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What does “being online” really mean?

Living in “alternate internet universe” is not luxury that community banks have

Obvious and mediocre won’t be found here—but “Why didn’t I think of that?” will! Challenging the banking status quo is Dan Fisher’s personal mission. Obvious and mediocre won’t be found here—but “Why didn’t I think of that?” will! Challenging the banking status quo is Dan Fisher’s personal mission.

Most community banks will say, today, that they are “online.” Are they, really? Something you’d better get is that nobody cuts you any slack online because you are a community bank.

Websites: all about customer connection

In the simplest terms, “being online” means possessing a contemporary and comprehensive internet usage strategy with the central theme of engaging and connecting with current and prospective customers.

Having a webpage, mobile banking, and billpay are not enough.

There is more—a lot more—and the first mistake banks make when they attempt to exploit the internet is ignoring the need to “mobile optimize” your website.

That’s right, a website that is not mobile optimized can become a terrible experience for your current and prospective customers.

Who are you trying to reach?

Interesting fact … by one count, 68% of Americans own a smartphone—43.5% of those smartphones are iPhones—and if you have not optimized your website, you are already out of the game!

Now you are laughing to yourself because you are thinking, “What do I care about the national population? Big deal!”

Okay, I’ll respond with a little story.

Our daughter is in college. On a recent trip as we were waiting to catch our flight I asked her to count how many cell phones were being used in the waiting area, and then tell me how many were iPhones. She came back and reported that 75% of the cell phone users in the waiting area had iPhones!

We had a three-airport trip, so she continued to count as we moved through airports on the way to our final destination. The proportion of iPhones hit a low of 65% and a high of 80%. She was amazed how popular the iPhone really was even though the survey group was not scientific.

Apple devices are popular, and the iPhone is the most! No duh ... right?

More importantly, these are customers that who have a hard time connecting with you if you have not mobile optimized your website.

Chances are, if an iPhone user—or any mobile phone user, for that matter—did a browser search and your regular website was the only thing they could see, you would not get a second look! Period!

That’s using the internet for ya!

Back to my question…

So, what does being online mean?

It means taking time to understand the medium and getting serious about getting it right.

Because if you don’t the internet will be blind to you!

A strategic vision that can’t see a thing is not much of a vision!

—The Wombat!

Dan Fisher

Dan Fisher is president and CEO of The Copper River Group, a consulting firm headquartered in Fargo, N. D., that focuses on technology and payment systems research and consulting for community financial institutions. For nearly 30 years, Fisher has worked in the financial industry using technology to improve the bottom line. He was CIO of Community First Bankshares (now part of Bank of the West), has served as a director of the Federal Reserve Board of Minneapolis, the chairman of the American Bankers Association Payment Systems Committee, and was a member of the Independent Community Bankers of America Payments Committee. Fisher has written numerous articles on banking technology and the payments system. He has authored or co-authored six books and recently published a book titled, "Capturing Your Customer! The New Technology of Remote Deposit." You can contact Fisher at [email protected] or at 701-293-6222.
P.S. To understand Dan's nickname, check out "About the Wombat" on his website.       

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