7 characteristics for a successful digital banking partnership in 2021

What are the must-haves for banks to achieve successful partnerships and long-lasting customer satisfaction?
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Over the years, our engineers have worked with long-standing banks, helping them to digitalise their service. Whether it’s world-leading institutions like Standard Chartered and Raiffeisen Bank, or award-winning scale-ups, we’ve seen it all. And often, we’ve found it’s the mindsets, not the machines behind a product’s success. While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula, we’ve identified seven must-haves that banks need in their digital partner, to achieve long-lasting customer satisfaction. 

Here are seven essential characteristics banks should look for in 2021 partnerships.

1. Focus on seamless onboarding

In 2020, a whopping 63% of customers in Europe abandoned their digital application process, because it was too cumbersome. In 2021, onboarding customers must be simple and straightforward. 

One bank that has simplified this process is Standard Chartered in Hong Kong, who launched an all-in-one financial app, Mox. The onboarding process is simple and efficient. Just like a challenger bank, the customer can join at any time. This has proved to be a huge success. Within the first five months of launching, Mox has already picked up over 80,000 new accounts(1% of the entire population). 55% of which were opened outside traditional banking hours.

Improving the customer journey with seamless onboarding can be done in many ways. One way that banks can do this for customers is with automation. We helped leading Czech fintech Twisto improve it’s registration speed using this method. Customers now benefit from same-day onboarding, whereas the old process took several days. Scalable and efficient solutions like this can be a game-changer for customers.

2. A mobile-first mindset 

62% of Europeans today are thinking of switching from physical banking to digital platforms, according to the latest MasterCard report. This is bad news for banks with unsatisfactory online services.

Smart phones are going to be the fastest-growing platforms for banks. Today, a staggering 69% of European customers think mobile-first financial providers are better than traditional providers. Tomorrow, it could be even more. 

While this may feel daunting for some banks, it represents a huge opportunity for others. The banks like Standard Chartered who embrace technology can leap ahead of the competition, securing loyalty – especially with the next generation of customers.

3. Give Generation Z what they are looking for

Gen-Zs demand a lot from their financial service – and overall, they are not  impressed. Over a third of Gen-Z Europeans think that their bank’s digital onboarding process takes too long – with 24% abandoning applications altogether. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, 60% of UK Gen-Zs felt that their online banking services were not good enough

Finding a partner who can give Gen-Zs what they want must be a priority for banks in 2021. Remember that every Gen-Z alive today is younger than online retailer Amazon. For them, there was no time before the internet.

4. Take a holistic view of finance and the customer

Customers today want to complete many different financial tasks, within the same platform. By 2022,  64% of adults will have Open Banking, meaning that they’ll be able to link up their bank, insurance, investments and more if they chose to. Apps which do not think ahead and offer these capabilities are likely to fall behind. 

This is why financial one-stop-shops are well suited for the future. Standard Charter’s Mox, is a good example of this. The top five services customers look for within the app are savings, travel, insurance, electronic gadgets, and tax… clearly, they want a lot more than just their account balance.

5. An ability to build regtech, as well as fintech

Compliance teams today have a struggle on their hands. They must keep up with regulations such as GDPR, MiFID II and PSD2. Added to this, they need to control financial fraud which surged by 650% in 2020.  This is costing banks a lot of money. Over the past 👍decade, European banks Compliance costs shot up by 620% – from €21 million to €151 million

Compliance as a service is going to be big in 2021. Anything that makes Compliance cheaper and more flexible is going to be worth billions. Smart digital partnerships need to factor in regulations, as well as finance. 

6. Continuous product enhancement

Even the best technology gets old. Banks should look for partners who continuously  improve the service. For one of our clients, Kiwi.com, we have performed hundreds of releases and product iterations to keep the service at the very top of its game, contributing to a 20% boost in customers.

For example, sustainability will be massive in 2021. And so digital innovations which help customers reduce their negative impact will be valuable. One example is Doconomy’s carbon calculator, which we helped to build. 

Banks can use technology to predict other trends too. Leading Austrian bank Raiffeisen does this well, with a behaviour simulator for live banking interfaces. 

7. Engage employees

When staff understands what the customers need and how the product helps them, they are more motivated. They come up with improvements of their own, while customers benefit from superb customer service. Research shows that companies that lead in customer experience have 60% more ‘engaged’ employees.

Today, many banking staff are feeling demotivated. 42% of UK banks’ own employees think their employer did not do enough to help customers during COVID-19. Maximising motivation with next-level digital customer service boosts satisfaction both in and out of the office.

To build successful all-in-one apps like Mox, it’s critical to find the right digital partner. Onboarding, Mobile-first, Generation Z, Holistic approach, Enhancement, Regtech and Engagement – or OMG HERE! – are our seven top characteristics banks should be looking for.

Speak to us to see how you can build an ideal partnership today

About Vacuumlabs

Vacuumlabs provides teams of flexible software engineers and designers with years of experience building fintech, online marketplaces, and digital products. Every step of the way, Vacuumlabs experts collaborate with clients, so that they can move fast, learn and iterate as they build world-class products together.