Cross-channel banking: beyond the app
Understanding and embracing cross-channel communication behaviours will become increasingly critical to success in the banking industry, writes Steve Dille.
Customer interactions today are happening to a greater extent across multiple devices and channels because smartphones, tablets and even desktop PCs are multi-channel devices that give users multiple options (i.e., check information or execute a transaction via a mobile app, tablet app, email, SMS text, desktop browser, mobile browser, etc.). As a result, the communication behaviours of banking customers are evolving fast. For example, 34% of consumers have started a banking activity on their desktop and picked it up later on another device.
In order to increase user satisfaction and loyalty, banks must offer cross-channel capabilities that allow customers to do more than just access information from anywhere. Currently, two out of three mobile banking users believe it’s their bank’s responsibility to immediately alert them of low balance or insufficient funds. Once alerted, the customer should be offered the ability to correct the situation proactively with a transfer via an app, mobile site or SMS text banking. Putting the customer’s interests first builds loyalty. While reports indicate that banks are quickly adopting mobile, there is still a wide disparity in mobile capabilities, features and functions.
Just as it is important to support multiple devices and channels, banks must also develop a sound strategy around message type for each device and think through cross-channel actions in pairs of touch points. For example, 76% of mobile customers leverage their bank’s mobile technology to locate a branch or ATM. The mobile app would seem to be the natural way to serve up branch locations: punch in your address or a zip code and voilà, the app serves up a list of nearby locations. But as Forrester notes, “providers need to develop mobile banking services across multiple mobile touch points and platforms.” As such, enabling customers to access branch locations through SMS or even email could be more convenient for a large percentage of users. Thinking through each logical step on a customer’s journey to find information or execute a transaction, and mapping out how and where messages should come into play, will lead to more valuable customer interactions.
Below are best practices to consider when developing a cross-channel strategy:
- Digital messaging channels (email, SMS, push notifications, etc.) should not be thought of as distinct entities that require separate strategies and platforms.
- Your customers have a relationship with a single bank and they expect to have a seamless brand experience at every touch point.
- Technology is changing fast, and it is important to keep pace. Reassess your mobile strategy every 6 to 10 months.
From a broader business perspective, it is also important to think about the revenue and cost saving implications of developing a cross-channel strategy. Wells Fargo reported that customers who use four channels are 1.8 times more profitable than customers who use one. Banks should be treating mobile customers differently as they are a larger source of profits. In terms of cost saving implications, a great example would be that serving a customer digitally through the call center using IM chat is less expensive and often more convenient than servicing that customer via a live phone call. Taking advantage of advancements in messaging technology can give banks additional options that can be far more cost effective in the long run.
Cross-channel initiatives will be critical to banks’ future success. It is important that banks begin to develop a clear cross-channel strategy that will ensure customers receive the best banking experience.