We all know that technology in the banking industry has been ever evolving. With the introduction of ATMs, web and mobile applications, kiosks, chatbots, watch, IoT, and more, banks are constantly striving to keep pace with technological innovations, thus, giving rise to the concept of multichannel banking.
The pace in the technological innovations has fastened so much over the past few decades, that banks have been facing challenges to sustain than to leverage the technological benefits from it. Therefore, the focus for them has been towards transaction driven systems than the interaction driven.
This is evident in one particular common scenario, where one needs to add a beneficiary to the online banking system. Most of the time, there would be a time lag to reflect the recently added beneficiary from the internet banking onto the mobile banking channel. Furthermore, the transaction history would reflect based on the channel of usage.
Similarly, a customer must have also observed that the number of functionalities differ when compared between the available channels for the same bank. Often users have a difference of experience when navigating on different channels, sometimes when some functionalities may not be clearly visible or hidden behind a click.
This has resulted in channels having a bank-centric approach than the customer-centric approach. This is where Omni-channel banking strategy comes into picture. Omni-channel Banking experience is about providing a seamless and consistent interaction for the customer across touch points. It does not replace multichannel instead enhances it.
Omni-channel experience considers analytics to know what a customer wants and likes rather than just providing usage patterns. This helps customers to be treated like individuals instead of considering them as a part of a large audience.
Few key aspects of omni-channel banking are:
- Consistent flow with interfaces:
A consistent navigation/information flow helps users to learn once and use anywhere approaches thus, allowing a faster adoption of newer channels.
- Seamless personal data visibility
No matter how many channels are being used by a customer for fulfilling their banking service needs, it should be seamless to show information or perform transactions across channels. A very good recent example is of an Aadhaar update in bank accounts, which need not be performed separately on each channel.
- Simplified and uniform information
Information should be available in the simplest human banking terms. SBA could be shown as savings account.
- Engagement driven systems
Actions/alerts to be taken by the customer should be seamless across channels, while leveraging on the advantages of each channel. For example, enabling notifications on mobile or in-app/ web notifications.
- Channel leverages
Channels also come with capability difference. Finger print on mobile devices help users with easy authentication. A beacon device which can create a token for you when there might come a time for you to visit the branch. Merchant payments could be simplified with contactless.
BENEFIT FOR BANKS
How would banks benefit from the omni-channel experience?
As a Bank providing services to customers, the Omni-channel experience provides many benefits.
- Increased customer satisfaction
Consistent digital experience across channels results in customers having easy learning curves at the same time adoption to new technologies.
- Lower Maintenance
Shared functionalities across systems enable banks to lower cost of maintenance as the same functionality is available commonly to all systems.
- Faster time to deploy
With the shared functionalities across channel approach, the time to deploy newer features is comparatively faster.
- Lower customer service calls
Though small, yet a certain percentage of phone banking calls are related to inconsistent/unavailable / difference in channel experience. Omni-channel would definitely help in reducing the calls that directly relate to such call loads.
Banks already are having an unprecedented amount of data about their customers. The analytics will help them to optimize their processes and customer experience in unique ways. Thus treating customers like individuals should be the norm rather than making him/ her fill small part of a large customer segment.
It is evident that today’s omni-channel expectations will only grow. As more and more customers turn digital, the omni-channel strategy is the opportunity to create the difference between those banks that rise and those that cannot compete any longer.
Godwin Pinto is head, Business Mobility at CMSS.