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Delivering a first-class omnichannel banking experienceATM Marketplace

Banks have struggled to create omnichannel experiences. A panel entitled “Delivering an effective omnichannel experience to boost the customer’s experience” addressed the topic at the Bank Customer Experience Summit, held in Chicago from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1.

Omnichannel has been a buzz word for many years now, as businesses across multiple verticals have attempted to create impactful experiences via multiple digital and physical channels.

Banks have struggled to create this seamless experience. A panel, sponsored by Otka entitled “Delivering an effective omnichannel experience to boost the customer’s experience,” addressed the topic at the Bank Customer Experience Summit, held in Chicago from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1.

Tom Malta, IAM expert, financial services at Okta moderated the panel with Michelle Kile, SVP, retail banking at bankHometown, Brian McEvoy, SVP retail banking at Webster Five, and Ashley Ross, client experience and retail client solutions at Bank of America.

Malta started off the panel by asking panelists about the current omnichannel strategy. All emphasized they wanted to develop a seamless experience.

“We think high-tech, high touch. Those have to be seamless. We want to give clients the choice. If somebody starts in a channel they need to be able to finish,” Ross said. “At the same time, if they want the high touch, how can we enable that seamlessly?”

Kile said it was important to stay “relevant to current customers,” and that her bank had growing pains with dealing with communication on the back side.

McEvoy said he personally thought both the words multi-channel and omnichannel were both wrong as they put the focus on bank’s channels, rather than the customer.

“You have to start with the customer and what their journey is. Create a seamless experience for them,” McEvoy said.

When it came to the employee side of the equation, the panelists said it is key to train employees well and have clear communication between channels.

Kile said this can cause problems when employees don’t feel confident with using the bank’s products or talking about them and banks have to educate employees.

“You can acquire tools, but if you don’t have the business process in place to create a 360 degree view of the customer experience, you aren’t going to get that frictionless experience,” McEvoy said. “You can automate CRM, but if you have a call center or branch experience and the other channel doesn’t know about it, it creates a friction point.”

Ross said banks need to think about that customer journey. “You need to focus on what the customer is trying to do and map out the process of why they could do it.”

Malta asked the panelists how they handle building omnichannel solutions vs buying them.

“We don’t think about buy vs build, we don’t build anything. There’s no developers on staff. It’s more about what do we acquire and how do we partner,” McEvoy said. Webster Five thinks of friction points it can fix with solutions.

Kile said she has been on both sides of the equation but she sees the benefit of building a solution since third-party solutions can impact employees.

“When I look at it through the eyes of teller, I don’t want to allow my teller to do things that could cost them their job (with a third party solution),” Kile said. With built solutions, the bank can take more feedback from frontline employees though she knows that isn’t an option for everyone.

Ross said banks should have a mixture of both. For example, Bank of America purchases its surveys but has also invested into platforms that determine how those surveys are sent out.

The panelists also addressed self-service vs physical service and personalization.

“In an ideal world, we would service all needs on phone, but sometimes you need clarity. Our preference is front line employee is to teach people to do digital channels,” Ross said.

Kile said on the physical side, bankHometown added Wi-Fi at its branches as many times a customer will only go to the branch once to open the account. So with Wi-Fi, the customer can look at accounts on their phone upon opening the account. The bank did this to prevent dropoff that may happen after account openings since customers may not realize how to fully utilize their online accounts.

McEvoy said banks need to get away from a channel mindset and focus more on the customer. “Channels are a mental construct we put in place. The customer doesn’t care.”

In order to accomplish this, Ross said it’s key to make it easy for customers. “We have to make it easy for them to do business with them through self-service and also build relationship with them digitally through customized content.”

“Personalization is key. If their bank could get personalization right, they’re more likely to buy from that bank,” Kile said. “The better you do, the less churn you get, the more loyal clients you get.”

Bradley Cooper is the editor of ATM Marketplace and was previously the editor of Digital Signage Today. His background is in information technology, advertising, and writing.

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