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Change Agents: How Bankers are Helping Drive Digital Adoption

By Natasha Drozdak, VP/ Consumer Digital Manager, South State Bank

Natasha Drozdak, VP/ Consumer Digital Manager, South State Bank

What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Talk to your spouse, brush your teeth, or check your phone? Chances are, you probably check email, social media, your bank account, the news, your calendar, and more all from your phone and maybe even all before you also get out of bed.

In an industry where relationships are foundational to our business, how do we keep those same human interactions in a digital world? In addition to visiting a bank branch, customers check their apps daily, apply for a loan online, call customer service after hours, and want to move money with the click of a button. Virtually everything that used to be done in the branch is now expected to be available through all channels and devices.

"The use of mobile payment options, like mobile wallets and real-time payments, are at the forefront of the change in the way customers use their bank accounts"

If you stop to reflect on the fact that the past 40 years have brought the introduction of ATMs, debit cards, the internet, online banking, the smartphone, mobile banking apps, and person-to-person payments, there’s been a tremendous amount of change in banking technology and the expectations of bank customers.

As consumers, we want convenience, we want control, and we want it all at our fingertips. Life moves fast, and it’s easier than ever to have all that we need with just a few taps or clicks.

The expectations and behaviors of consumers apply to bank, too, and banks are working to keep up with how customers want to bank and pay - whether at a store, online or sending money to a friend. The use of mobile payment options, like mobile wallets and real-time payments, are at the forefront of the change in the way customers use their bank accounts and manage their money, which, in turn, changes the way we interact.

Forget your wallet? No problem, you can pay with your phone. Contributing to a work gift? Send money instantly through your app. Paying bills? Schedule them all with a few clicks.

At South State, we focus on providing the right combination of high-touch service with high-tech capabilities, allowing customers to bank on their terms. While many customers are early and eager adopters of technology, change is not easy for everyone. However, we’ve found that with assistance, customers are more willing to try a new feature and, in most cases, become an active user. Take mobile wallets, for example. The idea of having a debit or credit card stored on a mobile device may seem risky to those who don’t understand that account numbers are not stored on the device and transactions are processed through a tokenization service, making them even more secure than traditional transactions with cards.

With education, we’re finding we can dispel myths about mobile payments and help customers to see the convenience of using their mobile wallet to pay. We’re also working to inform customers of all the payment and digital options available to them at account opening.

As consumers change their behaviors, so do their banks and bankers. Visits to the branch no longer define relationships, but by how convenient, quick and seamless we can make banking for customers. We are expected to be capable of answering questions ranging from the latest iOS updates and ways to pay, in addition to our core products. Instead of making a change with quarters and dimes, we’re making the change as we help drive digital adoption, while also increasing customer loyalty and preference for the bank.

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