Beyond the marketing hype: truly digital client acquisition

Passing by the Desjardins at Guy Concordia metro, you’ll notice large advertisements clearly targeting the students of the nearby university. With their casual vernacular and smiling co-eds, the ads also feature technology more than some of their other ads you might see around the city.

The message seems to be that Desjardins is hip and up to date enough for tech-savvy young adults. But why should tech be seen as something that would only appeal to the millennial generation?

In our last post, The delicate balance between digital and retail, we examined the statistic reported by the 2016 Digital Banking Report “State of the Digital Customer Journey” that the vast majority of financial institutions can’t open a new account entirely online or on a mobile device.

Finding the right balance by embracing technology can be a facilitator to improve on in-person interactions and reduce the amount of time to service.

But here’s another finding from the same study: only 16% of financial organizations provide a tablet assist account opening option in a branch.

So despite the lingo and imagery used in student-targeted ads from different banks and insurance agencies all around the city, the vast majority of financial institutions are falling short on using technology to enhance the retail experience.

If you walk into a branch of your bank in a different city, or even just in another part of your own, you’ll likely find yourself frustrated by long wait times. And once you actually speak to a representative, you’ll have to spend more time getting them up to speed on your file, a further waste of time.

This is due in part to archaic branch-based ID verification, with information scattered across multiple accounts and systems. They have clients’ information in the system, but it takes time to find it or, or get one manager to forward that information to someone else. This prevents financial institutions from having a 360 degree view of their clients.

On the insurance side, tablet assist account opening would help reduce the colossal amount of paperwork associated with each new account opening. Humania, Industrial Alliance, and Excellence are all fully digitized now. Many frustrated advisors are switching to companies who only use digital because paper is so frustrating.

Many advisors are also moving away from the investment sector for the same reason. The return on investment (ROI) just isn’t worth it after you take into account the time spent on internal administrative tasks.

The takeaway is that, while many financial institutions are touting their tech-savyness, the reality doesn’t quite live up to the billboard. The marketing message is there, but marketing alone isn’t solving the problem. It’s masking the problems internally within organizations.

To truly fix the problem, the financial sector has to be more transparent about where things are in transit. We need to reach a place where we can communicate in real time. The rest of the world is operating at a more transparent granular level these days, and it’s time the financial sector caught up.