Snafus That Banks Must Avoid as They Transfer to the Digital Age

    September 23, 2015

    By Wyndham Sellers

    To cut costs and improve accessibility, banks are offering an increasingly vast array of online services. However, in doing so, they must look to avoid both common mistakes and reputation-harming downtime.

    As brick and mortar banking services slowly fade from popular use, the world’s biggest financial institutions are placing greater emphasis on providing customers with extensive digital offerings. These not only serve to improve the banks’ bottom lines, but also lend customers the ease of use they expect on the web today.

    But as banks take steps to ensure digital accessibility, they must avoid several common snafus that can land them in hot water.

    Unnecessary Complications

    Ease of access is a must for banks that want to go digital. However, this challenge is especially complicated because banks deal with more sensitive information than perhaps any other private industry.

    There is a balancing act between enforcing rigorous security measures and creating an easy flow of information, and banks face the unenviable challenge of straddling the line between the two. Customers want to make transactions as soon as they open an app, but they also want to know that their financials are safe and secure.

    Unnecessarily complicated or unsecure digital designs will send customers running to another bank and irrevocably damage the company’s reputation.

    “Is Anyone There?”

    By offering online services, banks can shift tasks ordinarily performed by tellers and clerks to the customer, saving him or her a trip to the local branch. But as banks cut costs by trimming their workforce, they must remain cognizant of the importance of exceptional customer support. While customers are able to handle their own accounts, they must have direct access to someone who can answer questions and and solve UX problems as soon as they run into one.

    If customers don’t receive immediate assistance, the bank risks losing their trust forever. If it’s more convenient for a customer to visit a brick-and-mortar location than to access their online account, the bank has wasted a boatload of capital on a useless electronic service.

    Damaging Downtime

    The most significant and destructive problem that can plague an electronic financial service is IT infrastructure downtime. If customers are unable to access their finances, the viability and public perception of the service are both undermined. Recently, Australian CommBank users expressed outrage across social media channels after a technological outage forced systems offline, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

    Unfortunately, these kinds of outages make the worst kind of headlines  not to mention the severe regulatory ramifications of significant downtime. If a bank wants to confidently provide the prescribed suite of e-services, their IT systems and capacity planning infrastructure must be absolutely watertight.

    A Secure Solution

    While these snafus can create lasting harm to a bank’s reputation and prospects for success, they can be easily avoided by incorporating effective capacity planning tools.

    By turning to TeamQuest’s IT Service Optimization Maturity model, banks can effectively determine their IT infrastructure shortfalls and the capacity planning measures they need to implement. Not only will these institutions successfully avoid all downtime, but they’ll also be able to predict and pursue optimal future strategies.

    Downtime and unavailable electronic services are avoidable problems that pervade the banking industry. But by optimizing their IT maturity, banks can streamline online services, align their IT systems with business goals, and improve ROI in both the short and long term.

    (Main image credit: eGuldry/flickr)