You may believe that technology can dehumanize financial services. After all, many people today look for banks and other lending institutions online and then use websites to search for homes, pre-qualify for mortgages, shop rates, and purchase insurance.
By 2024, as many as 2.5 billion people will manage their finances online.
While automation is rapidly becoming a commodity, your bank, credit union, or other financial institution has a unique opportunity to distinguish itself from the competition, build stronger relationships, and even minimize lending risk simply by using the right technology.
Here are five ways that automating lending can actually lead to increased customer intimacy and long-term revenue.
1. Client Insights
Technology-based research can help you build a better understanding of who is looking for loans and mortgages these days. Using data to create targeted client personas will lead to more effective marketing efforts.
Studies like this one from Accenture define the different types of banking “personalities,” but investing in your own customized research and analysis can help you unveil new opportunities for sales and growth.
2. Brand Consistency and Messaging
Like many financial institutions, you may no longer rely just on physical branches to deliver a client experience. Your website now needs to convey your organization’s brand, values, and unique selling propositions.
By investing in the right web and social media platforms, you can ensure that your voice comes through, wherever a customer is in their process. You can set yourself apart from other institutions with powerful messaging and imagery.
3. Customer Personalization
Automation enables you to target your communications to groups of people and individuals based on the data they provide. Simple things like addressing clients by name, pre-filling information on application forms, and enabling customers to update data themselves all create experiences that illustrate that you care about every client. That leads to #4…
4. Speed and Accuracy of Customer Service
The entire customer experience is critical to lending. Whether someone is a first-time homebuyer or seasoned business owner, they are looking to borrow from a company that treats them with respect and makes the entire process run smoothly.
Filling out forms, providing documentation, following-up on status, and getting rapid answers to questions can all be accelerated with the right technology platform.
That said, the best technology applications combine automation with a personal touch. For example, if you are using a bot on your website to provide answers to consumers or businesses, make sure you are programming messages that sound warm and friendly and not robotic.
Even more important, make sure that loan applicants can easily reach a live human professional when they have questions or concerns. Some institutions have swung too far towards no-contact service, which ultimately leads to client frustration.
5. Time and Cost Savings
Perhaps the most significant benefit of automation is the money, time, and other resources you save in the long run.
Review some of the lending pitfalls your institution has experienced in the past and think about how technology can help alleviate them.
Whether you find that too many people are involved in the process, you’re spending thousands of dollars on unnecessary paperwork, or data entry issues have led to errors, think about how the right technology can streamline your current process.
The dollars and time you save by automating functions can be redeployed to:
- Looking for ways to grow your portfolio
- Rewarding your top (human) performers in your organization
- Investing in creative new marketing and sales programs
- Delivering better live interactions with every customer
What to Look for in Automation Solutions
Just as we emphasized the importance of human interaction in streamlining your lending process, make sure you are choosing a technology partner that cares about your institution as a unique business.
Involve key team members from your bank, credit union, or other institution in the decision-making process, so they will embrace new technology solutions with a sense of ownership. If people are afraid that automation will make their jobs obsolete, they will be more resistant to change.
Seek out technology solution providers that have a direct and meaningful experience in the financial services industry and can personalize their solution to your business’s unique needs.
Make sure that the onboarding process is simple and time-efficient. The best companies will actively engage their customers, ensuring that the adoption of new technologies is simple and streamlined and doesn’t result in hours of downtime or training.
As long as humans are buying and refinancing homes and investing in the future of their families and businesses, the lending process will be a human-centric one. Technology needs to be viewed as an enabler of better sales and services rather than a replacement for the personal touch.
Discover the lending automation system designed with humans in mind. Schedule a demo today.