In a fast-changing world, financial institutions must adapt to stay competitive. Anything that challenges the status quo among consumers, whether in their professional or personal lives — a job change, relocation, or even a disruption in their daily routine — can create stress and affect behavior.

For financial institutions, change is an essential business opportunity and a slippery slope. The Vericast 2022 Financial Services TrendWatch report shows that nearly 20 percent of financial institutions consider merger and acquisition (M&A) events a key driver of inorganic growth. Sixty-three percent of banks surveyed with assets of $10 billion or more plan to actively acquire within the next five years.

And with deals ramping up faster and closing sooner, the stakes for getting M&A events right are even higher — 75 percent of people surveyed are very or somewhat likely to leave after an M&A event; 19 percent very likely.

There is some serious confusion, however, regarding M&A event activity, with pretty serious consequences. Recent companion surveys revealed a significant — and widely unrecognized — perception gap based on dual perspectives of engagement during M&A events. Nearly 75 percent of senior banking executives believe their organization outperforms others when it comes to delivering quality engagement; however, less than one-third of people say their experience is positive.[1]

It’s the same for digital banking conversions. Financial institutions understand the need for digital transformation to improve productivity and workflow and offer meaningful self-service options. TrendWatch reveals that 82 percent of CEOs and operations professionals said they’ve significantly accelerated the upgrading of online and mobile banking capabilities in the past year.

Unfortunately, too often, institutions underestimate the amount of planning, preparation and operational resources needed to manage digital conversions successfully, resulting in strained internal resources and wait times that fail to meet reasonable expectations.

Frankly, many institutions are unprepared for the tidal wave of calls. Inbound call volumes can spike 300 percent during a digital banking conversion, with nearly one-third of all online customers trying to reach their financial institution for help navigating a conversion.[2] The risk of failed interactions could not be higher as nearly 74% of customers will switch providers after a poor contact center experience.

TrendWatch confirms that financial institutions have an absolute, albeit divergent commitment to the importance of change management. We learned investment in new tech (67%), like online and mobile banking (82%), is high. As is recruiting and hiring (76%) for those with staffing challenges. But cost-effective, quality solutions proven to improve satisfaction and retention, such as virtual banking assistance (13%) and contact center outsourcing (8%), are low.

How to Close the Gap: 4 Ways to Reduce Attrition, Grow Revenue, Build Brand Equity and Improve Satisfaction During Change Events

  1. Personalize your communications
    72% of people only engage with personalized messaging[3]
  2. Provide white-glove service to mission-critical customers
    Proactive communications delivered at the right time, with the right offer can increase revenue 30% or more[4]
  3. Deliver a consistent brand experience
    People trust banks and credit unions that deliver consistent experiences 30% more than those that don’t[5]
  4. Deliver excellent and accessible service, both on- and offline
    81% of consumers prefer live interaction when they want answers to urgent and complex issues[6]

Complex change activities, like merger and acquisition events and digital banking conversions, are great opportunities to create loyalty, increase acquisition and retention, and grow relationships. The experience people have during times of uncertainty deeply impacts how they feel about their financial institution. That just cannot be undervalued.


[1] Valenti, Jon; Dworsky, Bill; contributors: Gauchat, Michelle; Asrani, Aarti, “Banking M&A: An Opportunity to Improve CX,” The Wall Street Journal,  2020, June 19

[2] Vericast client data

[3]Privacy & Personalization: Consumers share how to win them over without crossing the line.” SmarterHQ

[4] Agarwal, Rohit; Jacobson, Raelyn; Kline, Paul; and Obeid, Maurice, “The future of customer experience: Personalized, white-glove service for all,” June 22, 2020, McKinsey & Company

[5] Pulido, Alfonso; Stone, Dorian; Strevel, John, “The three Cs of customer satisfaction: Consistency, consistency, consistency,” March 1, 2014, McKinsey & Company

[6] Conkle, Brennie, “The Future of Digital Banking is About Great Conversations,” August 1, 2017, The Financial Brand