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How Banks and Credit Unions Can Best Help Account Holders During Tax Season

Mar 28, 2018 2:17:15 PM

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Tax season can be one of the most trying times for financial institutions and consumers, particularly since your account holders need information and access to records. Even though most of them started the year out with plans to stay better organized so that tax season wouldn’t be a struggle, a year later they're facing the same battle.

With the right financial tools and technology, you can help account holders handle more of their goals effortlessly.

How can your organization do this? 

Address Specific Needs During Tax Time

In the era of increased choice and decreased switching costs, users have ample choice in financial institutions. How you respond will determine whether users stay or leave.

Most users need copies of their financial records. They need to know how much interest they’ve earned on investment accounts. They want access to unique receipts and payments that they’ve made throughout the year that can help them to save money. And, they need guidance and advice on how to minimize taxes or boost earnings from investments.

A good place to start here is with ample training of your staff. Your employees need to be able to understand user needs here – including what types of information they may need, how to find it, how to organize all of the data available, and how to offer key information in a manner that meets all compliance requirements. You also need to ensure that your employees are able to navigate these complex areas with confidence – your users need to know they have nothing to worry about, after all.

Invest in Predictive Banking Tools

Look beyond the simple account management tools and software products you have available to you in the bank right now. Investing in a few new tools can help credit unions and banks to offer a better level of service while assisting customers in achieving more of their goals.

One of the best ways to enable both users and employees achieve their goals is to implement predictive banking applications. This can provide information and insight by compiling various points of data. Predictive banking works to provide information behind user behaviors. It gives financial institutions the ability to offer a more predictive level of service.

For example, it can work to gather transaction data that may be related to tax obligations, investments, or particular types of expenses. This can gather information and present it to the customer so he or she can utilize it for any needs.

From a banker’s standpoint, this particular tool provides guidance on what customers are doing – what are their patterns and behaviors – and what do they mean. Instead of digging through transactions, bankers have tools at their fingertips they can use to access information and present it in the best possible manner to achieve the user’s goals.

In this same vein, you might also provide access to chatbots. These work to communicate information in a streamlined fashion. Instead of taking up precious time that the teller needs, chatbots can find transactions or answer many questions automatically. This means that even the night before taxes are due to the IRS, these tools can be hard at work helping users gather information and verify details within their accounts. Of course, remember that effective chatbots must rely on a foundation of data.

Why It Matters

As a credit union or a traditional bank, your organization is constantly under threat both from intensifying third-party services and cost-cutting efforts. At the same time, companies that invest in technology will be able to achieve much more.

At tax time, this means providing users with the very best level of service they can have. It means having information at their fingertips from well-trained, dedicated employees. It also includes ensuring the bank and its services are available at any given time. It goes without saying that this helps your organization to compete, maintain solid relationships with customers, and deliver a better product and service. When account holders see that their bank or credit union is being a financial advocate for their needs, they recognize that it is an institution worth remaining loyal to long term.

Written by Sandy Baker