The emergence of new banking channels has significant implications for financial institutions, particularly when it comes to cross-channel information and service delivery. Financial institutions have to have a strategic plan to not only deliver appropriate
capabilities through the appropriate channels, but to make sure the channels work together in a complementary fashion.
There is a growing desire among consumers for a holistic cross-channel banking experience. Consumers expect information about transactions completed via one channel to be readily accessible on others, and similarly expect to be able to begin a transaction
in one channel and complete it in another. This deep level of “information convergence” is readily available in other sectors, particularly retail, and consumers now expect it as a norm in their interaction with brands, regardless of sector.
Financial institutions must also anticipate the preferences of consumers regarding the channels used to complete varying financial tasks. This “interaction specialisation” is driven by the unique properties of each channel, which influence the primary activities
conducted through that channel.
For general day-to-day interactions, consumers often favour self-service options via digital channels — specifically mobile and online. For more complex and in-depth tasks, many consumers still prefer the level of face-to-face interaction they can only
get in the branch.
Financial institutions that develop an integrated channel strategy that leverages the unique capabilities afforded by each banking channel will be able to differentiate themselves and provide a more holistic and satisfying experience for customers.
At Fiserv, we sometimes liken this shift and the unique properties of each channel to the analogy of “snacking, lunching and fine dining”.
Snacking – the mobile channel
From a financial services perspective, snacking encompasses frequent interactions that take less than 60 seconds. This includes tasks such as checking balances, receiving alerts and paying bills. One of our clients sees an average of 26 logins to mobile
banking per user per month – proof of the desire to consume financial services information in quick, frequent servings via the mobile channel.
Lunching – the online channel
The online channel serves up the financial equivalent of a square meal. Consumers go online when additional browsing and a slightly deeper level of engagement is required. This includes tasks such as comparing products, managing budgets and setting up preferences.
These types of activities usually occur on a weekly or monthly basis.
Fine dining – for face-to-face interactions
The branch is for fine dining; those special occasions where more personal service and in-depth interaction is required. This includes advisory services and overall relationship management, encompassing critical decisions that require consultation and typically
The shift towards information convergence and interaction specialisation will create big challenges for financial institutions that fail to adopt a multi-channel approach.
The consistent delivery of information across channels requires changes to back-end systems and the addition of real-time functionalities that are often not in place today. These issues will be magnified by the growing use of new devices and channels by
bank customers, such as tablet computers, and the gradual move towards social media as a transaction platform as well as an interaction platform. In addition, all banking channels will feel the pressure of interaction specialisation, with the proliferation
of mobile financial services serving as a catalyst for change. “Mobile-only” services, such as mobile remote deposit capture for cheques, location-based offers and contactless payments via near-field communications (NFC) technologies will need to be supported
by financial institutions alongside their more traditional offerings.
The changing demands of today’s consumer and the rapid advance of technology compels financial institutions to view the services delivered through banking channels in a new way. To successfully navigate this choppy sea, financial institutions can deploy
an integrated channel strategy that harnesses the unique potential of each channel to deliver a winning combination of services to customers.