4 Key Omnichannel Trends Impacting Strategies in the Banking Sector

As more and more consumer financial services activities go to digital channels, it's critical that banks and credit unions find ways to maintain market intelligence and a deep understanding of those they serve. This requires improved technology and a rethinking of the role of the human element.

As interactions between consumers and financial providers increasingly occur in digital channels, longstanding knowledge of consumer needs held by people at banks and credit unions must be updated or reconfirmed by digitally monitoring and analyzing people’s feedback.

The financial services sales funnel is evolving. In a market with increasing digital consumer preference, research shows digital consumers can be 60% through the buying process and will have researched two or three competitors before they move to a fulfillment step with an institution. Recognizing this shift, financial institutions should reimagine engagement approaches and the use of modern web technology to harness the digital economy at work.

Four high-valued areas will differentiate customer experiences and drive value in the year ahead:

1. Analytics and Machine Learning Can Target Better Prospects

Combining data, analytics, machine learning and decision management tools can better filter opportunities among risks, improve customer engagement through personalization of offers, identify revenue potential, and make decision making more consistent.

Using analytics, institutions can better identify consumers with the highest propensity-to-purchase during the awareness stage of the sales funnel. The last thing financial institutions want is false leads that create a negative consumer experience. In addition, better screening can help financial institutions better allocate digital and human resources. In turn this can help with both abandonment-retargeting and onboarding.

Navigating Digital Change:

The goal is to implement analytical tools that go beyond simply determining probability that a consumer will be interested in a product or service. They should recommend actions to appeal to those consumers.

Using such analytics, financial institutions can ensure the correct messages are presented, which can assist in fostering strong customer relationships.

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2. Risk Detection and Mitigation Hinge on Better Analytics

The potential damage to an institution’s brand and reputation from failure to mitigate risk can be swift and devastating. Negative publicity, litigation, loss of revenue, clients, partners and key employees pose significant risk to financial institutions.

Successful delivery strategy must enhance risk protection through technology, workflow management, and predictive and decision analytics. This must occur earlier in the customer journey, and throughout it, to head off credit risk, operational and transactional risk, and compliance risk.

What Skeptics Will Say:

The cumbersome processes of risk management can often seem to be at odds with the goal of delivering a frictionless experience and a customer-centric strategy.

Yet protection of both the institution and its customers and prospects demand such care. While consumers continue to demand the convenience of omnichannel access, they also demand the security that comes from knowing that they are transacting in a protected environment.

Financial institutions can improve risk management through automation of business rules, policies, processes, calculations, disclosures and solution monitoring. Automated solutions provide ways to process information, insights, and knowledge for customer identification, authentication, fraud prevention and due diligence.

Omnichannel solutions can also be built to anticipate and mitigate attrition risk through a predictive expert model and proactive campaigns that reduce losses, maintain high customer satisfaction and protect the institution’s reputation.

Check fraud is a critical example of a risk that can be shrunk. Banks and credit unions are under pressure to offer immediate availability of funds to consumers. Analytics and machine learning are playing a key role in reducing fraud as more and more consumers are turning to the mobile channel to make deposits.

Read More: What Banks Should (and Shouldn’t) Put Into Next Year’s Marketing Budget

3. The Evolving Role of the Branch Poses Omnichannel Challenges

Many consumers no longer rely on branches as their primary channel for routine transactions and service, but the local branch remains valued for complex transactions, advice and resolving problems. In today’s omnichannel environment, customers expect to be able to choose among self-service, banker-assisted service, or full-service — and the ability to move seamlessly between digital and human channels.

Going forward, disciplined financial institutions will employ solutions that deliver high-quality customer experience with the flexibility to reliably support all touchpoints. Multiple ways to team people with technology are emerging, from centralized bankers to mobile bankers.

But with much movement to digital channels, banks and credit unions must act to avoid losing personal engagement associated with face-to-face contact. Such reduced visibility can severely impact understanding consumer needs, especially early in the sales process. Using technology equipped to detect and quantify customer needs can help digital and human channels to work in concert, proactively engaging the right banker for the consumer at the right time.

Read More: Why Bankers Are So Disappointed by the ROI of Marketing Data & Analytics

4. Continued Investment in R&D Is Essential

Achieving success through innovation requires a long-term perspective, but the pace of consumer behavioral change is accelerating now. This is driving the need for technology investments needed to deliver differentiated customer experiences.

Studies indicate that only one in 26 customers will tell you they are unhappy.

We know what adds to and detracts from a positive customer experience. Consumers expect to be able to transact business within frictionless processes that allow start-stop-resume functionality across channels. Consumers expect personalization that is relevant, timely, and helpful from either automated communication or through their banker.

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