How Regions Bank Provides an Amazon-like Experience

canstockphoto36694097Regions Bank tied with Amazon.com in a recent ranking of web experiences. How does a super-regional bank match the efforts of one the most sophisticated digital companies in the world, one that obsesses over customer experience?

“Our customers ask for the same thing they did 20 years ago,” Andy Hernandez, EVP and head of e-business at Regions told Bank Innovation. The same thing includes speed, convenience and security, Hernandez said. “The difference is redefined expectations.”

The world has changed, Hernandez said. We no longer have to worry about the blinking 12:00 on the VCR.

“No one could figure out how to schedule the recording of shows. TiVO made that obsolete right away,” Hernandez said. “TiVO was truly transformational technology.” Television-watching hasn’t been the same and the repercussions are still being felt.

Apple deliberately uses the word “beautiful” in every one of its product announcements, Hernandez observed. And while their products do look good, as they continue to remind you, what Apple really does is provide simple and elegant experiences. Doing similarly is a challenge for banking, which faces regulatory challenges that necessitate disclosures and other impediments to simplicity.

Hernandez mentioned a few areas where Regions is trying to overcome this.

“We completely redesigned the online deposit account,” he said, noting the use of responsive design and A/B testing to see where new customers drop off and processes break down. In December, Regions also launched an interactive tool that guides customers to the best product.

“It replicates what the best branch bankers do in traditional banking,” Hernandez said. The bank is close to replicating all branch experiences online, Hernandez said.

“We’re close [to matching the branch] in behavior, in what customers are willing to share,” Hernandez said. “We’re in the business of trust. The challenge is convincing [branch-centric customers] that digital is as secure as private conversations in person.”

Another key for the bank is partnerships. Regions cut a deal with Avant for personal lending in April and has worked with Ingo for a number of years to serve its prepaid and underbanked customers. “We’re open to partnerships,” Hernandez said, but added that it was not part of a particular strategy, but rather something pursued on a case-by-case basis.

“Customers want digital experiences,” Hernandez said. “We want to meet their needs, and try to exceed their needs.”

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