Have you recently found yourself grappling with thoughts such as…

“We’re pouring a lot of spend into expanding our digital capabilities; how can I be certain our strategy will produce ample ROI?”  

“How can we optimize our acquisition strategy with this budget?” 

“Is our current marketing strategy aligning with post-pandemic consumer behavior?” 

If so, good. You’re not alone in this thinking. These are exactly the questions every smart marketer is asking as we approach the one year anniversary of COVID-19’s stage debut (we’ll hold the applause).

At Revel, we actively keep a pulse on the latest in consumer behavior, as well as the challenges and goals of banking clients like you. At the intersection of these two streets is where we craft research-backed solutions that drive real results.

In “The Pandemic Pivot,” our team revealed how brands can quickly pivot marketing strategies in response to consumer behavioral shifts. Digital exhaustion and pursuing more trustworthy brands were just a few of the poignant behavioral insights that appear to be carrying over into 2021 (more on that in a minute).

Then in December 2020, we surveyed our banking clients (perhaps you were a participant!) to garner insights about 2021 planning. Some of the most interesting Q&A’s from that survey are illustrated below:

It’s evident that bank marketers continue to search for the best way to reach and resonate with consumers during the ongoing pandemic; a journey that has been, and will continue to be, peppered with uncertainty. It’s widely understood that consumer behaviors have shifted as a result of COVID-19; banking marketers know that the pandemic has turbocharged digital adoption across products and demographic segments. This would help explain why most banking marketers like yourself have prioritized digital, mobile, and eCommerce expansion for 2021.

But, what if expanding digital and mobile capabilities is working against you?

According to recent research from Deloitte, it’s suggested that increased digital engagement does not necessarily translate into increased satisfaction. In the United States, overall customer satisfaction with retail banks actually tends to decline as customers transition away from branches to digital-only banking relationships.

Further, while few customers may be currently planning to switch banking institutions, customer retention risk is expected to resurface once the pandemic is over, particularly with younger customers. This certainly could throw a wrench into 2021 growth goals.

What’s causing the decrease in satisfaction with increased digital engagement?

As digital engagement increases in potency, the human element (oftentimes) becomes diluted. That creates a serious problem when it comes to overall customer satisfaction. Back in 2018, PwC found that 64% of U.S. consumers and 59% of worldwide consumers felt that companies had lost touch with the human element of customer experience. It’s safe to assume that this percentage has likely increased since the unprecedented explosion of digital engagement born from COVID-19.

Even the most introverted among us gain a certain amount of satisfaction from human interaction of the right type and in the optimal place within the customer journey. Connecting with customers on a human level creates emotional engagement with your brand, which directly equates to improved ROI. A study conducted by Capgemini found that 70% of emotionally connected customers spend more than twice as much with these brands and that emotional engagement with consumers could drive as much as a 5% uplift in annual revenue.

How do we deepen emotional engagement and human connectedness in a digital world?

The most successful brands today have managed to become more than a provider of goods or services. Through emotional engagement, these brands have carved out a space in their customers’ hearts. From customers to friends. And like any good friendship, the relationship is based on trust, support (in good times and bad), and two-way dialogue that continues to build and deepen over time.

As a brand, what type of friend are you?

As you embark on a journey to expand your bank’s digital and mobile offerings, here are a few tips to keep in mind for maintaining the human element (and customer satisfaction):

  • Provide options. While some of your customers (especially Gen Z) may be at peace with automation technology and expanded digital touchpoints, other customers may feel uncomfortable with the change. To soften the transition, give those customers a “digital exit” in the form of scheduling a direct 1-1 meeting, call, or Zoom.
  • Personalize any normally impersonal experience at every digital touchpoint. One way to do this is by leveraging customer data and analytics to deliver hyper-personalized services to deepen customer engagement in new and differentiated ways. For example, many progressive banking institutions are currently working to deploy live interactions with bank staff through ATM screens. And when it comes to customer communications, hyper-personalization goes beyond simply addressing the customer by name. Emails and texts must shift from robotic, cookie-cutter messaging to individualized communication. Because, we’re all friends here — remember?

At Revel, we can help you design distinctive, multi-faceted creative campaigns that strategically balance these variables for success.

  • Host regular, live Q&A social media sessions. “Live” video is currently one of the most favored by Facebook and Instagram algorithms, meaning that these videos will help you reach more customers. The friendly, two-way dialogue and interaction will boost feelings of human connectedness and emotional engagement.

To fully realize your bank’s digital promise, elevating customers’ emotional engagement by humanizing digital touchpoints is key. Not sure where or how to start? You’ve got a friend in Revel. We specialize in brand and digital strategies that produce tangible lift. Give us a call today and together, let’s get the most out of your approach in 2021.


Deloitte. 2021 Banking and Capital Markets Outlook. December 2020.
PwC. Experience is Everything: Here’s How to Get it Right. 2018.
Capgemini. Loyalty Deciphered: How Emotions Drive Genuine Engagement. November 2017.