Three ways building societies are nailing digital transformation

Customers want technological innovation from their banking providers. Why should building societies be any different? Here’s how they’re improving the member experience.

It should be obvious to anyone working in financial services that now is the time to take advantage of amazing advances in technology. In our conversations with many building societies across the UK, we know for sure that most realise the benefits of digital transformation. Many are ahead of the game, creating digital services to better serve their members. Yet, there’s more to do.

With so many opportunities to take advantage of, from offering omni-channel services across branch networks, contact centres and at home, to simplifying the onboarding and initial deposit process, this is the right time for societies to accelerate their digital adoption.

Members want to be able to save more, save better, and save more efficiently. They want easy access to account services, and they want to bank local. Building societies want to reduce costs, become more nimble organisations, and offer digital environments that help their members save time and money. And those building societies that offer the right balance of financial guidance, technology, and customer relations are leading the digital transformation revolution.

How building societies are tackling digital transformation

1. By focusing on member-centric digital experiences

Many savings and mortgage back-office providers focus on accounts, not members. By switching to a digital experience platform, building societies can create and maintain a single view for its members. And having a feature-rich, cloud-native environment that’s flexible and customisable is the key to innovating and adapting at speed.

We’ve seen many building societies take this customer-centric approach to their digital transformation strategies, and it’s reaping rewards in terms of increasing engagement and loyalty. Having an understanding of what members need from their banking provider is so important in creating and maintaining great relationships, and can be the key that unlocks the benefits of personalisation.

2. By staying up to date and tapping into the trust factor

Many younger people are digital natives, drawn to apps that are simple to use and feature-rich. This represents an opportunity for building societies to gather new members, attract first-time buyers with the history and trust of the building society, coupled with the great product offers and grow within their respective communities. Building societies in particular can nurture long-lasting relationships based on their history of engaging with family members.

I believe they also have the upper hand in this regard simply because they’re relatively small compared to big banks and can personalise the engagements. It makes building societies more nimble as organisations, being able to pivot where necessary if the strategy requires it. For example, working with software developers is easier because smaller organisations can adopt agile methodology. Innovation can be fast-tracked if you can avoid cumbersome legacy infrastructures. (We often read about big banks abandoning digital transformation programmes and banking software because of the complexity associated with organisational change.)

3. By applying business process automation

Automation can help building societies become more agile and more focused on customer experience. Imagine scrapping multi layers of Id verification, anti-money laundering, physical signatures, for instance. By providing next-generation features such as biometric authentication, live chat and self-service, you become a more modern, efficient building society for 21st century members.

Taking innovation to the next level

Working with the right technology partner is essential in realising any of the above points. That last paragraph about automation is something we’ve written about before, and is a surefire way of taking a digital transformation programme to the next level. As we mention in this article about automation: “There’s no reason why a building society can’t become more agile and more of a digital disrupter. It’s a solid foundation stone on which to continue building and modernising.”

Competition for members’ hearts and minds is indeed fierce. The best building societies will be those who lift their heads above the parapet and stretch their innovation muscles with building society software. Those already ahead have embraced the three main points above, and are well on their way to changing how building societies operate forever.

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