Omni-channel banking is about more than a brand being available on a variety of touch points, it is about creating a multi-faceted, unified customer experience.
Omni channel is not the latest buzzword, it is a serious business-focused solution that will deliver bottom line benefits. When it comes to retail banking, ‘Omni channel’ is the new nirvana. Banks need to raise their game to meet customer expectations, keep them on-board and be able to deliver a seamless experience over any device. For the banks, it is an opportunity to really understand the customer, streamline systems and focus attention on the most profitable.
The Omni channel vs. multi-channel approach
The multi-channel approach came to the fore several years ago, when banks launched online platforms and encouraged customers to use call centres for their everyday banking needs. The number of touch points increased, but with expansion came more complicated IT systems. Additional channels were bolted on to legacy platforms but many banks struggled to offer a joined-up approach to servicing customers.
From the customer’s perspective, Omni channel banking continues to offer access to financial services across a variety of channels and introduces more consistent interactions with the banking brand across the various touch points. The bank will be able to analyse the information being fed in from different channels so that it can build up a detailed and accurate picture of the customer’s preferences and behaviour.
The boom in smartphone apps coupled with this more detailed customer view means that banks will be able to offer app-based services such as budgeting or financial planning via the mobile: a relatively untapped service to date.
Omni channel offers business-focused solution
- Meeting customer expectations
With Omni channel banking, customers will have a consistent experience whether accessing their bank via a mobile, tablet or visiting a branch in person. Research from Google has shown that 46% of people managing their finances online switch between devices before completing the activity. A streamlined Omni channel approach to banking services will introduce a smooth customer experience through several changes in device, ensuring the transaction is completed without a hitch.
- Leveraging the data
From the bank’s perspective, a joined up, 360 degree view of all of their customers’ activities offers clear benefits. Banks are uniquely placed to understand their consumers. They see their spending and income patterns, their savings profiles and by leveraging this information they receive from the various channels they can build up a detailed customer profile. This is when data points become valuable information.
Achieving the omnichannel goal
Utilising intelligent strategies to integrate disparate digital and physical channels into a single, seamless experience has to be a priority. By analysing the activity and priorities of their client base, banks can tailor offerings to address the priorities of each individual customer. Mass, low profit parts of the business can be serviced accordingly as can high margin services and clientele. Streamlined, integrated systems, a single customer view and optimal customer experience are all objectives to work towards. It will be banks that take the leap that will ultimately get the edge over the competition. Omni channel can deliver much-needed bottom line benefits and provide banks with a viable plan to retain customers and make them more profitable.
Banks need to make their services easy for the customer, regardless of the means they use to access them, where banks need to clearly understand customer expectations, usage habits and streamline their systems.
An intelligent Omni channel strategy will be a powerful weapon for banks to forge tighter bonds with consumers in an increasingly competitive landscape. Banks that fail to implement a successful Omni channel strategy risk facing significant customer loss to the banks or disruptive challengers that do so.
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