Online banking has almost hit the 50% (OK 46.1% in the UK) penetration mark and bankers must be chuffed to bits. Online Banking is a relatively low cost route to market and providing the customer/prospect with the ability to self serve means that cost per
transaction is lower too. Its savings all the way for the banks. The news from APACs that online Banking Fraud doubled in 2008 may act as an inhibitor to further increases in penetration though, so the banks need to make the most of the existing pool of online
banking customers. They should be using this as an opportunity to provide the best online experience possible for them whilst proactively cross-selling and up-selling as well as recruiting prospects from their competitors.
There is a huge amount of data that banks can collect from their online customers’ visits that can be used to personalise marketing and improve the overall online experience. Firstly there is data that can be extracted to improve the physical design of
the website, making it easier and more intuitive to use. Form design can be improved by identifying the points at which customers drop out. Mouse movement can be recorded and spacing adjusted. Hover movements can be collected, providing an indication of what
customers are considering. Collecting the myriad of data available would enable the online bank to personalise that site for an individual, according to their preferences and transactional history. They could promote personalised offers based upon lifestyles,
purchase and behavioural patterns on a pre-approved basis. In essence they can have the ability to see their website through the eyes of their customer, and predict what products that customer would have greatest interest in.
Are they doing this though? The internet has evolved over the past decade from being an information source to a fully-fledged, interactive, sales channel. There have been retailing trailblazers, such as Amazon and Ocado, who have made the internet what it
is today and brought the high street into the home. Over a period of time these retailers have become more intelligent in their online marketing and their sites actively promote the type of products that the surfer maybe interested in, based upon previous
purchases and choices, in order to cultivate the “impulse” purchase.
Banks need to do exactly the same. The challenge they face is that Banking is a truly multichannel environment; web, phone, branch, ATM – activities from all of these channels need to be stored and accessible from each of them in order that a complete profile
of the customer can be created, amended and suitable offers made according to channel usage and preferences so that all channels interact as one.
Of course it sounds rather simple and, in the idyllic word, achievable. From the customers perspective it makes sense, it’s convenient and would improve the customer service. It’s joined up thinking. Unfortunately it requires investment, and at this moment
in time, investment decisions in banks are scrutinised more than ever. One bank should be standardised in its approach, but as a new channel to market emerges, new divisions tend to be set up to be aligned to that channel, resulting in separate banks operating
within the main brand. Differing cultures and processes can also take a foothold, supported by different systems. But, and it’s a big but, the first multichannel bank that is able to achieve the vision of “one bank” would be in the position to deliver “probably
the best banking customer experience in the world”.