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The Modern Mutual - What is your channel strategy?

To navigate the complex landscape of channel strategy, Building Societies must consider their core mission of serving diverse customer needs while adapting to changing technological trends.

How do Building Societies create the optimal physical channel strategy?

  • Preserving the human touch: Branches can remain a differentiator and a key point of value for Building Societies, helping to build strong community connections and a personal approach with members.
  • Automate in the background, humanise in the foreground: Technology has a place in the branch and call centres – it should automate the low-value tasks so colleagues can focus on offering a personalised service.
  • Consider new branch experiences: Branches have the potential to be much more than a physical space to execute transactions. Consider opportunities to develop community hubs, provide a space for collaboration or to foster social initiatives.

"We’re invested in branches because we’re not driven by profit, we are driven by social purpose to offer choice to our members. We’re attracting new members by opening new branches based on detailed analysis of how to serve the social purpose and remain profitable." - Simon Taylor, CEO of Melton Building Society

What can Societies do to leverage digital channels effectively?

  • Seamless customer journeys: Take time to map out the optimum digital experience for your members based on your product set and current capabilities. From product onboarding through to customer servicing, the digital experience should prioritise convenience and should delight members.
  • Build a digital community: Building Societies are formed on membership and community; digital channels should be used to expand traditional reach beyond a physical presence. Use digital channels to gather rapid feedback, support community projects and better engage members in Society causes.
  • Invest in the colleague portal: The colleague channel should be prioritised alongside customer channels to ensure colleagues are given the data and insights they need, when they need them.

"While passbooks, branches, and face to face will undoubtedly remain the preference for some customers, the ability to access services via mobile, voice or other digitally enabled solutions is growing. In 2012, only 9% of over 55s owned a smartphone, today that number is over 80% and as accessibility and mobility challenges continue to be overcome by smart tech, services need to be delivered through those channels." - Maria Harris, Industry Expert

How do Societies create a seamless physical and digital experience for members?

Adopting a fully omnichannel experience is a strategic move that can align with the evolving expectations of customers, while also preserving the core values of community focus and inclusivity.

  • Simplify product onboarding across channels: Customers should have a simplified onboarding journey across all channels and products, minimising data entry, automating document verification and allowing instant product access (where possible).
  • Joined up identity verification and authentication: Customers should be able to access all channels using a simple, ideally consistent, method of authentication, while meeting regulations such as Strong Customer Authentication.
  • Journey parity: An omnichannel experience will provide an equivalent access to all products, journeys and features across channels.
  • Operational integration: This involves connecting various systems, databases, and customer touchpoints to ensure a consistent flow of information across channels – a single view of the customer; a single view of the product set.

"Our aim to have a multichannel model that sustains what people love about us now, but allows us grow and provide more choice. It’s about building out not swapping out." - Mark Selby, CEO of Hanley Building Society

Getting the choice of channels right for your customers will be the deciding factor in your ability to grow the business.


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Lydia Coyle

Lydia Coyle

Management Consultant


Member since

23 Sep 2021



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