30 Aug The impending rise of the Omni Channel bank
Superior customer engagement is the holy grail of every bank. All technology investment should directly or indirectly benefit this primary focus. Banks the last decade evolved to multi-channel banks to try to serve their customers by adapting to a customer’s life and creating new interactions with them beyond the branch. Alternate Delivery Channels (ADC’s) have become a fundamental part of banking strategy and are key to growing business. But the customer is now more demanding than ever and thanks to social media his ability to complain to a large listening public by going viral is greater than ever. The key to acquiring and keeping satisfied customers via superior engagement is to become an omni-channel bank.
A multi-channel bank engages with its customers outside the branch. An omni-channel bank provides its customers with the same superior customer experience regardless of the channel. Whether you are engaging with a customer via web, mobile, ATM, branch or the phone the customer should get the same consistent great service. There are tremendous customer service, profitability per customer, customer acquisition & retention costs, and cross selling opportunities that get unlocked with the omni-channel bank. The problem is that the concept of the omni-channel bank is need based. Banks have arrived at it by following their customers. Software vendors, even the multibillion dollar giants, do not have an out of box solution that dovetails into a bank’s omni-channel need (although SAP’s acquisition of Hybris is something that excites us greatly). The banks must take the lead by integrating as many pieces of the channel they have. Here are some steps we feel banks should take:
Consistent multi-channel response: This is a low hanging fruit because often this is a process driven change. If a customer has a query regarding your services, say… “What are your credit card limits and the criteria for each limit”, or say “Do your car loans cover cars that are 5 years old?”… A bank should respond to that query with agility and fast response regardless of which channel the query came from. If you are responding to that query slowly via web and faster via call center there is an issue.
Get your risk management investments to power customer innovation: High performing databases and in-memory computing investments power banking initiatives around compliance, risk management, fraud management, Anti Money Laundering etc. These are the same predictive analytics tool you will need to understand your customer habits and respond to them consistently in every channel. If you have made these investments or are planning to make them, ensure that these investments are used to become more customer centric. Banks do not hire brand or customer service experts with analytics back grounds. They need to.
Mobile banking: You know it’s hot. You have initiatives and investments in place to make banking mobile. You are already online. Do you have all queries and FAQ’s a customer needs at his smartphone’s fingertips? Are you working with the banking regulator to liberate e-commerce rules to enable online customer facilitation of order management, bill payments, retail payments, smart wallets? Do you have dedicated resources and initiatives on working directly with retailers? How about corporate to bank interaction automation via web and e-treasury services? Have you got an app for every ecosystem? Have you partnered smartly with telecom providers and the government? Banks can do more, much more in this area.
The future of banking is based on the same principle as the past of banking; the customer is at its centre. It will take an omni-channel bank to get there.
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