Given the vast wealth of smart devices available today, it should come as no surprise that more and more banking customers are accessing their accounts, making transactions and withdrawals, and even applying for loans online. Your customers might be using or in need of banking services on their smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers—and even their smart watches.
In our technology-focused world, consistent service has become more important than ever. Let’s talk about the omnichannel customer journey and how your financial institution can develop and refine its own approach.
What Is an Omnichannel Customer Journey?
Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page when it comes “omnichannel?” Simply put, an omnichannel customer journey is one in which all services are delivered consistently regardless of the delivery channel. This means that no matter where your customer goes—to one branch, to an ATM, to an online portal, to your mobile banking app—he or she should receive the same quality of service.
Building an Omnichannel Strategy
It’s important to note that omnichannel strategies are different from multichannel strategies. While a multichannel approach provides multiple ways for customers to accomplish specific touchpoints, it fails to take into account the full customer journey. If banks are to compete with the expectations of the modern consumer, and if they are to be able to fight off the competition of P2P solution, crypto-currency, and other less-regulated banking options, they will need to be able to compete at a higher level.
Creating the consistency of experience that differentiates an omnichannel from a multichannel strategy requires a significant commitment from key executives, as well as cohesion across front-line and back-office staff. An effective omnichannel strategy allows the customer to jump from one channel to another within the same transaction, in the context of what’s most important to him or her at the moment. Ideally, your financial institution should be able to access relevant data regardless of service channel.
For example, a customer might begin their banking journey by asking what an institution’s car insurance rates are. An agent would then reply and provide an application that can be filled out online or over the phone. If the customer has a question, they should be able to easily contact an agent from within the form itself. The agent who calls the customer to answer any questions should already have access to the details of the application. That well-informed agent can then smoothly guide the customer through the rest of the application process, minimizing the need for the customer to repeat or reenter pertinent data.
By analyzing customer data and implementing strategic changes across the customer experience, your financial institution can work towards building an omnichannel customer journey that makes those types of interactions possible. Here are a few ways to begin your approach.
5 Tips for Improving the Omnichannel Customer Journey
1. Integrate Traditional and Digital Channels
Evaluate the customer journey for each of your financial services, such as applying for a loan, depositing a check, or opening a new account. How seamless are these journeys? Can a customer begin applying for a loan online and then finish in person, to minimize wait time? Can he or she upload relevant documents and deposit checks without venturing into a branch?
2. Assess and Respond to Customer Needs
It’s almost impossible to anticipate the desires of your customers without taking a peek at their actual behavior patterns. Take a minute to, if you will, think like your customers. Look to sentiment analysis, behavior by segment, and customer survey results for insights that can inform the development of your technological solutions and future offerings. Once you understand the intent behind certain customer behavior, you’ll be better positioned to both meet and exceed expectations.
3. Set Service-Level Standards
In pursuit of exemplary performance, your financial institution might set service-level standards for each type of banking interaction as it relates to your customers’ needs and your brand promise. Service audits, including collecting customer feedback, can ensure that each channel is held accountable for adhering to those standards.
4. Support Front-Line and Back-Office Staff
While technology is a significant part of an omnichannel strategy, you can’t discount the role your staff members still have to play. In fact, if your staff members aren’t engaged in their performance, you could see significant disruption in the omnichannel journey. The loan experience is particularly affected by solid or weak omnichannel approaches, as applications can be submitted online and finished in person.
Your front-line staff members aren’t the only ones who affect the customer experience. Your back office can have a huge impact on tellers’ ability to perform, particularly when it comes to underwriting in the loan process. If something goes wrong, from IT services to insufficient support, your front line will falter—and that will lead to a disruption in the omnichannel customer journey. We recommend regularly auditing employee satisfaction with the service levels provided by internal departments.
Whether you need to implement new measurement strategies or set and enforce appropriate performance metrics, be sure that both your front-line and back-office staff are all performing to the best of their abilities. As your business objectives develop, you may even schedule a “best practices” workshop to teach front-line staff how to identify and capitalize on opportunities.
5. Tailor Experiences and Opportunities to the Customer
With personalization of the banking experience only growing in importance, it’s time to make sure that your own services meet the expectations of customers who are used to a personalized online experience. Take the intersection of social media and advertising, for example. Internet users might google around looking for a suitable pair of winter boots to order. When they next open Facebook, they might be served ads for boots they’ve already looked at, or for new ones that might better meet their specifications.
In the same vein, financial institutions can use insights into customer purchase behavior to serve customers relevant opportunities at precisely the right moment. Think notifying a customer about specific loan options when their behavior indicates they’re planning to buy a car, or inviting a customer to open an account when you notice an opportunity for him or her to save on fees.
Cracking the Customer Code
If your financial institution is shifting towards an omnichannel strategy, you’ll need the data to steer and refine that strategy. Here at Avannis, we’re dedicated to helping financial institutions better understand their customer base and increase overall customer loyalty and satisfaction. We’ll use our customized surveys and tools to provide you with actionable insights that can get your omnichannel strategy off to a successful start.
Contact us today for more information on our leading-edge technology, customizable surveys, and expertise. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates on developments in financial marketing and customer experience journeys.