They offer Internet banking and home banking software. They have mobile applications to provide information and some basic banking functions on the move.
Customers can access services through a range of different routes, anytime, anywhere on any device. But are those routes connected?
True and false multi-channel service
A customer makes a payment using their laptop before an in-branch meeting. The branch-based advisor does not realise that the payment has gone out, and offers inappropriate advice.
Or a customer negotiates a loan over the phone. And then, fifteen minutes later, the same customer gets an email inviting them to take out another loan.
These are examples of banking using multiple channels, but not truly multi-channel banking.
Most banks have developed their channel offerings piecemeal, adding phone banking, online banking and now mobile banking services to their core banking system without full integration.
If those channels are not aligned, every contact between customer and bank involves a risk. A risk not only that customers will be dissatisfied, but also that the work of managing their transactions and relationship with those customers will be done several times across the bank’s structure.
This creates unnecessary inefficiencies, and increases the danger that opportunities to cross-sell, reduce cost and complexity or build customer loyalty will fall between the gaps.
The channels customers use to access banking services are changing all the time. In mature markets financial services are starting to migrate further – to social networks, to NFC-enabled devices, and beyond. New channels are opening up, with new risks and benefits. And in newer, growing markets entirely new channel approaches are bringing banking to previously unbankable communities.
Adding new channels to systems still designed for branch banking will offer progressively diminishing returns. And replicating the services familiar from branch banking in new channels, without playing to each channel’s unique strengths, will not be enough.
Customers expect true customer-centricity, and true multi-channel delivery.
That means service that is available – in the appropriate format at the appropriate time for their needs. Service that is accurate – where changes or decisions made through one channel are immediately reflected across all channels. And service that is relevant – using information received from every channel to make sure that offers according to the customer needs are delivered to the right channel.