Omni-channel interaction is imperative to master for the modern financial institution. Rather than focusing on various channels’ individual performances, omni-channel marketing puts the customer at the center, and views the channels as a means to an end. Most importantly, the omni-channel-focused financial institution ensures that whether a customer interacts in a branch, on their phone or through a call center, each experience picks up where the previous one left off. Consider the following points for your omni-channel strategy:
Connected, One-Stop Shops
When we think of omni-channel, we think of multiple channels. However, most customers have a preferred way to interact with an institution. A Millennial may consistently choose to interact with a financial institution through a mobile app, while a more traditional customer who lives close to a branch may consistently choose in-person interactions. In this sense, customers have a preference, and while some may choose to flow freely across the different channels, each channel must stand on its own two feet. In other words, customers should be able to do everything necessary to their relationship with a financial institution through a single channel. Obviously, there are limits to this — a customer can’t deposit a check over the phone — but as much as possible, customers should be able to complete tasks with a financial institution on their own terms. Once a task is complete in a channel, any activity should be accounted for across all channels in preparation for the times when they choose a different channel of interaction.
Tone, Branding and Messaging
Most financial institutions have a certain attitude, tone of speech and message they’re trying to convey. Maybe they focus on being fun and unconventional with great interest rates, or maybe another financial institution focuses on unparalleled customer service and being extra protective of customer security. Whatever the message, this should be consistent across various channels. A bank’s landing page, or the login screen for their mobile app are common places where this message is clearly conveyed. However, the message and branding can become unclear as different touchpoints are considered. How does the tone change when a traditional banking customer applies for a loan? How do your financial institution’s outsourced call centers reflect your website branding? Is the in-branch experience reflective of the mobile app? All of these touchpoints and channels should be evaluated one by one to see what the interaction is like, and how they can all continue to support each other and truly make the customer feel like they’re interacting with a singular, cohesive entity.
A Cohesive CRM
One of the keys of an omni-channel experience is a fluid experience across channels. If a customer conducts activity with a financial institution over the phone, that interaction should be recorded and carry through to their digital and mobile interactions. This fluidity of picking up where the last interaction left off is incredibly important to customer experience. A major pain point for customer experience with omni-channel interactions is the potential for redundancy of interactions — the customer having to explain the same issue or problem across multiple touchpoints, with each channel’s touchpoint being silo’d from the next. Finding a tool that records online interactions automatically and enables phone conversations or branch interactions to be documented in that same tool sets a financial institution’s customer experience and ability to communicate apart.
Branch interactions are still a fundamental and important part of any financial institution, but younger consumers have shown a tendency to interact with brands exclusively through various digital methods. These types of consumers are on the rise, and financial institutions should work to understand the customer journey and how this evolution of digital-focused consumers will affect their brands perceptions. Managers and directors may need to focus more on their digital interactions as a means to drive business in the future.