Today's consumers want a seamless experience across their banking touch points. They may begin filling out a mortgage application form online, add the finishing touches to the document on their tablet while commuting to work and then pop into a local branch to iron out any problems.
This is just one example of how a customer might use multiple channels when performing banking tasks. But what if banks don't have mobile-friendly features? Or perhaps branch employees don't have easy access to forms filled out online? These problems can quickly cause frustration and delays that impact customer satisfaction.
In 2015, PwC revealed that 46 percent of banking customers use more than one channel when interacting with their bank, while research from Infosys and Efma suggested banks are becoming more committed to omnichannel approaches. In fact, two-thirds of financial institutions (FIs) surveyed believed they are becoming more innovative and 84 percent are investing more on channel modernization.
Why are omnichannel strategies important? Providing omnichannel services can deliver a range of benefits for FIs, including higher customer satisfaction levels, branch cost savings and the ability to increase product revenues.
For example, Wells Fargo figures analysed in a Transform report in 2015 revealed that the number of products and services that banking customers buy is often higher the more channels they utilize.
Individuals who used four channels within a given six-month period bought an average of 3.3 financial products, while single channel consumers only purchased 1.8.
It is therefore unsurprising that 61 percent of FIs that PwC polled said formulating a customer-centric model is very important. However, this can be easier said than done when many organizations are divided into product or departmental silos. So what can banks do to drive omnichannel performance?
Optimizing omnichannel services A successful strategy requires a combination of the best hardware and software technologies, the right training and development, and the deconstruction of silos.
IT is often the driving force behind channel optimization, whether it's better-integrated back-end systems, advanced analytics for insight generation or innovative customer-facing technologies.
As such, banks must work closely with partners that can provide a full end-to-end service across financial services hardware, software and services to achieve a frictionless consumer experience across multiple channels.
But even the best technologies can only be leveraged effectively if banks have access to a talented pipeline of employees. This means FIs must focus on attracting and retaining staff with more digital capabilities, as well as training and developing the existing workforce to cope with new omnichannel demands.
For many banks, overhauling their processes to achieve omnichannel excellence is daunting, however, it remains crucial for those organizations that wish to meet the needs of modern consumers.