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Building Connections: The Future of Customer Service

Following my previous blog – looking at the ubiquity of the multichannel approach to customer service – we now turn our focus to the industry’s next steps: omnichannel and multimodality.

If multichannel is all about offering customers a choice, then omnichannel is about joining everything together to create a single, cohesive experience. 

The omnichannel approach is about integrating systems – allowing one conversation to continue across numerous different channels. For many organisations, this can be a differentiator. By connecting multiple customer touchpoints, organisations can get a fuller understanding of how people are using their service, and from there can refine and optimise in line with these behaviours.

Most importantly, an omnichannel model helps the financial service sector continue its push towards being fully customer-centric. Connections between channels must be made in real-time, providing customer service operatives with the most accurate data possible as they help people through their digital customer journey.

Thinking of the Future

Following in the spirit of the omnichannel approach’s ability to integrate multi-channel banking systems into a single conversation, multimodality allows organisations to move the conversation between channels, switching from one device to another to ensure the customer receives the best possible service. 

An all-encompassing experience, multimodality has the potential to not simply resolve customer queries but to turn these same customers into brand advocates – offering a competitive edge that will be crucial as the introduction of PSD2 drives competition within the financial services sector. And, as with omnichannel engagement, organisations can track each interaction along the digital customer journey, learning from each experience and subsequently refining service processes. 

Part of what makes the approach so interesting is that it offers an ever-evolving view on customer service. As societal trends change consumer expectations, a multimodal model allows organisations to shift between the communications channels that customers favour – opening new avenues of engagement when needed. Essentially, multimodality is the foundation for the financial services industry to future-proof its customer service. It offers scope for emerging technologies such as augmented/virtual reality, home assistants (including Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri), or the Internet-of-Things to have a role in how the sector interacts with consumers. 

Making a Real Connection

For customers, the model offers a level of personalisation that is unprecedented. With seamless movement between channels, the experience is fully tailored to the convenience of the customer. Similarly, even from a self-service perspective, if it is initiated by the customer, and linked to previous service experiences, it instantly becomes less impersonal. And as has always been the case – in every business, every sector, and every region – the better the service, the more inclined customers are to remain loyal. 

While many financial service organisations have mastered the multichannel, and indeed the omnichannel approaches, multimodality remains tantalisingly beyond their grasp. From a tech perspective, it can be done – though it is far from a simple project. Investment is crucial, as well as finding the right partner who can help you put in place the infrastructure needed to support such a complex customer service system.

Ultimately, however, the question of channel should become irrelevant. Financial service organisations will have to allow customers to engage with them in the most appropriate way and customers won’t even consider making a decision to choose a channel to interact with them.


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