Omnichannel Missteps Can Hurt Financial Institutions’ Revenues

In an increasingly convenient world, consumers grow more and more impatient with financial institutions that can't offer true omnichannel service. Banks and credit unions that can't make this work will watch more and more prospects abandon applications and bank elsewhere.

Creating a smooth omnichannel isn’t just a fundamental of improving customer experience. For financial institutions themselves, it’s becoming a necessity for building bank and credit union revenue.

The need for omnichannel service that really works has steadily increased due to the continued growth in the channels and devices through which consumers conduct their banking. The idea is that no matter where an application or transaction begins, it can be picked up seamlessly at a later point in another channel.

Financial institutions that do not address their omnichannel experience will be at a growing disadvantage. This was best illustrated in 2019 when TD Bank calculated a total value of $1 billion of lost revenue stemming from abandoned applications in their digital channels. Over time the bank had created a tangle of different onboarding processes and worse.

Same Old, Same Old:

Banks and credit unions worldwide have been attempting omnichannel for many years but continue to struggle to meet people’s expectations.

The results are not for lack of trying, but stem from the confusion between what constitutes omnichannel versus multi-channel/digital channel. Both are components of omnichannel but do not represent it in its entirety.

What’s Been Missing From Omnichannel Efforts

A winning omnichannel strategy will optimize the right channels, as defined by customers, and allow them to transition between channels seamlessly. This targeted strategy is critical to optimizing capital allocation and designing a customer-centric omnichannel experience.

Prioritize Or Choke:

Financial institutions that attempt to develop every channel possible rather than prioritizing the development of appropriate channels will overcomplicate their strategy. They will fail to address customer expectations.

Financial institutions can only embark on their journey to integrate physical and digital worlds once they thoroughly understand customer preferences. This complex integration is no small feat but is required to enable your target state CX strategy and deliver meaningful change.

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Let Consumers Control The Experience

It is relatively uncommon for people to complete an end-to-end journey in one sitting. An enhanced CX and omnichannel experience must be flexible and designed for control by the consumer. For example, the ability to start, pause and resume interactions while leveraging multiple form factors is critical in improving the customer experience.

In order to better understand the consequences of rigid experiences, it is helpful to analyze a portion of the end-to-end journey, such as the onboarding experience. People often decide what products and services best fit their needs prior to completing their application.

Why This Is Critical:

Interruptions can be as short as a few minutes but can run for weeks. If systems fail to save people’s data, they are forced to repeat their journey, leading to high application abandonment rates.

In fact, Forrester has found that abandonment rates for online banking applications were at an all-time high of 97.5%. As such, financial institutions cannot overlook the importance of designing a customer-led experience that works with every expected interruption.

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Provide Consumers With A Continuous Experience

A major CX pain point is asking people to repeat themselves. Considering that customer journeys stretch across multiple channels, devices, agents and technology platforms, the number of connection points that can create repetition for the customer is high. Repetition typically occurs when data is not shared across back-end operations and systems.

Customer servicing at financial institutions is an example of frequent repetition causing a disruptive and disconnected journey. Typically, customers must re-authenticate or repeat themselves multiple times when their journey stretches across channels, business lines and agents, as customer context is not sufficiently captured or shared.

Taking a step in the right direction, a few financial institutions have adopted the concept of warm transfers to address this problem.

For example, Tangerine, a Scotiabank subsidiary, captures contextual information about the customer and their specific request when they transition from the mobile app to the contact center. By leveraging “warm” transfers, Tangerine can offer customers a painless transition by avoiding re-authentication and repetitive prompts for the same information.

Financial institutions must leverage this concept for all channels, devices and agent transitions. A modernized CX and omnichannel experience will require financial institutions to share customer data across the back-end seamlessly.

Capture and Leverage Data Across the Interaction Lifecycle

Financial institutions must continuously optimize the customer journey by routinely monitoring and analyzing customer data. Quality data that captures the end-to-end experience, including channel, device and agent transitions, will inform decision-makers on where to dedicate resources to enhance the customer journey.

Newer players are especially vocal about their analytic capabilities and data-enabled solutions. For example, Bank of America’s app-based chatbot Erica helps automate and streamline the customer experience by helping customers with issues that may not need live assistance from an operator. Financial institutions must develop a thorough understanding of the customer journey by capturing the right data to generate valuable insights.

These features are designed to simplify omnichannel’s complexity by highlighting the priorities for financial institutions looking to integrate physical and digital worlds. Banks and credit unions that embrace these features as part of their approach will be best positioned to meet evolving customer expectations with their omnichannel offering.

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