COVID-19: Suddenly the Digital Transformation Shifts into High Gear

  • Posted by: Chris Doner, CEO

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For decades, we've been moving to a digital-first world. Financial institutions have been adopting online and mobile technologies as the most efficient and effective channel for interacting with customers. But our industry's "bricks to clicks" transition, however inevitable it has seemed, has been slow and steady – until now.

COVID-19 creates a sudden and immediate need to replace face-to-face interactions with digital equivalents. The motivation for this digital transformation has shifted from increased convenience to, in the extreme, saving lives.

As financial institutions respond to the virus by closing branches and scrambling to put in place the technology that allows call center employees to work at home, the obvious and best alternative channel to provide services is through online and mobile banking. Factors that might have kept customers from using online or mobile banking quickly lose relevance in light of home quarantines and shuttered branches. Adoption rates for online banking have been flat recently, while mobile banking has ticked steadily upward every year. But now we can expect a dramatic jump in adoption rates for both. 

At Access Softek, we've been preparing for the increased customer demand by increasing our thresholds for load testing, moving services to larger server instances, and working with our clients on strategies to manage the transition.

Essential Digital Features

The virus has not only increased the importance of digital channels, but also shifted the relative value of some features over others. Video Chat and Chat Bot, for example, are both essential to have today. 

Video Chat provides a safe way to establish and maintain a "face-to-face" human connection with members who place a high value on that kind of customer service. ChatBot helps reduce the load on a burdened call center and extend your capacity without expanding your staff. We're increasing our emphasis on these services that are much more critical in the current public health situation.

Looking Forward

Sooner or later – and we're all hoping for sooner – the threat from this virus will abate, either as we develop a vaccine or our herd immunity reaches critical mass. Life will go on, but many things won't be the same. The digital habits people acquire now are likely to stick. A true Black Swan event has shifted the digital transformation into high gear, and will bring about in months a change that otherwise would have taken years. 

Access Softek is fully prepared to help your institution manage this transition and maintain your customer relationships, your high standards for service, and your financial stability in an unstable time.

Chris Doner, CEO
Author: Chris Doner, CEO
Chris Doner is the founder and CEO of Access Softek, a software development company that has operated in the Bay Area for over 30 years and specializes in innovative financial technology. His experience as a leader in the industry has led to partnerships with companies like Microsoft, H&R Block, Fiserv, Intuit, Online Resources, and Diebold. Driven by concepts that are not only innovative but put power into the hands of the user, Chris has stayed on top of digital technology to bring the financial industry strongly into the 21st century with the most robust omnichannel banking and OFX Direct Connect solutions on the market today. While he is excited to share his knowledge of current digital banking topics such as location-based marketing, mobile wallet, 1:1 digital marketing, and mobile lending, Chris is also adept in next-generation concepts such as the direct integration of a robo-advisor into digital banking platforms; biometric authentication for call centers; humanizing the digital experience through video chat, chatbot, and voice assistant tools; and the benefits of using artificial intelligence and machine learning everywhere.