October 17, 2016 // By Magenic
Many of today’s consumers probably don’t even remember when banks handled all their transactions manually, using up reams of paper to keep records of everything.
Contrast that with the ultra-convenience of mobile devices able to access people, places and information most anywhere at any time. As mobile has skyrocketed, consumers have increasingly demanded more transparency, immediacy and ease of accessibility in their banking. And nowadays they’re all about being able to complete such transactions via the channels of their choice.
While banks of the past often encouraged customers to choose the banking channel most appropriate for their needs (i.e. taking a “multi-channel” approach), futuristic banks are now embracing omni-channel integration in which customers can switch at will from venue to venue.
“It’s not just about offering multiple channels; it’s about offering the right choices to the right audiences,” explains Magenic Financial Service Practice Leader Heather Zimmerman. “It’s so worthwhile to tailor your services to appeal to the right customers so you can better create trust and loyalty.”
Research shows audiences prefer to take care of financial tasks in different ways, in general maximizing self-service capabilities such as online and mobile for routine, day-to-day transactions and focusing more on in-person service for more complex functions. A recent Gallup study, for example, reports that 75 percent of customers prefer face-to-face interaction when opening or closing an account. When trying to solve a problem or clearing up a service fee most prefer a live phone call, but when they just need account information or wish to transfer funds, digital is largely preferred.
While brick-and-mortar locations are expected to remain a crucial part of the banking mix for some time, the move toward online service is definitely taking a bite out of in-person transactions. In a January survey, 40 percent of Americans hadn’t visited a bank branch in the previous six months.
In many cases an omni-channel approach can reduce human error and lower labor costs, since select functions can be more aptly handled without live personnel. Sometimes branch-specific specialists can be reduced because customers prefer to simply consult a call center instead. And often customer loyalty and retention increases if they don’t have to contend with real human employees subject to real human emotions, either in person or on the phone.
Read more about how banks are adapting to the digital revolution in our white paper "Banks Going Digital (Almost) All the Way."