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Transforming Digital Experiences in Banking - How to start with your content operations

Christel Forey
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Storyblok is the first headless CMS that works for developers & marketers alike.

With the current COVID-19 pandemic causing an unprecedented shift in our daily lives, financial institutions have been impacted in highlighting the catalytic need for adaption to accelerate their digital providings for users and customers worldwide to match their needs. At the heart of that digital transformation is how organizations operate, interact, and ultimately deliver value to their customers. Financial institutions are no different and must be able to stay ahead. This involves adopting the latest technologies and strategic efforts in omnichannel distribution and IoT possibilities to provide a transformational digital experience to their content operations. This can be through optimizing their customer data points for relevant user experiences, AI-powered customer service applications and services, and more. Financial institutions must make digital experiences a top priority as we head to a new normal of consumption and users that exists both in-branch physically and digitally.

This article will explore how financial institutions can transform their digital experiences and kickstart their content operations relevant to their customers.

The first steps towards the digital transformation of your content

Digital transformation can be rooted in the definition of digital experience: an interaction between a user (such as a customer) and an organization made possible by using digital technologies and means.

A main driving force towards this digital transformation roots in the way content is presented. Today’s modern-day banking is progressively going digital from the shift in consumer behaviors of continuously being on the go and connected to various digital devices such as smartphones, wearables, IoT products, and more. While digital transformation looks different in every company or industry, financial institutions can rely on fundamental traits to propel the initial transformation to going digital. This looks like this:

  • Having a collaborative ecosystem and culture that encourages those within the organization across different teams, with the breakdown of hierarchy
  • Engagement and the ability to contribute ideas and transparency to freely ideate, create for the future while experimenting and learning along the process of digital transformation
  • The shift to a cloud-based service that manages content, digital products, and services into a centralized place that streamlines infrastructure and architecture costs while allowing teams to focus on the needs of their customers and new ideas
  • Investing in mobile, IoT, and other omnichannel technologies that can bring your brand with your customer as they move while focusing on being data-driven to not only analyze data about your customers but also what is happening internally in your company’s processes to put more focus into providing better digital experiences and services that best fits your company and customer’s needs

A Gartner study further goes on to say that executives of various digital businesses across different industries worldwide indicated that the primary inhibiting factors to achieving consumer digital experience goals come down to internal culture, leadership, and budget as the main driver in achieving consumer digital experience aspirations.

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte of financial service institutions (FSI) conducted in 2016, 37% of respondents marked that their organization was cautious and slow in making the step towards its digital transformation journey, whereas 38% of respondents were more advanced in its adaptability, and 25% ahead of the crowd.

Digital transformation begins from the organization’s foundations, which must abandon its hierarchical structure, and adopt a collaborative and team-driven approach. Such transformation must facilitate ideation and investment into digital workplaces that connect employees across various departments and geographical locations to best reach cross-functional collaboration in digital offerings and content innovation. According to Accenture’s global research, it was found that half of the consumers surveyed expected banking and financial service providers not to offer only financial services but a level of personalization that addresses their needs and expectations. On top of that, a McKinsey study found that out of the 50 largest banks worldwide, 75% have dedicated themselves to some form of customer experience-driven digital transformation.

A picture depicting digital banking

A content-driven digital experience for the new generation of financial customers

Accenture defined bank transformation as a ‘wise digital pivot,’ in establishing a financial organization’s living physical business that then makes a transition in optimizing its distribution, services, and operations while striving for a high level of trust and quality amongst customers, and continuously pushing new product and service offerings to fuel growth and innovation. Arguably, such a pivot to attract attention amongst clientele can be done in the way content is managed and distributed - to create content and your organization’s experience that lives with your customers as they move. Yet, banks arguably face a generational divide to keep up with younger customers and new ways of consumption.

Today, there is a high probability of adults who opened their first bank account in-branch, most likely accompanied by their parents. However, with the age of digital transformation, tech-savvy customers (mostly millennials and Generation Z) have gained more opportunities and access than prior generations to understand and manage their finances from the get-go. In fact, 80% of millennials and Generation Z individuals who carry a smartphone already use mobile banking. The tech-savvy generation of customers is accustomed to digital access touchpoints of any service they could need, from eCommerce, entertainment, retail, and even finances. New e-banks or Fintechs such as N26, Revolut, Monzo, and more have made a mark in tapping in a market that needs their bank and its services to move with them as they go, offering a seamless and frictionless digital experience at the touch of a button.

What do content-driven digital experiences mean?

Let’s look back at the definition of digital experiences and their transformation. It depends on the interaction between a customer. In this case, your financial organization or bank interconnects the gap between concreting your customer’s experience through digital technologies and content. These can range from mobile apps, websites, or smart devices that offer customers digital experiences and present content. Content in this context also involves storytelling and transforming customer insights and data into captivating content related to your customers.

How does content also stand for digital-first storytelling experience?

A paper by PwC explains that great brands are not built merely on product pitches but rather through stories that put customers first and connects with their customers to create a greater sense of loyalty. In the same paper, PwC further explains that financial institutions have been selling the same way to customers over the last half of the century. While many financial organizations adopt new channels such as social or through other devices, yet do so without understanding how to best leverage such technologies to their advantage to engage their customers. As a result, customers can feel overwhelmed with content that is largely unrelated to them.

You can see why relevant storytelling for your optimum digital experiences is necessary. Content-driven digital experiences should not be an IT-based initiative with just the matter of compiling as many new innovative technologies together. Still, a customer-based initiative in leveraging such technologies and the content you will ultimately create to improve your customer’s experience digitally, better address their needs and bring in new leads.

Consequently, story making (the process of making the brand’s audience the storytellers) is equally essential to driving your digital experience and overall brand identity. For example, Monzo is at the forefront of story-making, actively involving customers in its development from its early days. Monzo is a banking application, entirely based through a mobile application, offers an entirely contactless bank card. Monzo encouraged consumers to join their community from its early days to essentially help “build the bank you’ve always dreamed of.” What followed was a community of 40,000 individuals on Monzo’s forum, with more than 14,000 posts as of May 2019.

A screenshot of Monzo's community website

A screenshot of Monzo's community website

Because of its community outreach and story-making in putting customers front and center in creating their own digital experience and, consequently, the digital bank of their dreams, in February 2016, Monzo raised £1 million in just 96 seconds in its crowdfunding campaign. Other content campaigns hosted through Facebook and their blog site involved the Summer Savings Challenge, where customers were invited to save £2 every time the temperature exceeded 20°C, and likewise with a Winter Savings Challenge where £2 were automatically saved away every time the temperature went below 10°C.

An edited screenshot Monzo's Summer Saving Challenge

A screenshot Monzo's Summer Saving Challenge

As a result, putting their customers front and center while pushing a new digital transformation in customer experience, found as of June 2019, with around 40,000 people opening an account with the bank every week, and with a Facebook group for Monzo users to encourage saving.

Traditional banks face a bottleneck of being technically ‘stuck in the mud’ and unable to top their sales funnel as it churns amongst current customers. Worst yet, they see current customers leave towards new, digital-savvy, and innovative banks offering a digital experience that fits their needs. This situation means first, understanding your customers, use their needs, data, and habits, or changing within your organization to represent outwards your brand image and content that attracts your current and potential customers. Here is how a headless CMS can help you achieve omnichannel representation and organize your content for the future.

How can a headless CMS help you?

A headless CMS is an excellent solution to propel you forwards to help manage and organize your content while tapping into new channels of omnichannel storytelling. Here are some ways in which a headless CMS can help you transform your digital banking experience for your customers:

1. Bring the future of omnichannel to your content operations

A headless system, in its definition being API-first, brings you the freedom free from the constraints usually found in a traditional monolithic CMS. Going headless with your financial organization brings a new future of personalized and customizable content as well as user journeys, omnichannel distribution across various channels and devices. This also means pushing a best-of-breed approach that allows you to cherry-pick the best technologies to your needs, with shorter loading times and better security.

Because of a headless CMS’ decoupled state (i.e., the backend, the body, and frontend, what you see, being completely separated), allows flexible content management to be managed in one central location and then distributed to any viewing channel or device of your choice that your customers are on. In turn, taking on a headless CMS allows you to facilitate and create campaigns from start to finish and with the ability to reuse and remarket content as well without it getting lost in the shuffle.

On top of that, omnichannel capabilities also tap into the rising state of AI, IoT, and machine learning facilitation, with a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit findings that 66% of respondents found such technologies as the upcoming ‘Trends with the biggest impact on banks by 2025’. With this in mind, why not take one step ahead in taking on a headless CMS to start experimenting and innovating with future technologies and ways of consumption? Such technologies include smartwatches, AR/VR headsets, LED light systems, smart home speakers, and more.

Digital transformation to your customer’s banking experience immerses in the ultimate omnichannel experience that a headless CMS can help you deliver and guide your customers along their user journey, both online and offline.

2. Keeping up with your customer’s needs and habits

According to the World Economic Forum in June 2020, it was claimed that “new technologies will drive banking transformation over the next 5 years.” On top of that, the World Economic Forum also cited that Cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions saw an increased demand amongst new entrant and established banks to take advantage of due to a SaaS’ low infrastructure, scalability, and security.

A headless CMS, in this case, resonates true for new and current banks looking to tap into new audiences, markets, and a solution that is architecturally secure, cloud-based, and flexible for your internal developers and marketers to manage and create new content.

Content in this context can echo with the next generation of digital natives, millennials, and generation Zs looking to take hold of their banking experience and access. Such access that commonly exists through the web, smartphones, and mobile apps can become an opportunity with a headless CMS investment into omnichannel content distribution and digital experiences. The fact is that banks must continuously keep up and adapt to new consumer audiences, markets, and habits.

3. Future-proof bank’s digital experience and time to market

A headless CMS architecture is notably key to ensuring that you save time and money in future-proofing your content distribution and websites. In being up-to-date on the latest architectural frameworks handled by the CMS provider, the choice of a best-of-breed technology stack for your needs, the separated front-end streamlines your production process without any design limitations to design responsive, user-friendly, and relevant content across all channels and devices, for an improved customer digital experience.

With that, an overhaul of their technology architecture from a monolithic siloed content solution to a headless solution that pushes towards new innovative ways to experience content and banking experience is needed to keep up with the times.

Key Takeaways

While digital transformations and an overhaul of your content operations can be expensive and time-consuming, banks can look towards a safe and secure solution such as a headless CMS that offers the proper foundations and management of your content with the opportunity to innovate further to connect with their customers. Whether it is a headless’ API-first approach, omnichannel options, or the streamlined collaboration it facilitates internally amongst different teams to push and innovate new forms of content, digital transformation requires investment in starting from the inside-out from your financial organization.

A headless CMS, like Storyblok, allows marketers to deliver content from a centralized location across multiple touchpoints. Marketers and developers alike can help your financial business have great omnichannel experiences and expand your digital experience efforts to your customers and content. Brands such as Fundbox, are using Storyblok’s headless CMS to organize their content in one central place. To learn more about telling your story and manage your content, check out Storyblok. Take control of your content, wherever it goes with Storyblok.