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Channels: Really It's More Than Just Channels...

 Banks have invested tirelessly in channel and process transformation to improve end-user experience. But you'll agree, only certain innovations, primarily on the channel front, have created visible impact on customers. Which leads me to ask whether there's a way by which banking innovation can be more in-the-face? How about innovating with customer interactions?

Innovation has already made its way into customer relationships to a certain extent with most banks personalizing product offerings and services at the segment-level. Now, banks are trying to tailor each interaction to their customers' immediate context - so, if someone just booked a holiday package online, it's time to swoop in with a bundled travellers' cheque and insurance offer. In fact, some banks even send out summarized travel insurance contracts via SMS to interested customers!
A large Spanish bank has employed the video call - wherein customers can video chat with designated account managers at any time of day or night - to great effect, improving both customer satisfaction and cross-sales in one grand stroke.

It's also possible to innovate on group relationships. An insurance major in the U.S. has made inroads into affinity groups such as credit unions and alumni associations by offering customized packages to members. Another U.S. direct insurance firm allows customers to build their own car insurance policies online, based on what they can afford.

And take the case of this bank in France, which asks its customers to personalize the banking relationship by specifying whether they prefer to use an advisor or act independently, bank at the branch or online and so on. Customers can also choose between packaged and à la carte banking, to boot!

But perhaps no other innovation connects with customers as strongly as this proposition from a U.K bank - they pay people £ 100 to switch to them and should the relationship not work out within 6 months, help the customers move to another bank after paying them twice that amount!
The era of channels is only going to get more interesting in the days to come. Surely, we'll each have something as bold as that to counter. 


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