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I think the answer is yes, but it’s not going to be easy to accomplish.

Here’s a simple, real-life, experience from a different industry: health care. Living in the UK, it’s wet and cold right now (just like the summer I guess 🙂 and I’ve had “man flu” for just over 3 weeks. During that time, I have taken 6 flights (including a couple of Transatlantic trips), and my left ear has not popped back from nearly 2 weeks ago, giving me a bit of a “geriatric lughole”.

I contacted the doctors for an appointment by ringing them up (their “telephony” channel). The result? Engaged tone.

After several attempts on the phone, I gave up, fought traffic to the clinic (the “branch”), readjusted my “friendly mask” and requested an appointment at the front desk. The receptionist (the “teller”), with script-like efficiency, reeled off a well-versed statement that I had to “phone between 8am and 9:30am to get an appointment any sooner than 7 days’ time”.

So, in short, if you know you will still be ill in a weeks’ time, you have to book at the desk. If you are urgently ill, you have to battle the engaged tone (many many redials). If you are somewhere in between, you have to…..erm….

Forget about starting my appointment request on the web, progressing it on the phone and confirming with face to face. This was a basic functional request of a simple service. Each channel had its own rules on the functionality that it offers. And I, the consumer, somehow needed to be aware of these rules to transact. Throw into the mix an evil (in my opinion) receptionist intent only on seeing me in misery (luckily I couldn’t hear her snigger when I left as I was half deaf) and you have the basic challenge of omni-channel: it’s just plain complex to get right.

Health care (at least my example) is slightly more straightforward than consumer banking, with its channels such as branch, franchise branch, IVR, voice banking (telephony), internet and mobile banking. Sure, if the bank is among the few out there that is purely digital and providing only a mobile banking or online banking only experience then it might be a bit easier. But for the rest who focus on multiple consumer segments, the majority of the industry, that’s not an option.

Choosing the right plumbing is vital to enable that joined-up, efficient, and, above all else, enjoyable experience, which is needed if you want new customers, or existing customers to keep coming back…and to tell their friends on Facebook…and Twitter…and in the pub. You get the picture.

Practice Lead, Real-Time & Digital Payments

Dean has been in the solution space for over 20 years. Initially starting out at IBM as an IT architect consulting to cross-industry blue chip clients, it was at IBM where, as lead integration architect on an ePOS chip & PIN replacement programme for a leading UK retailer, Dean caught the cards and payments bug. Following IBM, Dean moved 100 percent into cards and payments solution consulting and product management leadership within TSYS, and later with Vocalink. At Vocalink Dean was head of product for what is now known as Pay By Bank App, combining faster payments with mobile payments to replace plastic cards to buy goods (a precursor to PSD2). At ACI Worldwide, Dean has held various product leadership roles covering consumer and merchant management, clearing & settlement, reconciliation, dispute management, mobile payments and now immediate payments and hub solutions. With this latest addition Dean is working with global partners to support the transformation of payments into a digitally-native, real-time industry, supporting any payment, every possibility.