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Text message? All part of the omnichannel experience

By : Robert Johnston

June 11, 2015 08:30 AM

Finding new ways to connect with your customers is a challenge, so it makes sense to use all the possible options available to you. Call centers and branches have been around a while, while online is a lot more recent.
 

Mobile banking is even newer. But before we get too wrapped up talking about apps, what about simple text messages? The humble SMS has been around a long time and consumers are used to them, making them ideal for connecting with customers.
 

Currently, most banks are using texts to alert customers to possible fraud, or an update to their account. But it’s a one-way conversation at present and not the kind of dialogue that institutions are seeking from their customer service channels.
 

Orrstown Bank in Pennsylvania is one institution going down a different route, offering its customers a two-way text message service that allows them to message customer service reps during office hours if they have a query or problems with their account. Employees can then text them back with an answer or direct them to the appropriate channel.
 

SMS is not the most secure, of course, so the conversation needs to be moved elsewhere once sensitive account or personal information is required. In that sense it can be treated like a social media conversation, which banks are using to conduct business with customers in the open such as on Twitter or Facebook.
 

Queries like branch location and opening hours could be the sort of thing the text service may be used for. More detailed account queries will be moved to more secure channel. The bank is also letting customers attach a photo of a rival bank offer and ask whether Orrstown can do better, an idea it’s calling "snap and match."
 

Whatever the use scenarios - and the bank is not pushing any right now - it’s just another example of how different channels can be used to engage consumers and let them connect with the bank on their terms.Currently, most banks are using texts to alert customers to possible fraud, or an update to their account. But it’s a one-way conversation at present and not the kind of dialogue that institutions are seeking from their customer service channels.
 

Orrstown Bank in Pennsylvania is one institution going down a different route, offering its customers a two-way text message service that allows them to message customer service reps during office hours if they have a query or problems with their account. Employees can then text them back with an answer or direct them to the appropriate channel.
 

SMS is not the most secure, of course, so the conversation needs to be moved elsewhere once sensitive account or personal information is required. In that sense it can be treated like a social media conversation, which banks are using to conduct business with customers in the open such as on Twitter or Facebook.
 

Queries like branch location and opening hours could be the sort of thing the text service may be used for. More detailed account queries will be moved to more secure channel. The bank is also letting customers attach a photo of a rival bank offer and ask whether Orrstown can do better, an idea it’s calling "snap and match."
 

Whatever the use scenarios - and the bank is not pushing any right now - it’s just another example of how different channels can be used to engage consumers and let them connect with the bank on their terms.

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Robert Johnston

NCR Financial Services

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Based out of NCR's R&D center in Dundee, UK, Robert Johnston is a global evangelist for NCR’s retail banking software strategy. Here, Johnston shares his insights on the banking industry and how consumers are driving today's conversation.