Let me start with a definition and 3 data points
Definition: Channel for me means Branch, Call Center (Phone), Digital, Mobile Lender/Adviser/Relationship Manager, Social Media, Snail Mail etc…every channel by which a customer can interact with a bank.
Data Point 1 Insurance: I consulted to an insurer some years ago who had set up their shop-front, call center and online channels to compete with each other. This was viewed as an effective way to provide focus in each channel. But surely
the customer sees one brand, one experience and the business should operate to reflect that? Their silos didn't work.
Data Point 2. Forrester Research: In a half day meeting with Forrester Research talking about Retail Banking, the point was made that an emerging role in the banking sector is the Head of Digital Sales. But one of the challenges for this
role is that many customer purchase experiences are multi-channel. So they may begin online / on mobile but conclude in the branch etc. And the Head of Digital Sales get’s no recognition for this.
Data Point 3. Head of Digital Sales: The Forrester proposition was recently reiterated by a Head of Digital Sales I was speaking to at a bank. It seems in many banks, each channel owner is incentivized to keep the customer in their channel
as opposed to supporting seamless cross-over between channels.
So whilst we draw pretty pictures on slides entitled “The Age of the Customer” which depict the customer in the middle of a diagram and the channels arranged as icons around them showing “the customer is at the center of our service universe”…the reality
is that this is not happening. And whilst incentives are in place for Channel Owners that encourage siloed channels – we’ll never really have a customer-centric service proposition.
So - What's this got to do with Basketball?
Well, for decades, the professional basketball associations like the NBA have been measuring “Assists” – the last pass made before a point is scored. This is an important measure of the contribution a player makes to winning a game, his teams performance
in the league and the overall value of that player. The record for Career Assists is currently held by John Stockton (15,806) and legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson is ranked #5 on this table. The NBA recognized that measuring a player’s contribution purely based
on Points Scored isn’t right – it’s a team sport.
So, why couldn't banking do the same? In our new omni-channel world – it is entirely conceivable that a customer may begin their research and commence an application for a bank account / loan on a mobile or PC device…but then complete the transaction in
the branch or call center. In fact, data from Google (http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/29/if-content-is-king-multiscreen-is-the-queen-says-new-google-study/) highlights this fact showing that 56% of customers complete Financial Management transactions on a PC
after commencing on a Smartphone – sure, it’s the same Digital channel, but it could just as easily be a transaction completed in another channel.
Is Banking a team sport too?
Measuring the value of the Digital Channel for Sales purely based on the number of customers acquired through this channel is wrong. Customers like using multiple channels to research and buy. And the efforts of the Digital Sales team in banking to facilitate
this by allowing effortless cross-over between channels should be recognized. They should earn the digital banking sales equivalent of an “Assist” and be rewarded for it. The channel owners and product owners should play as a team.