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The why and how of omnichannel banking

  • Posted on March 9, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 5 minutes
omnichannel banking

Banks are changing how they do business.


The most forward-thinking financial institutions have borrowed a technique from other industries that helps to keep customers around longer, and make them more profitable as time goes on. Though this new strategy fundamentally changes how banking is conducted, the reward for early adopters can be great—and you don’t have to wait for years to reap what you sow.

It’s called omnichannel banking.

At its core, this strategy delivers personalized interactions with consumers across all available channels—be it smartphones, computers, tablets, or local brick & mortar branches. This, in turn, makes the customer feel familiar with your company. To implement an omnichannel strategy, banks are beefing up their digital capabilities—but more importantly, they’re integrating every experience a customer might have with their brand so that channels work together rather than compete. The truth is in the numbers: one bank’s product sales rose by more than 25% in six months after implementing an omnichannel strategy.

The key to omnichannel banking is the customer experience. From mobile check-cashing, to digital appointment schedulers and tailored email marketing, the digital age has delivered powerful new methods of inviting customers to actually enjoy banking. Take it from Craig Donaldson, Metro Bank CEO, who described his company’s strategy in a way that few banking CEOs have done before: “It’s all about creating fans. It’s really that simple.”

For an industry that has traditionally prioritized cost-savings, this attention to the customer experience might instinctively feel like a waste of money. It’s not. In fact, customers today demand an engaging and easy experience with brands. That can mean making your mobile app intuitive and easy-to-use, or training your local representatives to deliver exceptional customer service.

If you want your financial institution to enjoy stronger, more profitable, and beneficial relationships with your customers in the coming years, then it’s time to develop an omnichannel strategy. Implementing these 4 key elements in your plan will ensure you make the most out of this essential strategic transition.


1. Automate your data collection, securely

Interacting seamlessly with all of your customers requires quite a lot of data. Every customer interaction should be documented and analyzed to improve the user experience across platforms. The sheer volume of operations means your systems must use automation to capture a complete picture of your customers. Together, the data collected can be leveraged to construct personalized experiences with customers, at scale. However, it’s imperative that all of this information is kept secure. That’s why many forward-thinking companies leverage the Microsoft Data Platform and Cortana Intelligence Suite to connect their automated data to the questions they’re asking themselves. Moving data collection to the cloud means greater capacity to log customer interactions. Then, predictive analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence helps you transform that information into actionable UX (user experience) improvements. And Avanade can even help you make the most of these technologies with our expertise in migration and cloud management.


2. Unify your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy

Data is only as good as the decisions they lead to. With a unified CRM strategy, you can take full advantage of key data points to maximize your profit from customer interactions. In fact, organizations that prioritize customer experience see 3X their return on investment. That’s why Metro Bank employs the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform to help reduce customer wait time, make customer interactions more consistent, and to streamline processes like large credit underwriting. Banks looking to realize similar benefits often explore Avanade’s Digital Marketing Managed Services solution powered by Sitecore. It’s a pain-free way to monetize your web channel while connecting marketing, sales, and service experiences.


3. Invest in Digital Programming

In this new ‘Age of the Customer,’ you simply cannot skimp on your digital presence. Well-designed application programming interfaces (APIs) simultaneously make banking a snap for consumers while collecting rich data on their preferences and behaviors. It’s a win-win for banks. No wonder 89% of senior IT decision makers agree that modern software engineering is key to addressing the emerging requirements of digital business. And it’s not just customer-facing applications that need modernizing; Stefczyk Savings Bank applied Microsoft’s Unified Service Desk to more efficiently connect customer information gathered from various channels through their services apps. Agents were then able to acquire a complete picture of customers they worked with, including all of their past transactions with the bank. The Modern Engineering Platform and Modern Engineering Advisory capabilities from Avanade make it easier than ever for financial institutions to leverage API’s for their gain.


4. Don’t neglect the human experience

The worst mistake you can make when transitioning to omnichannel banking is to neglect your roots. The digital marketplace may be expanding, but it’s still only one part of the customer journey. Diamond Bank empowered their employees to provide excellent customer service by upgrading to Microsoft’s collaborative software. The Microsoft Teams solution made fluid the transfer of information between Diamond Bank employees, thus improving their ability to serve customers on time and with the most up-to-date information. To make the most out of collaboration software, we suggest amplifying applications like Skype for Business with Avanade’s holistic set of unified communications, transformational, and managed services.

 

Ready to surpass the banking status quo?

Then it’s time to implement an omnichannel strategy. But don’t go at it alone. With help from Avanade, your transition to the new digital paradigm will be guided by experts in the field and supported by top-of-the-line technology.

The banking game has changed. Are you keeping up?

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