Studies show that 20 per cent customers today prefer to perform banking tasks online. And this holds true not just for the tech-savvy millennial, but also for older individuals who are open to embracing digital channels. That’s not to say that customers are no longer walking into brick and mortar branches to avail of financial services. In fact, majority of the customers indicate a preference for in-person support to provide advice for complex, high-value transactions, such as mortgage loans or retirement planning.
This multichannel approach – whereby financial services can be accessed from mobile devices, desktops, or bricks and mortar branches – gives customers the flexibility to hop across channels, but can it guarantee a seamless and delightful customer experience? Not unless banks and financial institutions are ready to adopt an omnichannel approach as part of their digital transformation strategy.
For those wondering about the benefits of effective channel integration between multiple systems in banking and keeping the customer in the center of the integration, here go the top five:
Optimal customer experience
Blame it on digital players like Amazon, Netflix, Apple iTunes and the like, customers today are not easy to please. They expect service providers to not just meet, but exceed, customer expectations. So, when a customer researches on home loan options on a bank’s app and later, fills out an application form on the website, before approaching the nearest branch to clarify certain doubts, he doesn’t fancy restating the same information over and over again. The customer expects the bank to be aware of his requirement and fulfill the same in the quickest and most efficient manner. Or else, he won’t hesitate to take his business elsewhere.
The market is so competitive today that only enterprises who are willing to go that extra mile can attract and retain customers. With a streamlined omnichannel approach, banks and financial organizations can offer smooth customer experiences, despite the use of diverse channels. The idea is to analyze customer data from a variety of contact points – email, mobile apps, call centers, in-branch interactions, ATMs – to enable companies to deliver informed and personalized financial services to customers.
Single customer view
With multichannel approach becoming the norm, the number of customer touch points has increased significantly. While customers today have more options to access financial services, most banks and financial institutions are struggling to offer a cohesive approach to servicing customers. The culprit, in most cases, is the outdated legacy platforms – operating in silos – that have additional digital channels bolted onto them.
By adopting an omnichannel approach, complicated IT systems issues can be resolved effectively. In other words, customers will have more consistent interactions with the bank across various touch points. The bank, in turn, will be able to leverage the valuable data acquired from different channels to communicate effectively with customers and create an accurate account of individual customer preferences and behavior. Big data analytics can help extend a single view to the consumer, while omnichannel can lead to increased customer base, improved brand recognition and revenues.
New revenue models
Banks and financial organizations today are evolving beyond the traditional lender role. First Financial Bank in Cincinnati, for instance, offers cash management service to its customers, wherein it moves cash to a higher return investment once the account hits a certain level. Gradually, banks are venturing into the consultancy space through fee-based services to improve the bottom line.
As the financial sector catches up with advances in technology, it is becoming evident that digital transformation is as much about enhancing customer satisfaction as it is about increasing profit margins. With an omnichannel focus, banks can tap into the sea of customer data to sell the right consultancy services to the right clientele. From providing wealth management advice to book-keeping services, there’s a whole new world of financial customer demands that are waiting to be met.
How many times have you banged your head against the wall, while talking to your bank’s customer service executive? Most of them appear to be like hapless kids taking a school test in which questions asked are out of curriculum! As annoying as they may seem to the customer, the fact of the matter is that a majority of banks fail to provide their employees with the tools needed to effectively do their job. Sure, it affects customer service quality, but it also upsets employee morale.
With omnichannel adoption, banks and financial institutions can ensure that all employees are armed with actionable customer insights. Which means, across departments, employees can have easy access to accurate, up-to-date and consistent information. One of the primary goals of digital transformation is to facilitate speedy answers to critical questions. Data by itself has little value, unless it’s available to the right people, at the right time.
The big picture
What banks and financial organizations lack today is a holistic view of data. Every customer interaction seems to happen on different islands. The need of the hour is for enterprises to map customer journeys to help focus on the big picture.
Through an omnichannel lens, banks can be empowered to take the guesswork out of business decisions and look at data-driven customer insights. Discussions about market penetration and preferred channels become more objective and fruitful when there are numbers to back the claim. Once the big picture is clear, it’s easier for banks to concentrate on micro-segments, by personalizing their products and services.
Omnichannel is not just a buzzword; it’s the way forward for banks and financial organizations that wish to stay ahead of the competition. From operations and product development to marketing and finance, the data and technology required to drive digital transformation in the financial sector already exists. What’s lacking is the organizational orientation to facilitate an omnichannel approach.
Banks need to venture out of their comfort zones to meet the needs of the new-age customer. Bringing all the key parameters of online and offline channels, data and technology, customer behavior and experience, onto one platform, banks can deliver seamless customer experiences and bottom line benefits.