The eradication of paper holds great benefit to productivity, workflow efficiency and improving the member experience.
A survey of banking executives recently conducted revealed that their top three short-term priorities are: One, removing friction from the customer journey; two, incorporating big data and advanced analytics; and three, providing integrated omnichannel services. These are certainly exciting areas to be heading toward, as they lead to direct outcomes of reducing costs and growing revenues. However, the challenge that many banks and credit unions will experience while working to achieve these priorities is that much of their processes are still off the digital grid.
Any one of these priorities will necessitate a further drive toward utilizing a digital engagement strategy. Despite these three priorities being quite distinct from one another, in order to be achieved they all necessitate a collective response that sees all consumer activity taking place on a digital sphere. Whether the objective is to personalize member communication, obtain actionable insights, or support member workflows, they all require a holistic digital engagement strategy to be most effective. If consumer data is being collected on paper, then it risks either being excluded from informing this digital ecosystem or requires additional steps of transferring written data to digital.
Inevitably, the move to transfer and collect all data in a digital engagement strategy will make paper obsolete. And now, new digitization solutions are available on the market to enable enterprise financial institutions to completely transform their operations and become pure-digital players. Such advanced tools not only provide the capability to create and distribute digital content across all communication channels, but also the ability to convert existing documents – even hard paper copies – into fully dynamic and interactive content.
A paperless digital engagement strategy paves the way for a wide range of consumer self-service capabilities. For example, if a credit union wants to advise a member of a new high-interest account that is available, it can send the member a message with a link from which they can peruse best interest rates available.
Credit unions can provide dynamic forms that greatly contribute to enhancing the experience of the member journey. Members can fill out a form at times that are most convenient for them. Should they be interrupted, need the assistance of a service agent or need to change devices, they can stop, close the form and continue later without losing any of the data that’s already been provided.
Digital documents enable a previously unattainable degree of collaboration between members and credit unions. Now, member service or outbound sales agents can share a digital document with a member over their smartphone, computer or tablet. From there, they can co-browse the document and provide the member with the ability to ask questions about a certain offer – or sign off on a transaction in real time. The same solution makes it possible to co-browse the credit union’s website or co-browse a digital form, where the member may have gotten stuck filling it out at some point.
3. Data accuracy
By collecting data digitally, from the very first member interaction through onboarding and throughout the member lifecycle, ensures the accuracy and reliability of member information. A non-comprehensive digital environment that still incorporates a paper trail leaves itself vulnerable to losing member data or inaccurately relaying information into the database. In a digital engagement strategy, as the member fills in a form, information is directly transferred to the database in real time. This eradicates any need to retype data manually – dramatically improving the consistency, integrity and security of member data.
New digitization tools enable organizations to scan hard copy, paper documents and convert them to digital documents that are dynamic and open to being adapted to suit specific or changing needs. Scanned documents and static PDFs are quickly mapped and converted into live documents while the data they contain is directly saved to the financial institution’s CRM system. Existing forms – even the most elaborate ones – are easily converted into any form type, including web forms or mobile “wizards,” further accelerating the digitization process.
4. Use of actionable data in real-time
Digitally-collected data not only feeds big data systems to further enrich the quality of insights, it also facilitates the seamless services delivery provided by omnichannel systems. Once data is collected, real-time integrations can be made to update the credit union’s database and CRM. This can then be used to enrich credit union knowledge to make more intelligent and educated decisions, ensure consistency across digital channels and ultimately enhance the quality of member retention and the efficiency of marketing campaigns.
5. Meeting your members where they are – on digital
One thing that digital does that paper simply cannot do is find your members and start communicating with them, no matter where they may be. As companies start to invest in their digital engagement strategy, the focus must be on meeting consumers wherever they are, be it social media channels or on the web. And however is most convenient, for example by using AI-based voice-activated assistants and natural language processing. An investment in a branch that utilizes paper-based documentation will only serve a radius of five to 10 miles, while an investment in a digital experience can serve an entire global market.
The move to digital is happening whether credit union executives are ready for it or not. The eradication of paper is not only good for the environment (which in itself cannot be overstated enough!), but also holds great benefit to productivity, workflow efficiency and improving the member experience. Combined, these are a compelling set of reasons that will see paper forever discarded to the dust bin, ahem, recycle bin.
Ori Faran can be reached at [email protected].