Banks are aware of the urgent need to undergo a digital transformation. Their industry is practically unrecognisable, their customers have gone digital and fintech companies have arrived on the scene with a host of new alternatives. Banks know they have fallen behind the curve, and they want to catch up – after all, it’s what the market demands. Clever mobile functionality is all the rage, so starting there would create a quick win and impress customers. Right?
Hold on to the bigger picture
In the rush towards everything digital, however, banks mustn’t lose sight of the wood for the trees. Simply rolling out the best mobile functionality isn’t the best answer, because that isn’t necessarily what the end customer wants. Not everyone wants to do their banking solely by smartphone. They may opt for another online channel, or even pick up the phone to a call centre. Traditional channels such as the bank branch or ATM, albeit less important, haven’t gone away either. In fact, for the time being, such channels shouldn’t be neglected.
We still have one million people coming to our branches every day, and they need that channel. Some need it to transact, but a lot of them come in for advice and we want them to do that. So we need a certain footprint of financial centers — Paul Donofrio, CFO at Bank of America (Do Banks Need Branches in the Digital Age?, The Financial Brand)
Rather than charging headlong into all things digital, a considered approach is called for – one that embraces all channels, old and new. Clear, uncomplicated and personalised communications must be offered at all contact points, and strategy should revolve around creating frictionless omni-channel experiences. Getting to grips with digital is such a huge undertaking in itself, it’s easy to forget the need for a holistic approach.
With almost half of customers using multiple banking channels, they’re not going to be impressed by a series of isolated, disconnected improvements. They expect a seamless, integrated customer journey, however they decide to make contact. (Making omnichannel work: The “to do” list for banks, PWC)
Not every customer is mobile
Flawless mobile banking is vital, but it’s not the silver bullet when it comes to first-class UX, simply because it’s just one touchpoint among many. Numbers from Gallup show that 79% of mobile banking users had also visited a physical branch in the past six months, and 84% had used an ATM. Customers jump from channel to channel, and whatever path they take, they expect the experience to be hassle-free every time. (True Omnichannel banking: Much more than skin deep, Finextra)
The secret ingredient: empowered people
Technology powers an omni-channel approach, integrating everything to deliver a seamless service, supporting back-end systems, and providing a 360-degree view of customers. There is a very real human element to all of this. Empowered employees and satisfied customers generate bottom-line success, and this is the real reward of using the right technology.
A client-centric approach must be the guiding principle behind any improvement efforts. With this approach and the right technology partners behind them, banks can reap the benefits of making life easier for their staff and customers. Every banking channel has evolved, so banks need to strategize across a range of them, rather than become too focused on one. This is how they can deliver the holistic quality experience their customers want.
A concerted effort is required and a large degree of focus. The target of that focus, however, is the broader concept of omni-channel banking, where success begins with an appreciation of the customer’s need for a uniform, seamless experience. When these needs are mapped onto back-end processes, it becomes possible to deliver functionality that makes sense for both staff and customers. This is how technology gets used to make meaningful improvements, as opposed to just impressive ones. If banks can ensure that engagement drives deployment, they can truly call their digital transformation a customer-focused one; a worthy pursuit, and for long-term success, the only approach that will be worthwhile.
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