Getting Started with Digital Accessibility at your Financial Institution

by | Jun 7, 2020

Is your financial institution accessible to the estimated 26% of the population living with some kind of disability1? Chances are good your physical premises, like your branches, have accommodations in place for these individuals.

But if you haven’t taken a thorough look at the accessibility of your website, apps, and documents, then you aren’t really providing an inclusive and equitable experience for all your customers, including Persons with Disabilities (PWD).

The Legal Mandate

Digital accessibility isn’t just a “nice to have.”

If you’ve been watching the news about the accessibility case brought against Domino’s pizza, then you may already be aware that early in October, the Supreme Court left intact a lower court finding that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does indeed apply to digital space as well as physical space. Since 2016, Domino’s been embroiled in a lawsuit with a blind customer over a non-accessible website and has argued that the ADA, first established in 1990, should not apply to digital properties like websites.

What does this mean for your financial institution? In a nutshell, just as you are required to maintain accessibility in your offices or branches, you also need to ensure that your digital properties are accessible. Otherwise, you could be subject to demand letters and lawsuits that threaten both your brand reputation and your bottom line.

Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Charles Schwab are among the high-profile financial institutions that have already run afoul of this legislation by not making websites and apps accessible, with Wells Fargo paying up to 16 million dollars in compensation to hearing-impaired website users2! There’s no need for your FI to be next if you act now.

The Customer Experience Upside

Although the impetus to bring your FI into compliance with the ADA may be to avoid legal action, there’s a real and tangible customer experience upside to embarking on a digital accessibility project.

For example, 24 million Americans report that they experience vision loss, and that number is expected to grow as the baby boomer generation ages and experience age-related vision degradation.

This population will benefit from websites and documents that can be accessed through screen-reader technology, and indeed the American Federation for the Blind even recommends that individuals who experience barriers to such access “give serious consideration to changing banks”3. Customers living with vision loss have the same customer experience (CX) expectations as the rest of your customer base – they want 24/7, barrier-free access to their financial information.

Provide this, and you’ll retain these customers, and attract other customers who are looking for an inclusive FI. You’ll also enhance your brand reputation as an FI that cares about the quality of life of its customers.

Document Accessibility for Effortless Banking

Making documents accessible is a critical part of any accessibility strategy. That’s because some of the most critical interactions between a consumer and their financial institution occur through their monthly statements, reports, and other transactional communications.

By implementing accessible documents, you ensure that financial documentation can be read and reviewed by every customer, including those who use assistive technology like screen readers to access digital information.

On the page, these documents look exactly like the eStatements and eReports you already provide to customers. But behind the scenes, additional attributes are added to the document, so an individual using assistive technology like a screen reader is provided with the data in a comprehensible fashion. The enhanced statements are then made available through an accessible portal, so customers with disabilities can access them easily.

Learn More About Accessibility

Are you ready to proactively meet ADA mandates around document accessibility, and enhance CX for a large and growing audience of customers and potential customers with disabilities? Download our latest e-Book today!

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3. Expansion of digital products

As banking customer behavior shifts, banks must move with the times, or risk getting left behind. Many banks today are exploring the power and potential of open banking, which can allow them to offer more innovative products and services to their customers, as well as to better compete with fintech companies and other non-traditional financial service providers.

As you shift your banking business model to reach new segments or provide an enhanced array of services, communication becomes even more pivotal to your success. After all, if your customers don’t know which new services they qualify for, or how those services will help them meet their goals, then they are unlikely to explore them further. CCM technology can be leveraged here to provide personalized on-statement messaging that directs customers to the right products and services, as well as 1:1 personalized “explainer” videos to help them get started.

Adjusting your bank’s priorities to thrive in 2023

In an era of constant change, the key to successfully transforming your bank’s business model will be to stay attuned to the changing needs and preferences of customers, and to be open to exploring new opportunities and technologies that can help your FI stay competitive and relevant. But these new opportunities are doomed to fail if you do not clearly communicate their benefits and make it simple for customers to access them.

That is why transforming your customer communication strategy is the best first step to broader digital transformation. By updating your approach to communications to meet omnichannel customer needs, you also position your bank to communicate the benefits of changes in your broader organization, like new or enhanced products and services. The pace of change in banking has never been brisker – but with the right strategic approach to these changes, the future is bright.

Investing in a modern customer communication management and engagement platform is an essential part modernizing your banking strategy, as it can provide the personalized digital experiences that will keep your bank or credit union ahead of the competition. It helps provide a great customer experience, and builds rich relationships, which in turn results in customers for life and a competitive advantage in the rapidly evolving financial marketplace.

How Doxim can address the banking customer communications trends identified and help future-proof your digital banking strategy

banking customer communications trends

Doxim’s experienced consultants and omnichannel platform can help transform your customer experience in many ways, including:

  • Gathering and utilizing customer data to continually improve the personalization of communications.
  • Building trust with customers via communication (via print, PDF, HTML, email, text, and online interactive experiences).
  • Leveraging interactive video to drive personalized digital customer experiences, such as interactive statements, bills, or reports, that offer visual engagement and real-time interactivity
  • Putting customer data, including customer statements, at the fingertips of your service representatives for immediate and personal service.
  • Making a meaningful connection with value-added content, like information about philanthropic activities, on customer statements.

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