Digital Banking by First Bank Launches + Advice for Small Team Product Development

Launching a new online and mobile banking system to tens of thousands of people can be a bit nerve-racking. There are so many technical, training, and communication components in launching a new experience that affects the primary way customers engage their bank. Launching a new responsive website in early 2014 presented a few compatibility hurdles and customer service headaches, but creating a new experience that affects how people manage their money day-to-day? Not one to take lightly.

And we did not. First Bank rolled our an entirely rebuilt Digital Banking platform over the last few months that includes a consistent look and feel, new features like mobile check deposit, and a foundation for what customers expect from banks today, big or small.

Digital Banking by First Bank

As with any launch, I like to step back and look at what worked/what could be improved.

What Worked

  • The End Product: With a mash-up team of Marketing, Operations, and Training associates, none of whom were true Product Development leads, we thoroughly tested and released the best end user product possible at launch. That’s a big win.
  • Customer Service: By engaging the call center early in the development process, our representatives were fully informed and prepared for any customer questions at launch.
  • Communication: Preparing customers with teaser communications almost 2 months before launch and subsequent “drip campaigns” based on opening/click behaviors that ensured a large portion of current online customers were ready for the change.

What Needs Improvement

  • External Education: We did not roll-out a complete external education package with launch. Time and other typical strains prevented a fully baked program, but this has also allowed for time to build a better program based on customer feedback.
  • Testing: Quality assurance and user acceptance testing is an arduous process and needs proper structure. Our bank’s front-end testing procedures were never previously outlined and led to a sometimes cyclical, duplicative, or inefficient style of testing. In smaller teams, it is important to setup some basic testing parameters including device, design, and back-end testing.
  • Branch/Channel Integration: Often the greatest challenge in banking is the infusion of one update across all channels. Systems are different, people are different, processes are different. Kiosks and media displays are nice ways to showcase the new offerings, but real influence lies in consistent training packages for all associates.

Final Thoughts

These types of projects are highly fulfilling. Making things better for people is always rewarding. The real challenge for banks is clear in every report, from the mouth of every “guru,” and within the walls of every branch. How do you create a culture that strives to improve the customer experience at every touch point? A place where the best interest of the customer is always put first and associates are highly trained in providing the right solution (often a digital one) based on information they know about that client and their need.

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