How is the Omni-channel Reality affecting the Banking Industry?

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Today’s customers expect to be served across all channels. Most of them are using their smartphones and tablets for everything including communication, accessing emails, buying and selling and even banking. It has been estimated that by the year 2016, majority of UK population and about 80% of the US population will be connected through their smartphones. Half of the world will be able to access tablets. Social media use has been escalating in all its glory. Mobile penetration stands at 89% in developing countries and 128% in developed ones. Mobile communication has almost become subconscious. This reality has started affecting the banking industry too.

Banks that have started providing consistent services across all channels are becoming more and more popular these days. A majority of customers do not have the time to go to a bank or even an ATM to transfer money. They expect each and every bank to provide facilities like net-banking, phone banking, SMS banking and mobile apps to do their banking transactions. If banks stand up to the expectations of their customers, they will be able to provide a better customer experience at all times. Also, they will be able to interact with customers better and come up with products and services that achieve maximum popularity.

Till recently, multi-channel banking was the buzz word. However, today it has changed to Omni-channel banking. In order to gain new customers, maintain the existing customers and meet their expectations, banks have to be capable of delivering a seamless experience over all devices. This is not just a reality, but a solution that is totally focused on business to deliver successful results. While multichannel strategy aimed at encouraging the customers to use the cheapest channel, Omni-channel strategy is more focused on delivering products, services and important advice through a seamless customer experience. This is more to the advantage of customers than the businesses. It is a great way to understand customers, streamline the systems and concentrate on the best ways to success.

Customers today don’t want to get annoyed by the persistent calls of the contact centers of banks about offering credit cards or loans. They want to choose their own services or products through their own preferred channels. In order to stand up to these expectations, banks and financial institutions will have to offer their services across all channels at all times. Through these channels, it also becomes easier for the banks to collect details about the behavior and preferences of customers in a secure way. This will help the banks to offer the right kind of products and services to the right customers.

Most companies like Amazon have been providing the right kind of purchasing suggestions, irrespective of the device that the customer is using. This has made the customers expect the same from banks as well. Omni-channel banking is the only thing that will help the customers to have a consistent experience over all devices, be it a mobile phone, tablet or a PC. If banks fail to provide this kind of customer experience, there will always be many other institutions that will be ready to take the opportunity.