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10 Steps for Using Omnichannel to Capitalize on Bank and Customer Relationships

  • 1/7/2016

As technology evolves, your connection with bank customers is constantly changing. Your customers have several different digital and in-person channels available for managing their money and conducting business with you. They don’t necessarily use only one of those channels but often elect to use a variety of them, depending on their needs at any given moment. This is transforming the relationship between your bank and your customers, causing them to think less of specific services and instead develop an opinion based on their complete banking experience — online, in person, and on the go.

The term “omnichannel” has emerged to describe the ideal, unified environment that encompasses every single touch point your customers have with your bank, from personal to digital to tangible to mobile. The omnichannel customer experience is cohesive and positive, regardless of where your customers are, how they connect with your bank, and what time of day or night they choose to do so.

An omnichannel experience allows your customers to start a transaction in one channel and complete it in another, while having the same user experience and system capabilities throughout. But it’s not just the customer who benefits from this approach: an omnichannel strategy will ultimately allow your bank to improve performance, connect more meaningfully with your customers, earn their loyalty, and make informed decisions that drive growth and profitability.

Shifting from a channel-dominant to omnichannel customer experience

The focus for customer service used to be on a channel-dominant approach, meaning the type of interaction your customers used most was emphasized, such as the branch experience (cookies and coffee in a stylish, modern lobby, for instance). As more banking business began to be conducted online and offsite, that focus shifted into multichannel efforts, with the bank’s brand and services extended into ATM capabilities and a strong web presence.

Yet even the progression from a channel-dominant to multichannel approach isn’t completely satisfying to your customers, who expect easy mobile apps, online chat functionality, social media interactions, and text communication that are all seamlessly interfaced and coherent. The pressure from your customers to embrace the omnichannel transformation and adapt your operations is relentless. Keeping pace with the evolution will be worth the effort and promises mutual benefits if you strategically design your omnichannel experience.

10 steps for capitalizing on omnichannel engagement

To capitalize on customer engagement, you need to know your customers and provide targeted offers that prompt action. Imagine the potential for sales growth when you have highly detailed, specific information about the customer in front of you. Product offerings can be tailored to what the customer may be interested in, enhancing your cross-selling opportunities. Begin to think about winning customers through the experience versus service. These 10 key tactics will help you to create the experience that is most advantageous to your customers and your bank:

1. Leverage your data — Use the immense amount of data you already have to create useful insights across your bank and reveal customer opportunities. Using this data can provide exceptional awareness about your customers.

2. Know your customer — Understand your customers and their expectations. Review data from all customer interactions to develop a more holistic view of current and potential future transactions and customer behaviors:

  • Product use
  • Transaction patterns
  • Demographic profiles
  • Customer expectations

3. Review channel impact — Analyze channels to determine which generate the greatest impact for the bank by appraising these factors:

  • How effective a given channel is for the customers who use it
  • How satisfied those customers are with that channel
  • How many customers overall are using that specific channel

4. Create engagement through channel quality — Determine engagement, a complete representation of a customer's behavior that encompasses:

  • Satisfaction — This is the foundation for a continuing relationship with customers.
  • Loyalty — Highly engaged customers are more loyal.
  • Retention — Increasing the engagement of target customers increases the rate of retention.
  • Advocacy — Highly engaged customers are more likely to spread the word, which can drive new customer acquisition and have viral effects.
  • Awareness — When customers are exposed to communication from a company that they are highly engaged with, they tend to actively expand on its basic idea.
  • Marketing intelligence — Highly engaged customers can give valuable recommendations.

5. Build a detailed profile — Using the data you have, build a more detailed customer profile. Understanding who your customer is and how they interact with your bank allows you to tailor product offerings using their preferred channel.

6. Develop strategies — While a significant number of customers are moving to digital channels, they are not necessarily deserting traditional ones. Develop strategies using your data to create a connection with customers and more effectively engage them.

7. Stay competitive — As customer preferences and expectations continue to shift, keep in mind:

  • A seamless experience will require integration of distinct digital and physical channels.
  • A realignment, or new investment in technology and business models, may be needed to more effectively engage customers.
  • A change in the way you communicate with customers, by leveraging the data you have for all channels, may be necessary to improve your outcomes.

8. Consider ease of use — Ensure services can be used intuitively, regardless of how they are accessed.

9. Remember your brand — Deliver a strong, recognizable brand across every touch point. Your brand should be reflected in the same way across every channel, visually and in the way it is experienced. Customers should have a consistent experience whether visiting your bank through a mobile device, ATM, or a branch location.

10. Don’t forget self-service principles — From the moment a customer connects, differentiate your bank through the experience. Building a positive omnichannel experience is a work in progress; it’s a constant balance of managing service expectations and cost reduction pressures, all while keeping in mind potential compliance risks.

Self-Service Principle  Customer Experience
Intuitive Understands what was said, by whom, and what it means
Conversational Engages user in an intelligent conversation to accomplish the task
Personalized Tailors the interaction based on what is known about the user
Anticipatory Offers proactive assistance, providing information and enabling action
Consistent Creates a seamless experience across channels and time
Convenient Creates the perception that it is more convenient than other channels
Fulfilling Allows customers to achieve their goals

How we can help

CLA’s bank industry professionals can assist in identifying and implementing your omnichannel strategic goals. Our information technology consultants and financial professionals work together to understand your needs and objectives and design a plan that can help engage customers, build loyalty, and drive profitability.