Blossoming Branches? The impact of Omni-Channel

It is increasingly important for banks to provide a consistent, high quality experience to their customers across all channels. Consistency is critical to build up the bank’s image, brand and ultimately, customer loyalty. The data gathered from a unified customer experience also helps to build a detailed and accurate picture of a customer’s preference and spending behaviour.

Today, banks offer their services via various channels (Branch, ATM, Mobile, Internet Banking etc). However, in most cases, they offer limited functionality or inconsistent user experience across these silo-ed channels. For example, the same marketing campaigns are often shown via different channels and even though a customer has already responded to the campaign in one channel, they will continue to show the same marketing assets in other channels. This makes for annoyed customers, who feel pestered and unloved by their bank. Banks need to get provide an better omni-channel experience – or they are missing out on their biggest opportunity to grow their business.

In a silo-ed world, customer service provision is not satisfactory. Customer and bank staff access different systems and see different information. Even worse, there can be situations where a customer is accessing the customer-facing interface via a personal device, while at the same time a bank staff member is accessing the back-end or administration module – and they see different information. This makes conversations – either over the phone, instant messenger or across a table in a branch – very difficult.

Banks need to move towards a unified solution, where customers and bank staff can see from the same prospective. Analysis by The Financial Brand indicates that branches will increasingly focus on high value sales and less on traditional transactions. Branches will focus on delivering financial reviews to generate cross-sales based on an analytical-led, more personalized service. Advisors will use enhanced financial planning tools, providing 360 degree views of any customer entering the branch.

Banking applications are complex and may consist of multiple back-end bank systems and processes such as transaction processing, payment systems, general ledgers, loan origination systems, mobile banking systems, internet banking systems etc. To enable an omni-channel experience in branch – and all other channels – banks need to aggregate their data from across all these locations and present it coherently in one view.

With the advent of omni-channel, customers will be able to respond to a campaign from internet banking for a personal loan. If the customer wants some face-to-face advice, the application will be available in-branch for discussion and signature. Once the application is approved and the payment has been made, an SMS or push notification is sent to the customer to confirm.

Omni-channel enables this seamless flow of information and engagement. If banks fail to get omni-channel right, then they will miss opportunities to satisfy customers and fulfil product needs. Branches will cease to be useful generators of value, but will instead become significant generators of cost.

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