Video has entered the conversation

Remember the days when business was conducted mostly on the phone or in person? Both had drawbacks. Phone calls lack the nuance of facial expressions and body language. And in-person is often inconvenient, requiring time and travel for a meeting.

Over the past few years, the use of video communication has exploded and shows no signs of slowing down. More than 80 percent of online traffic comes from video. Zoom and TikTok are in an elite group of apps that have been downloaded more than 300 million times in a single quarter (along with Pokémon Go). 

Customers now expect video options for everything from tutorials to meetings. To accommodate everyone’s preferences, your bank should be prepared to provide communication, FAQs, marketing materials, and more in both written and video formats. 

As community banks consider efficiency, increased customer satisfaction, and expanding their digital branch presence, video should be on the list.

Branch alternatives must include video

If branch closure rates continue at their current pace, the bank branch will be obsolete by 2034, according to a study commissioned by fintech Self Financial. Perhaps that’s an extreme scenario and the rate of branch closures will plateau, but there’s no doubt that some community banks are emphasizing a digital branch strategy over a physical one.

As potential customers flock to your website, videos should be part of the experience. Emphasize the human side of community banking with a welcome video. Include product tours that showcase your online banking, services and more. Don’t leave customers wondering what they can expect once they open an account: show them.

If your digital branch serves a niche group of customers, create a series of videos explaining why that specialization matters. Strategic placement can include your website and ads (to draw in new customers) and a series of welcome emails once an account is opened.

Personalize the video experience

Marketing videos are important but potential customers know they’re being marketed at. They’ll watch the video if they think it pertains to them, but once they become a customer they’ll expect a personalized experience.

As “communication from anywhere” replaces visits to the branch, customers will expect the in-person interaction with a bank employee to be replicated in an online format. If loan customers have a question about their mortgage, is it a phone call … or a video call? According to digital communications platform POPi/o, more than 80 percent of video calls result in new accounts or lending inquiries. 

Some bank offerings will necessitate video capabilities, such as remote online notary or knowledge-based authentication requirements. As your bank explores video, think about an all-in-one platform that is designed specifically for bank needs versus more generic options for call centers.

Direct email communication can also include recorded videos. Asynchronous communication gives potential customers the opportunity to watch a video on their own time. Loan officers or retail bankers can send potential clients a personalized video recapping a previous call or conversation, explaining product terms, or emphasizing how much the bank would like to earn the business. 

And these videos can be captured easily with in-browser extensions that use a computer’s built-in camera, or any smartphone. There should be a conversation that the potential customer feels is geared at them in particular, rather than a generic sales effort. 

The video quality threshold

As the demands for video have increased, the expectations have changed. The top YouTubers, for example, often rely on elaborate setups — including lighting, professional backdrops, and sound design. TikTokers reach the same level with nothing more than an iPhone.

Consider the quality expectation for any videos you implement. Those on your website are making a first impression and should be of high quality. Call centers should have tools at their disposal, like the ability to share links while engaging in a video conversation or screen sharing. But other videos can be more off-the-cuff, like a loan officer sending a recorded video to a potential business customer, explaining different loan products.

The right level of effort and quality will increase your video’s effectiveness. Choose the right tools for the job, outsource to a video production company if needed, and make sure that the videos reflect your bank’s brand, tone, and unique offerings.