Your Customer Base

Despite things moving forward, there are still some financial brands that want to go back to the way things were. There is this big push for everyone to come back to the office, but CEOs and executives need to be thoughtful about enforcing these policies. If they start forcing people to come back when there is no need to, it can signal that you don’t trust your employees. 

Some companies will say that it’s about collaboration, but there are many ways to collaborate remotely. Ultimately, it’s an excuse. As Jeffery puts it, “You don’t have your business together if it requires you being in person.” Or in other words, you don’t have a solid digital foundation in place, or you don’t want to put the effort into digital that allows people to continue working remotely. 

There is an opportunity here to move forward and do better—we don’t want the pendulum to swing back the other way again. It’s all about finding balance or a happy medium, especially in regards to the employee experience. If employees are happier and more productive working remotely, this is ultimately better for your business. 

Employee experience has a direct impact on the customer experience and even so many other areas of the company. This new era of digital growth has resulted in people prioritizing better work-life balance, which has increased employee satisfaction. And when your employees are happy, your customers are happy because the quality of service and customer experience goes up. 

So really, what this means is that by strengthening your digital foundation, you are, in turn, strengthening your workforce and your customer base. 

The Next Wave of Digital Operations

As we look to the future, even just over the next couple of years, there are going to be some big opportunities for financial brands and FinTechs. As brands start waking up to how they use digital, it will completely transform the way they acquire new customers and sell new products or services. 

In the past few years, digital was all about technology. It was about tools that enabled people to check their balances, pay their bills, complete transactions, etc.—it was focused on simplifying the task of completing “financial chores.”

Digital was all about “how do I get stuff done?”

But now, as a result of the pandemic, things have shifted to digital onboarding, digital acquisition, client acquisition, and growing your footprint. This new wave of digital operations is going to be more about delivering new products and services that are digital through those channels that can be monetized. 

Brands will move beyond “what tools can we provide to help people complete their financial tasks?” to “what services can we provide to create better experiences and help consumers achieve their goals?” 

We’re going to see financial brands offering new products and services that are not what you might traditionally think of as a regulated product from a bank, such as advisory services, but it is something that helps the consumer live their life and builds better customer relationships. In the next few years, that will be where digital takes us, and the brands that have a solid digital foundation and focus on those things will be the ones that win and experience significant growth. 

Moving Your Financial Brand Forward

The next steps for financial brands looking to continue forward in their digital growth journey will be to really dig into what is possible in their market. Utilize data analytics and take a closer look at where you can go with digital. Try brainstorming around specific groups or niches of people that you can serve and what types of products and services would benefit them and help them out more. 

It doesn’t matter what group it is, whether it’s figuring out how to better help recent graduates with their student loans or helping economy workers that want to put a down payment on a house. Just do some brainstorming and analyze the data and look into partners that can help you, like Nymbus

It’s all about just sitting down and looking at how much you’ve got to invest and deciding where to place your bets. How can you use digital to your advantage to maximize your capabilities and  growth?