Call centers, online banking, text banking, live chat and mobile apps have made financial services more efficient and convenient for customers. Omnichannel solutions allow customers to reach out when it’s most convenient and via their preferred medium. In spite of the convenience, the variety of contact options have created inconsistencies in service communication and thus, frustration for customers. Common complaints include having to repeat problems to each department, getting confusing or conflicting information and not being able to efficiently come to a clear solution. In the past, omnichannel was the key solution for financial companies to address these inconsistencies. Unfortunately today there are often disconnects between the channels that prevents companies from unifying answers and delivering one-call resolutions, which can lower the quality of service.
Although omnichannel solutions have been fundamental for financial institutions – now many customers demand digital technology for their daily financial activities, avoid traditional physical channels and other methods involving human interaction. The majority of financial institution clients are attracted by the convenience, accessibility, innovation and ease-of-use provided by fintechs. Trends show that consumers are starting to leave behind companies that only offer omnichannel solutions for those that offer digital banking options.
“6 in 10 banking customers prefer to use digital channels” – Gallup
To adapt, the point is not to leave omnichannel behind, but to constantly adjust to new customer expectations – in this case digital banking options. To succeed and compete with Fintechs, banking institutions need to recognize the impact tech organizations have on consumers and understand the need to improve financial service offerings across all digital channels. Keeping up with innovative technology companies poses a challenge, but is critical to compete in the industry.
“Financial industries need to introduce experiences that are more like [social media] rather than traditional services they provide today. It’s all about re-inventing dated polices, processes and products for new and more discerning generations of connected customers.” – Brian Solis from Financial Brand
How Can Your Company Adapt?
Start Migrating Face-to-Face Services to Digital Channels
Most banks still require certain activities to be completed in person to comply with security regulations. However, considering the generational transitions and the change in consumer preferences, it is important for companies to adjust their processes and convince customers to adapt to new service offerings. The shift from face-to-face to digital interactions should not be implemented abruptly, instead banks should methodically make transitions to increase the likelihood that customers will make the changes and utilize new tools. This doesn’t mean giving up in-person support – after all there are still a large group of elderly clients that are unlikely to fully adapt to digital options – it just means focusing on digital to support Baby Boomer and younger clients.
Bridge the Gap to Digital Banking
Using ATMs is an example of a bridge between physical and digital services – you are accessing digital platforms but customers have to go to a specific physical location to access them. ATMs serve as an educator to familiarize customers with digital channels and allow them to complete transactions on their own making them less dependent on personal assistance. Implementing tools like this make digital interaction seem less daunting to many customers. Additionally introducing digital channels in-branch or via ATM is also a good way to transition non-adopters in a comfortable space where they have the safety net of an in-person interaction at hand. Education and rolling out tools in baby-steps is the key especially for tools like new apps or online banking.
Adopt Video with Online and Mobile Banking
Digital channels such as online and mobile banking are growing on a daily basis. Regardless of how user-friendly these platforms are, there are still certain activities users would prefer personal assistance without going to a physical bank branch. Adding video communications to introduce new tools or a video chat interface to your online and mobile banking tools will personalize the experience and provide the human interaction that customers are looking for.
“93% of banking providers in 52 different countries think customer satisfaction would improve if a high-quality video banking service for mobile devices were to be implemented” – Miller from Tearsheet.
Design a Better Digital Experience
Even though some banks are already applying previously mentioned strategies, digital banking is still new territory for some financial institutions and they have a long way to go to meet customer expectations. The most important component of adding digital tools is ensuring that your platform is user-friendly and your customers can get the support they need. Keep in mind that customers learn what user-friendly is mainly from consumer retailers who set the standard by ensuring their digital interactions are seamless. That means providing an easy-to-use platform that will encourage positive reviews, increase satisfaction and promote word of mouth marketing is more essential than ever.
Applying digital strategies similar to these will help keep your business competitive, enable support for all customers and prepare your company to proactively face new challenges and opportunities that are critical to every financial institution’s future.
Armstrong, K. (2017). Omni-Channel Banking: How Banks Can Deliver Unmatched Customer Service. Retrieved from http://www.abe.ai/blog/omni-channel-banking-how-banks-can-deliver-unmatched-customer-service/
Caballo, M. (2017). Why banks must have an omnichannel digital strategy. Retrieved from https://www.cio.com/article/3201198/financial-it/why-banks-must-have-an-omnichannel-digital-strategy.html
Marous, J. (2017). Top 10 Retail Banking Trends and Predictions for 2018. Retrieved from https://thefinancialbrand.com/69180/2018-top-banking-trends-predictions-outlook-digital-fintech-data-ai-cx-payments-tech/all/
Miller, Z. (2017). 3 things banks can do to move more customers out of the branch. Retrieved from http://www.tearsheet.co/modern-banking-experience/3-things-banks-can-do-to-move-more-customers-out-of-the-branch