Turbo Boost Your Bank’s Growth with a Service-Led Omnichannel Strategy – Part 1

Turbo Boost Your Bank’s Growth with a Service-Led Omnichannel Strategy – Part 1

Customers have high expectations of banks. They expect their money must be both secure and easy to access. They want competitive interest rates and low account fees. They also increasingly demand digital services and personalized, high-quality customer service.

Is your financial institution delivering these essentials?

If not, it should since about 75% of banking customers are attracted to FinTech competitors. Opening a bank account is easy, but if your customers’ needs aren’t met, switching banks isn’t difficult and can be done with minimum effort.

To meet the rising needs of customers, banks should look to an omnichannel strategy. In this first part of a two-part series, we’ll explore how banks can create a service-led approach to their offerings across an omnichannel, the benefits and challenges of such a plan, and what to consider when implementing a strategy.

What is an omnichannel strategy?

Unlike a multichannel strategy where customers begin and end their interaction on the same channel, an omnichannel strategy offers user access to your bank’s products and services through their preferred channels, platforms, or devices. It enables them to engage with and jump from sales, customer service, and service teams within the same experience, without having to start a new interaction each time. It offers customers a modern and seamless banking experience that answers today’s need for accessibility and consistency across all touch points.

As technology evolves and customers integrate more technology in their daily lives, it makes sense to enhance the way salespeople and marketers interact with users. Instead of limiting user experience to a single desktop, mobile or chat interaction, banks should create an integrative experience where they can meet customers where they want to be met and across any channels they choose.

An omnichannel strategy is critical to reducing customer churn and to your bank’s long-term success. Once you understand your customers’ needs you can tailor your strategy to create integrated and cohesive experiences across all platforms and meet, or even surpass them.

A Service-Led Approach

Most online banks offer faster, cheaper, and more innovative services than traditional banks. These benefits are the start to competing in a highly competitive financial landscape and keeping sophisticated customers happy. To provide the quality service customers expect, banks align their branch services across all channels to ensure that when a customer reaches them, the experience will ensure a seamless connection between departments and processes without any disruption or loss of information.

Whether a customer wants to open an account from at a teller location, access your mobile app, settle a dispute through the call center, or pay bills, they shouldn’t worry when switching platforms that their issue won’t be solved. So, by aligning your channels—chatbots, website, or call centers—you’ll provide a uniform experience. In addition, creating personalized journeys for more consistent interactions will result in smoother touchpoints and build stronger relationships with customers.

What Can an Omnichannel Strategy Do for Your Bank?

The benefits of an omnichannel strategy go beyond providing an experience spanning multiple channels.

Improved customer experience: Engagement and satisfaction scores can improve due to personalized customer experience across channels.

More customer insights: You can better understand customer preferences and behaviors by following and analyzing customer interactions across social media, webinars, chatbots, web forms, etc. By contextualizing this data, organizations can further tailor operations to meet customer needs across each channel.

Increased customer retention: Personalized and seamless experiences improve the likelihood of purchase, while giving more control to customers over their purchasing experience with tools such as chatbots and virtual agents can increase satisfaction and build loyalty.

Operational efficiency: Streamlined processes not only help drive down costs, but also increase productivity and job satisfaction, and provide a more efficient and effective customer service.

Data-driven insights: Unified channels provide rich data, aiding in informed decision-making and personalized services.

Differentiation: The key to a successful omnichannel strategy is consistency. Investing time and effort into consistent branding, communication, personalization, self-service and customer service, an organization can stand out and differentiate themselves in the market to stay at the top of customers’ considerations.

Technology Integration

Technology can make or break your organization. Here’s how technology plays a crucial role in the successful execution of an omnichannel strategy:

Channel integration: Banks integrate various communication channels, such as websites, mobile apps, social media platforms, email, phone systems, and physical branches. This integration enables seamless data sharing and customer journey continuity across channels.

Customer data management: Technology facilitates the collection, storage, and analysis of customer data from different channels. This data includes customer preferences, behaviors, transaction history, and interactions. By leveraging technology, banks can gain a holistic view of their customers and use this information to personalize experiences and make data-driven decisions.

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems: CRM systems provide a centralized platform for managing customer interactions, data, and communication across channels. These systems enable banks to track customer interactions, capture data, and provide a consistent experience throughout the customer journey.

Marketing automation: Technology allows banks to automate marketing campaigns and communications across multiple channels. This includes personalized email marketing, targeted social media advertising, and automated messaging. Automation helps deliver consistent messaging and enables timely and relevant communication with customers.

Analytics and insights: Banks gather and analyze data from various channels to gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends. This information helps optimize marketing strategies, personalize experiences, and identify areas for improvement.

Mobile and cloud technologies: Mobile apps and cloud technologies enable customers to access services and information anytime, anywhere. These technologies provide convenience and flexibility, allowing customers to engage with businesses through their preferred devices and channels.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots: AI-powered chatbots can provide real-time support and assistance to customers across channels. These chatbots can answer frequently asked questions, provide product recommendations, and even handle transactions. AI technology enhances customer service and improves efficiency.

Overall, technology acts as an enabler for an omnichannel strategy, providing the infrastructure, tools, and capabilities to integrate channels, manage customer data, automate marketing, gain insights, and provide efficient customer service.

Challenges and Mitigation

Digital technology is redefining how customers expect to interact with their banks. However, implementing an omnichannel strategy in the banking sector can come with several challenges.

Banks often have multiple systems and databases that store customer data. Integrating these systems and ensuring data consistency across channels can be complex and time-consuming. Data integration challenges can hinder the ability to provide a seamless and personalized experience.

Legacy Systems: Many banks have legacy systems that were not designed to support omnichannel capabilities. These systems may lack the necessary flexibility and integration capabilities, making it difficult to deliver a consistent experience across channels. Upgrading or replacing these systems can be costly and time-consuming.

Security and compliance: Banks deal with sensitive customer information and must comply with strict security and privacy regulations. Implementing an omnichannel strategy requires robust security measures to ensure security of customer data. Meeting regulatory requirements and maintaining data privacy can be challenging, especially when integrating multiple channels.

Channel consistency: Providing a consistent experience across channels can be challenging, especially when different channels have different interfaces, functionalities, and limitations. Ensuring that customers receive the same level of service and information regardless of the channel they use requires careful planning and coordination.

Customer adoption: Encouraging customers to adopt and utilize multiple channels can be a challenge. Some customers may prefer traditional channels, such as visiting a physical branch, while others may be more comfortable with digital channels. Banks need to educate and incentivize customers to use multiple channels to fully benefit from the omnichannel strategy.

Employee training: Implementing an omnichannel strategy requires training employees to effectively use and manage multiple channels. Employees need to be knowledgeable about the various channels, understand how to handle customer interactions, and be able to provide consistent and accurate information across channels.

Scalability: As the number of channels and customer interactions increases, banks need to ensure that their systems and infrastructure can handle scalability requirements. Scaling up the technology infrastructure to support a growing customer base and increasing transaction volumes can be a challenge.

Change management: To ensure a smooth transition and successful adoption, here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Clear communication to articulate the reasons for implementing an omnichannel strategy and the benefits to both the bank and its customers, as well as the vision, goals, and expected outcomes of the initiative. In addition, regular updates to keep employees informed and engaged will facilitate the process. Leadership should also strongly support and sponsorship of the initiative by actively communicating the importance of the strategy, providing resources, and leading by example. Their involvement and commitment will help drive employee buy-in and engagement.

  2. Stakeholder engagement: Involve key stakeholders from different departments and levels of the organization in the planning and decision-making process. Seek their input, address their concerns, and involve them in the design and implementation of the omnichannel strategy. This will help create a sense of ownership and foster collaboration.

  3. Training and education: Provide comprehensive training and education programs to employees to ensure they have the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively implement and utilize the omnichannel strategy. Training should cover the use of modern technologies, customer service best practices, and how to deliver a consistent and personalized experience across channels.

  4. Pilot programs and testing: Conduct pilot programs and testing phases to validate the effectiveness of the omnichannel strategy before full-scale implementation. This allows for identifying and addressing any issues or challenges early on and provides an opportunity to gather feedback from employees and customers.

  5. Change champions: Identify and empower change champions within the organization who can advocate for the omnichannel strategy, support their colleagues, and drive adoption. These champions can serve as role models, provide guidance, and help address any resistance or concerns.

  6. Continuous improvement: Implement a feedback loop and mechanisms for continuous improvement. Regularly gather feedback from employees and customers to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to the omnichannel strategy. This iterative approach ensures that the strategy remains aligned with evolving customer needs and market trends.

  7. Celebrate successes: Recognize and celebrate milestones and successes achieved during the implementation of the omnichannel strategy. This helps boost morale, reinforce the importance of the initiative, and motivate employees to continue embracing the changes.

Sean Catlin

Author: Sean Catlin, VP & GM Global Financial Services

Sean Catlin, a seasoned senior business leader and digital transformation specialist in the financial services sector, brings a wealth of experience to his role. Known for his proficiency in orchestrating industry-wide transformations, he focuses on driving strategic growth initiatives within the FinServ sector.