Delivering a first-class omnichannel banking experienceATM Marketplace

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Banks are struggling to create omnichannel experiences. A panel titled “Delivering an effective omnichannel experience to boost the customer’s experience” addressed the topic at the Bank Customer Experience Summit, held in Chicago from August 31 to September 1.

Omnichannel has been a buzzword for many years now, as companies across multiple verticals have attempted to create impactful experiences across multiple digital and physical channels.

Banks have struggled to create this seamless experience. A panel, sponsored by Otka and entitled “Delivering an effective omnichannel experience to improve the customer experience”, addressed the subject at the Bank Customer Experience Summit, which was held in Chicago from August 31 to September 1.

Tom Malta, IAM Expert, Financial Services at Okta, moderated the panel with Michelle Kile, SVP, Retail Banking at bankHometown, Brian McEvoy, SVP Retail Banking at Webster Five, and Ashley Ross, Customer Experience and Retail Customer Solutions at Bank of America.

Malta started the panel by asking the panelists about the current omnichannel strategy. All stressed that they wanted to develop a smooth experience.

“We think high-tech, high touch. Those have to be transparent. We want to give customers choice. If someone starts in a channel, they have to be able to finish,” Ross said. “At the same time, if they want the high touch, how can we enable it seamlessly?”

Kile said it was important to stay “relevant to current customers” and his bank was finding it increasingly difficult to manage communication at the back.

McEvoy said he personally thinks the words multichannel and omnichannel are both wrong because they emphasize the bank’s channels rather than the customer.

“You have to start with the customer and their journey. Create a seamless experience for them,” McEvoy said.

When it comes to the employee side of the equation, panelists said it’s critical to train employees well and have clear communication across channels.

Kile said it can cause problems when employees don’t feel comfortable using or talking about bank products and banks need to educate employees.

“You can acquire tools, but if you don’t have the business process in place to create a 360-degree view of the customer experience, you won’t get that frictionless experience,” McEvoy said. “You can automate CRM, but if you have call center or branch experience and the other channel doesn’t know about it, that creates a sticking point.”

Ross said banks need to think about this customer journey. “You have to focus on what the client is trying to do and define the process they might be doing it for.”

Malta asked the panelists how they manage the creation of omnichannel solutions rather than their purchase.

“We don’t think about buying or building, we don’t build anything. There are no developers on staff. It’s more about what we acquire and how we partner” , McEvoy said. Webster Five thinks about sticking points it can solve with solutions.

Kile said she’s on both sides of the equation, but she sees the benefit of creating a solution since third-party solutions can impact employees.

“When I look at it through the eyes of the cashier, I don’t want to allow my cashier to do things that could cost him his job (with a third-party solution),” Kile said. With integrated solutions, the bank can get more feedback from frontline employees, even though they know that’s not an option for everyone.

Ross said banks should have a mix of the two. For example, Bank of America buys its surveys, but has also invested in platforms that determine how these surveys are sent.

Panelists also discussed self-service versus physical service and personalization.

“In an ideal world, we’d answer every need over the phone, but sometimes you need clarity. Our preference is for frontline employees to teach people how to use digital channels,” Ross said.

Kile said that on a physical level, bankHometown has added Wi-Fi in its branches because many times a customer will only go to the branch once to open the account. Thus, with Wi-Fi, the customer can consult the accounts on his phone when opening the account. The bank did this to avoid abandonment that can occur after opening accounts, as customers may not know how to fully utilize their online accounts.

McEvoy said banks need to move away from a channel mindset and focus more on the customer. “Channels are a mental construct that we put in place. The customer doesn’t care.”

To do that, Ross said, making it easy for customers is key. “We need to make it easy for them to do business with them through self-service and also build a digital relationship with them through personalized content.”

“Personalization is key. If their bank could get good personalization, they would be more likely to buy from that bank,” Kile said. “The more you do, the less churn you have, the more loyal customers you get.”

Bradley Cooper is the publisher of ATM Marketplace and was previously the publisher of Digital Signage Today. He has a background in information technology, advertising and writing.

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