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The pure-play single channel bank concept is dead

At the Retail Banking in Europe conference last week, in Amsterdam the fundamental theme that came up again and again was the impact of social and digital trends on customer service. Mike Warriner, our CTO highlighted to the banking executives in attendance the key themes he sees developing over the next ten years.

One of the themes he explored was Tthe way in which people communicate and access information in recent years has been revolutionised. Not only are consumers venturing online more than ever before, but the growing popularity of smartphones and mobile web services has meant that these end users are communicating and accessing information in real time.

Take Facebook for example - there are a staggering 500 million active users around the world, of which 200 million access the social networking site through their mobile phones. There have been many predictions about how mobile internet usage will surpass desktop internet usage at some point in the future and these statistics support that trend. What it also highlights however is that consumers are increasingly experiencing real time information in their social world. As a result, they expect an instantaneous relationship with all those they interact with, not just friends and family.

It should come as no surprise to banks then that their customers are dissatisfied when they can’t access financial management tools in the same way. Although financial data is different to other forms of information and needs to be treated in a secure and sensitive way, consumers are increasingly taking zero downtime for granted. Subsequently, if banks want to keep customers happy, they will need to realise that consumers are choosing to use multiple channels, and that their customers not only expect the same level of service across all those channels but they demand it 24/7. As a result, the mobile banking channel is invaluable to feed this demand.

The user experience on mobile banking is integral to a long term relationship with customers – it drives confidence, happiness and engagement. When, like Facebook, real time banking will become the norm, consumers will have many more interactions with their bank throughout the day. Thus, a huge opportunity lies ahead for banks that can meet this demand through value added services and leverage it for mutual benefit. Will it take ten years to get to this point? My guess is not…

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