The Intersection of Financial Institutions and Technology Leaders

4 Steps to Implementing Commercial Banking Technology While Keeping a Human Touch

By Ryan Canin

Commercial banks are built on relationships. Your bank revolves around connecting and engaging with clients personally and knowing their unique business needs. So when you consider introducing technology, the challenge is often how to do so without removing the human touch that differentiates your bank.

Is it possible for banks to enhance their relationship-driven approach with technology rather than diminish it? Here are four steps to help you evaluate and meet technology needs – all while keeping the client experience top of mind.

Step 1: Understand Your Current Client Experience
First, define your client personas. For many bankers, this should already be common knowledge. You can likely cite off the top of your head how much of your business comes from high-net-worth individuals in a particular industry, versus agriculture or commercial real estate investors. But explicit detail here matters. The more clearly you can articulate who your target clients are, the better you can build an experience tailored for them and further differentiate your bank.

From there, detail what each client segment looks for in their banking experience and how your current experience matches up. An easy way to do this is to send surveys where clients share honest feedback on their experience. Another excellent way to engage is to ask top clients to join you on your journey of modernization. Invite them to a dinner where top clients can share thoughts and feedback and use this to enlist their help in piloting new initiatives.

Step 2: Map Out Your Internal Processes
To fully understand the client experience, you also have to look internally. Start mapping out your internal processes that support clients. Gather feedback from bankers and other client-facing teams on what prevents them from offering an even better service. Where do they currently spend time?

Often teams who have been doing the same work for years won’t even realize that a lot of their work is painfully repetitive. It’s worth having someone draw up a journey map of what each member of the banking team does to open accounts, onboard them, and maintain them for example. This exercise will help provide a heat map of where you need to improve internally as well.

Step 3: Determine What the Ideal Experience Looks Like
Before you start solutioning, define your “why” and your ideal outcomes. Your “why” is the primary goal motivating your team, such as improving profitability or growing deposits. Your ideal outcomes are the specific metrics you hope to hit if the project is successful. Maybe you’ll be able to open accounts faster, or possibly your average customer satisfaction will improve.

From there, define what the solution should look like. Take inspiration from other banks or software experiences you admire. Your approach for improving your experience will likely fall into one of two key service areas: self-service or white-glove service.

For self-service, look out for areas that can be streamlined, and where time can be better spent creating value for clients, instead of on administrative work and minutia. This category can also apply to areas that are prone to client misalignment or confusion, where client visibility could help answer questions proactively.

When it comes to white-glove service, improvements are best suited for areas of your client journey that are impersonal and generic, preventing you from offering a truly differentiated service to clients. Find points in your journey that are key to attaining and retaining clients, and ensure bankers have the tools to engage in a modern, intuitive way.

As your project evolves, come back to these to make sure you’re still on track with what you hoped to achieve.

Step 4: Prioritize the Most Impactful Improvements
By now, you’ll likely have a robust list of ideas to enhance your banking experience. Each idea will be exciting, but it’s important to keep in mind that not everything can be implemented all at once.

One simple way to prioritize is to start with the solutions closest to the beginning of the client journey. A great initial place to start is account opening – this step is crucial in growing your bank and engaging the client. Now you can start your journey creating an exceptional experience for your clients, using technology to make that happen.

Ryan Canin is CEO and Co-Founder of DocFox, commercial account opening software that powers over 400 financial institutions globally to rapidly onboard any type of commercial client.