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digital banking Archives - POPi/o Video Banking

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Surges, Staffing, and Strategy: How Financial Institutions can Stay Ahead with Digital Customer Engagement

By | Blog, Digital Customer Engagement

The pandemic has tested all of us. We’ve all changed our lives, our ways of doing business, the dynamics of our relationships, and more. For many of us, these changes have presented new challenges that have tested our patience and forced us to make sacrifices. For some of us, the cost has been far greater than an inconvenience or a missed opportunity. 

And now, a full two years after this all began, the COVID infection rate in the US is the highest it’s ever been. In-person appointments are being cancelled, remote work is being enacted (or reenacted), and Financial Institutions (FIs) across the country are rolling out digital platforms to serve their customers outside the branch.

These are a few of the reasons why Digital Customer Engagement is more important than ever before. With POPi/o, your FI can deliver all your personalized, branch-based services through convenient digital channels, allowing your team to safely serve customers in a convenient and cost-effective way. 

Staffing Struggles

Allowing banks and credit unions to operate safely in the midst of COVID surges is only one of the ways a Digital Customer Engagement platform could help your institution navigate the current landscape. Because, along with surges, many FIs are also facing serious staffing issues. According to The Financial Brand, 80% of community banks and credit unions believe their biggest concern going into 2022 is staffing. Many branches are staffed with only one or two employees, and some are limited to drive-thru-only service.

With such limited access and so few experts to serve their customers, it’s become hard for FIs to operate efficiently. Opportunities are lost, call centers are overloaded, and product experts are underutilized. But with an effective digital platform, your FI can serve a broad customer base, even with scaled-back staffing. 

Lending officers and other experts can work remotely or from a centralized location, eliminating the need to staff branches with all your product specialists. And with the integration of an AI assistant for simple customer service inquiries, you can lessen the workload for your call centers.

Digital Strategy

An effective digital strategy can not only act as a safety net from staffing struggles and COVID surges, but can also provide added benefits and new opportunities. Centralized lending departments can be enacted to make services more efficient than ever before. Expanded service hours are made possible through serving customers outside the branch. And everything from simple interactions to detailed, branch-based processes can be driven through convenient digital channels.

In an unpredictable world, FIs still need a reliable way to service customer relationships and deliver personalized services. With a Digital Customer Engagement platform from POPi/o, your FI has all the tools it needs to stay ahead of the curve—no matter what comes your way. 

Ready to learn more? Let’s talk.

Braving the Storm: How POPi/o Helped Xplore FCU Serve Members During Hurricane Ida

By | Blog, Client Experiences, Digital Customer Engagement

When Lousiana-based Xplore Federal Credit Union implemented the POPi/o platform a year ago, they didn’t know how heavily they would come to rely on it come hurricane season.

This summer, the deadly and destructive Hurricane Ida struck the struck the gulf coast, leaving many without power, food, water, and other vital resources. In the video below, Xplore President and CEO, Rafael Rondon summarizes the palpable sense of relief his credit union felt knowing they at least had POPi/o to help them continue serving members through this difficult time.

Being a Louisiana-based financial institution, Rafael and his team were no strangers to hurricanes. They had seen the damage sustained in previous hurricanes. So, when Hurricane Ida arrived, they knew they’d have to think fast to keep their members taken care of.

“Hurricane Ida hit on Monday morning,” Rafael begins, detailing the experience. “But by Friday afternoon we were up and running using POPi/o.” Watch the video below to hear more on how Xplore got up and running so quickly.

Most of what they were doing was assisting people who had evacuated the area. They were greeted with members that were grateful in the face of difficulty.

Another way POPi/o was able to help the situation was by providing the technology for Xplore’s employees to work from home during the hurricane. With POPi/o’s flexible platform, the Xplore team was still able to deliver vital services to members from outside their office.

But POPi/o also helped Xplore handle more pressing matters. Using POPi/o’s uniquely extensive capabilities, Xplore was able to provide emergency loans to members who were affected by the hurricane. In the video clip below, you can hear Rafael explain the value this service provided during his members’ immense time of need.

“Our video banking department was processing something like 120 emergency loans during those last two or three weeks of the month, after Hurricane Ida—because, you know, our members needed those emergency funds,” Rafael says, detailing the urgency of the situation they faced.

When asked if he could imagine repeating the experience without POPi/o, Rafael states plainly, “I couldn’t imagine not having POPi/o… It’s a scary thought to be honest with you.”

While members were able to receive some limited services from the credit union over their phone lines and mobile apps, only POPi/o allowed them to deliver their personalized, comprehensive services that they’re known for. To hear Rafael’s full answer, watch the video below.

And if you’re interested in learning more about POPi/o’s Digital Customer Engagement platform, talk with one of our experts.

Dead End sign

The Ones That Got Away

By | Blog, Digital Customer Engagement

A closer look at the reasons for dead ends and abandonment in today’s digital banking services.

 

Well if that isn’t a captivating subtitle, I don’t know what is. But behind that statement is a real—and in some cases, dire—fact of digital banking services: Some of them don’t work.

Users begin processes on their phones and tablets, only to leave them incomplete. They run into snags or are told they have to visit a branch in order to proceed. So they close the app or the webpage, and leave the transaction unfinished.

Meanwhile, other digital services are able to provide the convenience and support needed to create a successful customer outcome. They give the user a host of quick and easy solutions, while also offering the full capabilities of a branch visit.

So, what does it take to make the cut? Why do some digital services outperform others? And why are digital banking services so important anyway? In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at what’s needed to offer a satisfying experience to today’s digital consumer.

Great Expectations

Meeting consumer needs has always been a challenge for businesses. And with the recent growth and disruption of emerging technology, providing customers with satisfying experiences has become something like trying to hit a moving target. 

Then, as if the situation wasn’t already complicated enough, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, profoundly affecting the standards consumers had for digital experiences. With many in-person transactions, services, and experiences shut down, consumers shifted their reliance to digital outlets. This meant that many businesses had to quickly and effectively provide a digital infrastructure to their customers.

But now digital services have become a prominent feature in the lives of many users. People have become adept at navigating various kinds of digital experiences. Because of this increase in digital adoption and user proficiency, people no longer tolerate an inefficient, frustrating user experience. They want services to be fast and comprehensive, they want their needs to be understood, and they want clear, navigable pathways to whatever they’re trying to accomplish.

After years of being well-versed in streamlined apps and online services, the average consumer has little patience for frustrations and roadblocks in the online world. 

Robot Rage

One area where these frustrations crop up is with chatbots. These tools, along with AI, automation, and self-service channels, can anger the customer, failing to understand their need, and offering no through-line to human assistance when requested. 

In banking, chatbots, AI, and self-service channels may be excellent tools for simple, high-frequency interactions. But when these limited services are all a customer is offered, they can be made to feel like their FI doesn’t value them as a customer, that it doesn’t want to provide them with a solution to their problem. 

Forbes noted in an article that though chatbots are being offered by an ever-increasing number of banks and credit unions, they continue to lead to fewer happy customers. Research shows that 22% of chatbot experiences lead to customers being “frustrated”, and a further 11% led to them being “angry”.

These sour experiences can erode brand loyalty, which is leading to many customers leaving their FI’s for more technologically-adept ones. This act of leaving one’s institution for another is called “customer churn”, and in the next few years, it’s expected to hit an all-time high. According to Foresight Research, the pandemic created a “hot spot of churn”. They found that customer churn increased from 12% to 22%, and is still on the rise. At some banks, it’s gotten as high as 27%, making it increasingly clear that effective digital services have become a vital aspect of customer retention. 

To many FI’s, this statistic should be a canary in a coal mine. The proliferation of digital services is not a trend, it’s a shift. And the businesses that don’t adapt to it will always run the risk of being left behind.

Don’t Settle for Dead Ends

Satisfying the digital consumer may seem like a daunting endeavor. Many FI’s are left wondering what digital services to implement, or whether the digital tools they have will still be relevant a few years from now.

But the best advice, as offered by Forbes and other outlets, is to provide a host of services, allowing users to find the appropriate level of assistance for their needs. The goal for any business in this position is to eliminate dead ends from their customers’ digital journey. If one particular point is causing hang-ups, frustrations, or high abandonment rates, it should be rethought to offer a more efficient and comprehensive pathway for the customer.

This idea especially applies to the services that banks and credit unions typically perform in branches. Applying for loans, opening new accounts, and speaking with experts about mortgages and investments are just a few examples of tasks that users struggle to complete through digital self-service channels. 

According to Jim Marous, publisher of the Digital Banking Report, the baseline abandonment rate for online users opening new accounts through self-service channels is 19%, and at some FI’s it’s as high as 75-80%. Furthermore, Javelin Research found that only 8% of mobile users seeking to open a new account were able to complete the process on their phones.

What’s the Solution?

For services like these, users are calling for a “mayday” button—a direct connection to the expertise they need to complete their desired task. This option seamlessly elevates the customer from the chatbot, self-service, or call-center roadblock that they’re facing, and puts them in touch with the banking professional they need to effectively resolve their issue.

Especially helpful for loans, new account openings, and other operations that comprise the majority of a typical FI’s revenue stream, this personalized, human-to-human service improves brand loyalty and digital satisfaction. 

It can be delivered over chat, voice, or collaborative video, giving users a satisfying digital alternative to the in-branch experience, and giving your FI a proven way to operate efficiently in the digital space.

At POPi/o, we know it can be tough to keep up with the changing demands of consumers. But finding an effective digital solution doesn’t have to be an arduous task. We’re here to help you discover and explore new options for managing customer relationships, because we know there’s nothing more important to you than being there for the people you serve.

If you’d like to learn more about the POPi/o Digital Customer Engagement platform, schedule a demo today.

Xplore FCU

Serving Members Around the World with Xplore Federal Credit Union

By | Blog, Client Experiences

In the late 1940’s the Shell Oil Company began providing financial services to a few of its employees. The services were limited, but employees of the oil company welcomed the idea. Because so much of their time was spent offshore or traveling, banking was—to many of them—a chore that they were glad to see simplified by their employer. 

Decades later, Shell Credit Union would become Xplore Federal Credit Union, but their aim to simplify the banking experience for workers in the oil and gas industry never went away. 

Xplore recently overhauled their digital offerings with the help of POPi/o. They now offer a suite of digital services, with video banking playing a key role in the implementation. In anticipation of the rollout, Xplore held an in-house contest to choose a name for their new services. The contest helped garner company interest, getting the employees acquainted with the new video banking platform. One employee suggested “Xplore Away”, which ended up taking the cake. 

The credit union began offering the service to all its members free of charge. They did some marketing to build awareness, and soon, their new video banking service was garnering real interest. Today, Xplore Away boasts an impressive adoption rate. Over 67% of their memberbase has used the solution. Additionally, the majority of their new account openings are driven purely through Xplore Away.

Xplore has a modest staff of only 45 employees, which means they have to work hard to service their 8,000 members. And because a large portion of their memberbase still work in the oil and gas industry, they don’t always have the option to come visit a branch. Whether they’re out of the country, working on an oil rig, or would just rather not make a trip, Xplore Away has given them the ability to easily perform transactions or work with a financial service professional. 

By connecting members directly to in-branch professionals, Xplore is able to service Member relationships in the most efficient way possible. Their loan officers, which may have been underutilized in a traditional branch setting, can quickly and effectively field calls that apply to their area of expertise. And the financial service professionals that comprise the department report that there are rarely, if ever, wait times for Xplore Away.

When you hear the Xplore Away team talking about their experiences helping members, there’s no denying that they’re glad to be a part of the department. Having the ability to serve people with the convenience of a digital platform and the personal touch of an in-branch experience creates new standards for efficiency and face-to-face service.

One of Xplore Away’s Member Advisors, Rocio Cueves, has worked at other financial institutions in the past, but she says she likes working at Xplore more. “At Xplore, it’s a little more one-on-one,” she says, smiling. 

And now, with POPi/o’s unique digital banking solution, Xplore can deliver that one-on-one service to their members any time. Whether they’re calling from their living room, an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, or their office in the Netherlands, they still have access to the in-branch experience that makes Xplore special.

The Xplore Away team now provides a one-touch digital experience for their members, allowing them to handle everything from simple customer service inquiries to complex banking transactions.

To see the POPi/o solution in action, request a demo now.