Having strong digital channels is an essential component of any bank’s strategy. Of course, it’s only one part of a more comprehensive omnichannel strategy — one that demands quality products to entice customer participation.
Here’s the rub: there’s no doubt that both customers and banks want more digital channels for their banking. But more than that, customers are looking for omnichannel solutions to have the flexibility to choose what banking they want.
Turns out people don’t want digital only– they want digital options as part of a holistic banking ecosystem. And more than anything, they want quality banking products waiting for them at the end of their purchase journey. As banks begin to “think big” in 2018, considering an omnichannel strategy will become even more important.
Many Roads, One Destination: Your Product
As stated in this Financial Brand article, modern customers are leveraging multiple routes when purchasing a single product. It’s no longer as simple as walking into a store, or branch and having a sales person talk you into a purchase. For quite a while now, it’s about reading reviews online, comparing prices yourself, then (and only then) deciding whether or not to buy.
On the flip side, many consumers aren’t ready to purchase all products with a mouse click like they were restocking kitty litter on Amazon. Big purchases (like opening a new bank account for instance) require a little more assurance for most people than online reviews can provide.
There’s something more compelling about speaking to a professional in-person. Walking into a bank and talking to a human who has made their career about knowing the ins-and-outs of consumer banking can ease the mind more than online testimonials.
You might buy a banking product from this person. Or you might just set your mind at ease and do it at home. The point is you’re not forced to pick — the freedom of choice means more comfort and a happier customer.
What customers truly seek is information. More and more, people are demanding more knowledge about a product before they’re willing to commit to a purchase. This might require taking multiple channels to educate themselves. But the point is this — if the product offered is worthy, an informed customer will want to engage with it.
Dynamic Omnichannel Focus is The Answer
Once you’re confident your product is appealing to customers, allowing them to pursue it flexibly is the next step. Banks having been embracing the idea of an omnichannel experience for years now. By blending the digital and physical, customers of all proclivities can bank in their preferred fashion.
It’s not unreasonable to assume that the technophilic Millennial generation would opt for digital solutions. Similarly, Boomers might prefer to do their banking in the familiarity of their local branch. Having solutions that appeal to the varied demographics that make up banks’ customer base is great — for a first step.
Where this strategy can fall short is when the assumption is made that demographics will remain pigeonholed in one channel. Sure, Millenials are more apt to begin their interaction digitally, and Boomers in-branch. But more than ever, customers are taking varied routes that blend new digital solutions with old-school face-to-face.
In theory, as long as customers are purchasing the products they need, it doesn’t matter how they get there. But for data-driven banks, it can be daunting to measure success of individual channels when customers don’t stick with a single one from beginning to end.
If you start on the digital track but end up purchasing a product in-branch does this mean the digital channel is flawed? Not necessarily — but admittedly it’s hard to tell. This might indicate a flaw in the digital channel, pushing customers to the branches. But far more likely it’s a customer exercising their desire for flexibility and taking a multichannel route to ensure their fullest comfort before making a final decision.
Trust Your Products, Trust Your Customers
“Measure everything” is a great idea. Making data-driven decisions to optimize solutions and channels is essential for maintaining relevance in the hyper-competitive financial world.
But analyzing how customers use different channels doesn’t always offer obvious ideas for improvement. More than ever, contemporary customers are pursuing multiple routes to purchase. This doesn’t indicate a failure in a particular channel — rather it shows an evolution in customer mindset.
Ultimately, offering amazing products will drive the results that banks desire. That’s the most important piece of this puzzle — the customer can choose their path, but the destination still needs to be worth the journey.
Having a dynamic, holistic omnichannel approach will allow customers the flexibility to pursue your products in their preferred fashion. With every channel offering a clear route to purchase, customers will have the comfort to pursue a bank product with the freedom to cross multiple channels.
Want to know more about how to create competitive retail banking products? Zafin can help. Click here to get in touch!
Zafin (@zafin) is a leading financial technology provider that enables banks to form richer, more personalized client relationships. Built from the ground up for financial services, its platform empowers banks to enhance revenue and operational efficiency. Founded in 2002, Zafin sits among North America’s top FinTech companies, and is trusted by retail and corporate units at some of the largest banks worldwide. Headquartered in Toronto with global offices, Zafin has a proven track record with a 100 percent client retention rate as validation.
Cam is the Product Marketing Strategist at Zafin. With a background in journalism and a passion for blogging, Cam strives to tell compelling digital stories. At Zafin he will share the latest trends and news in the FinTech world, and share Zafin’s role as leader in the industry. Follow him on Twitter @CamSmoth