The issue of how you can improve the customer experience cannot be adequately covered in a few hundred words. Let me give two examples, one dealing with the digital / online experience and one dealing with the physical branch.

If you are like most FIs, you have multiple online banking systems. Typically, you would have a consumer login, separate cash management login, and perhaps, even a separate Small to Medium Business (SMB) system. If a consumer starts a small business on the side, they are likely running that out of their consumer online access. But as they grow, they need to access features that are not available in the consumer online banking package. Such as the need to originate ACH or do a periodic wire transfer. No problem, you say, they can upgrade to the cash management system. Well that system is likely much more complex (and expensive) than is needed by this fledgling company. Many such newly minted entrepreneurs are “hiding out” in consumer online banking. Better is for your FI to be able to move a customer from consumer to SMB to full corporate without having to rip them from one system and into another. This smooth matriculation from consumer to adding the needed services makes for an outstanding user experience, and in so doing, makes you a strategic partner.

Bankers have been racking their brains to determine what to do with the expanse of branch lobbies that are mostly unused. How about creating a business center? You could research and have expertise available on how to start a new business in your area, documenting every rule, regulation and step that must be achieved. You could collaborate with local retired executives to provide period consulting with new business owners to solve common or unique problems. You could even setup a “Shark Tank” like event to allow potential entrepreneurs and local angels to connect. And all of this would be occurring in your physical branches. If you were to create these or other similar services that greatly expand the user experience for your business customers, wouldn’t they look at you differently?

We have spent years, decades, training our customers about the services we provide as bankers. So, their attitudes will not change overnight. But if we focus on helping our businesses get more customers, or assist them in decreasing costs, or significantly improve the customer experience, then they will adjust their thinking away from the bank being a tactical entity that processes transactions to a one of a strategic partner. And a strategic relationship is one that you will fight for.