By : Shelagh Munday
April 02, 2015 08:30 AM
Customer experiences have changed dramatically in the last ten years. In 2005, online channels were beginning to take root, the smartphone didn’t really exist and the ATM-branch nexus remained the key to delivering services that customers needed.
Fast forward ten years and the mobile and online channels have proved truly disruptive. Nothing has been left unchanged as consumers use these tools to bank on-the-go; like simply checking their balance to setting up bill payments. However, branches and ATMs are still vital and we are seeing a resurgence in branch focus thanks to technological advances. So if we’ve learned anything from the last decade it’s that disruptive events can lead the industry in a path that few would have predicted.
Where will we be ten years from now? We can certainly expect things to look a lot different.
People that need access to physical money will be able to make a withdrawal from the ATM using their smartphones or account card without needing to insert anything in the machine – like the contactless trials we are seeing in Australia. New ways of managing authentication will come from the ‘thing I have’, which was traditionally a card but will evolve to being a connection using a near field communication (NFC) token or QR code via a mobile; combined with the ‘thing I know’ - which is traditionally a PIN code. In the future, we may need to redefine ‘the thing I know’ with ‘the thing that is personal to me’ – such as biometric verification, allowing a simple and secure transaction.
ATMs will look very different as the user experience aligns across channels, if we learn from retail trends, we see that people expect that their tablet or smartphone experience will be replicated at the ATM. Consumers will have a highly personal experience that suits them, such as pre-staging transactions via mobile and the ATM will offer a tailored experience to each customer.
Branches will be a lot more responsive, agile and leaner. Identification services will mean financial institutions will know the exact need of that customer as they walk in; because banks can utilize their customer’s ‘big data.’ Knowing such things as product interests or if that customer has hearing or eyesight impairments and need more assistance, those options will be presented upon entry.
While in the branch these consumers can arrange a meeting with human specialists via the video conference rooms, meaning banks can tie up fewer resources in branches but still deliver the breadth of services. The customer will be instantly connected to the right expert who can advise on the new services that they need, like discussing the best consumer mortgage or even small business accounting advice. There will no longer be a delay or waiting time for the right expert to become available. Similar to the evolving one to one delivery of television and film content, these services can be scheduled and will be available ‘on demand’ through a mobile or tablet to suit the consumer.
We’ll also see the move towards a shared branch model, similar to the communal ATM model today, where banks will cooperate to deliver services at a cost that works for them. In many cases this will entail mutual spaces where consumers can interact with the bank of their choice. Moving to this model will not be smooth sailing but it will be necessary as the digitization and self-service of customer requirements increases.
By the end of 2024, the way that a financial institution manages their face-to-face channels will be the key to differentiating the consumer experience. It will continue as one of the top reasons that consumers select a financial institution and will maintain its spot as the top performing channel for converting applications. We really will be seeing you in ten years!