Accenture’s is the most recent report to hit the street and the findings suggest more of the same, that customers are turning to the mobile device (and digital channels) more and more, which is allowing banks with either no branch footprint or a limited footprint to challenge for clients in regions that they hadn’t in the past.
Prior to the emergence of online banking, branch locations and their network footprint were the convenience factors when choosing a bank since your relationship was carried out primarily at the teller window (with cash withdrawals and balance inquiries available via the ATMs, which typically had the same geographic footprint). With online banking, you no longer needed to go to a physical location to get information or transact and the convenience factor that once decided or heavily influenced the decision on where to bank started to decline. Mobile has just continued that trend of convenience and the ability for a customer to bank when they want and where they want if they so choose. This shift has allowed banks without the branch presence to enter the market and has increased competition, which is great news for consumers. Today the consumer can choose what bank products and services best fit their needs, not which bank has branches in convenient locations. This shift has created a massive focus on the customer experience.
The emergence of the digital channels has created a dynamic where to one side of the extreme are customers who put no value on the presence of a branch network and prefer to solely transact via their mobile device…and to the other side of the extreme are individuals who will only transact in the branch and have no interest in doing anything online, let alone from a telephone. The vast majority of the banking population falls somewhere in the middle; they interact with the bank in a combination of multiple channels. This is where the importance of analytics, an omni-channel focus and education come into play.
Analytics can help banks decide which types of clients they have in different locations and how far out to the extremes those clients are, which can influence the bank’s decision on go forward branch design, or presence. Since the majority of clients today are utilizing multiple channels, an omni-channel focus is extremely important. Clients expect a consistent and expected user experience no matter their channel preference. Banks focus for customers’ needs to be on educating them on the benefits of alternative channels that they will gain from switching. If there is no benefit to them (i.e. added convenience, lower fees, higher yields), they will most likely just want to continue conducting their transactions the same way they have been, and attempts to steer them to the lower cost channel will likely have a negative impact on the customer experience—the last thing the bank is looking to do. Let the competition begin and the best solution for each client type win.
Omni-Channel Focus is Needed to Defend Client’s Share of Wallet by Mark Ranta