4 Steps for Turning Remote Frontline Staff into Digital Ambassadors in 2021

To help flatten the COVID-19 curve FIs reduced branch services and, in some cases, closed branches altogether. The reduction in branch services drove customers to digital channels to handle their every-day transactions. The transition wasn’t easy either. As you’d expect, bank and credit union contact centers were inundated with calls from customers/members who needed help completing online and mobile transactions. Making matters more complicated, frontline staff were now working from home where they lacked the colleague support and tools they enjoyed at the office or in the branch. So, the early days of the pandemic were stressful and hectic days for both financial institutions and their customers – but you got through it. Your staff adapted, your customers learned, the world kept spinning.

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Having survived 2020, the challenge now is cementing the digital momentum you gained. And the best way to do that is through your frontline staff. After all, to your customers, your frontline is your bank. So as the vaccine rolls out and life returns to normal (if that’s possible), here are the four steps you can take to turn your frontline into digital ambassadors.

1. Roll Out Fun Digital Training

We know we need to turn frontline staff into digital experts. But how?

Cultivating enthusiasm and understanding is not easy. A recent LinkedIn/Capgemini study found that 42% of employees describe the training they receive as “boring” or “useless,”. The problem is, most banks and credit unions use a learning management system (LMS) to upskill employees – and employees hate it. To engage and educate remote staff, financial institutions need to up their training game. You need to make it bite sized. You need to make it accessible. You need to make it fun. And game-based learning ticks all those boxes. If you do it right, you can morph your training into an addictive game-based learning experience that has staff learning through play. By making it fun to learn you’ll train frontline staff faster so they can promote and support your digital products.

2. Get Staff Familiar With Your Tech

As mentioned, it’s impossible for your frontline to promote and support your tech if they’ve never used it. But if they don’t have an account with you they can’t access the tech, making it hard for them to develop the knowledge and confidence they need to support customers. The solution is technology walkthroughs. Technology walkthroughs provide a risk-free environment for staff to practice using your technology. And you know what they say, “practice makes perfect”.

3. Allow Staff to Practice Recommending Digital Products

Speaking of practice, frontliners get comfortable recommending your digital products. During customer conversations there are often opportunities to promote your digital channels. The problem is, not everyone knows how to sell. To help your frontline learn to spot opportunities to promote your tech they need a way to practice. That is where role-play scenarios come in. As part of your training program, offer virtual role play scenarios where staff are challenged to smoothly recommend you digital products within a normal customer conversation. With regular practice your frontline will become comfortable with soft selling making them effective advocates for your digital products.

4. Give Staff Support Tools

Okay, so your staff is trained in your digital products. But what happens when they start applying their new skills in customer interactions? Technology is very much a practice.  If you do not use the tech every day, you are likely to forget how to use some of the features. Here is where the technology walkthroughs you created for your training programs come in handy.

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If you put those technology walkthroughs on a searchable digital hub, your staff can use them to support customers in a live environment. They can even email direct links out to customers so they are “on the same page” (sorry, could not resist!) as they try to help the navigate your tech.

This year is going to be another year of massive change.  As the vaccine rolls out it is difficult to predict which aspects of life return to normal, and which will remain permanently changed. For financial institutions who have spent years and gazillions trying to drive digital adoption, this is the moment of truth. Can you maintain digital momentum as we emerge from the pandemic? One thing is for certain: If your frontline does not have the knowledge they need to promote and support your tech, your odds of success go way down.

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