Bank customers can’t believe they’re still not able to do some pretty basic stuff

A survey from Diebold shows that some major gaps exist between what technology offers other industries and financial services firms

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The financial services industry could learn a thing or two from the retail industry — at least when it comes to the omni-channel.

Retailers still have a ways to go, of course, but there’s recognition of the need to provide a consistent, seamless customer experience across all touch points. And this is where banks need to step up their game.

When consumers can use their mobile device to pay for a coffee, make video calls or watch the latest HBO series, yet can’t see an updated bank transaction in real time, it makes financial institutions seem outdated and out of touch.

The multi-channel was about providing new self-service channels to customers, such as online and mobile. But the omni-channel is about providing the same experience across those channels.

New research from Diebold Global Research suggests there’s a demand for financial services beyond what’s currently available. Respondents said they want better customer relationships and they want enhanced technology — especially when that technology is readily available in other industries.

Oh, and they want more personalized service, too.

“Consumers want control of their finances regardless of the channel they use, expecting seamless interactions that offer the same interface and information — in real time — via mobile, online, ATM, call (centre) or the branch,” says the report.

And, as consumers start to switch between devices to complete a transaction, that seamlessness becomes even more important.

Diebold also found that consumers want their financial institution to remember their preferences, regardless of the channel they’re using.

One of my favourite coffee shops in Toronto has technology in place that “recognizes” me if I check in on my mobile device, allowing the barista to greet me by name and see my drink preferences. Yet I often receive banking offers that don’t apply to my life whatsoever. I don’t need an auto loan if I don’t have a car.

If a small, independent coffee shop can do this, then there’s no reason why banks can’t be doing a better job of it.

As one consumer said in the Diebold survey: “Ideally, all of my financial interactions would be customized to my needs, from interfaces online and menus on the phone, to advice and customer service I receive.”

And those interactions should be updated across channels in real time — another area where consumers feel their banks should be doing a better job. In the survey, respondents expressed frustration with inconsistencies between channel interfaces, especially when accessing their accounts online and through mobile devices.

When they deposit a cheque in an ATM, they want to be able to verify their new account balance on their mobile device — right now, not two days later.

The key to making this work is integration, and for many banks this could mean an overhaul of legacy systems and siloed operations. Not only will this provide an ability to offer a consistent experience to customers, but it will also provide an ability to analyze big data across channels to build a more accurate profile of those customers.

This is, of course, easier said than done. There’s a lot of work that needs to take place on the back-end to provide that seamless experience. But it’s a way to kill two birds with one stone: by providing enhanced technology, you have an opportunity to dramatically improve and add value to your customer relationships.

photo credit: Ian Sane via photopin cc

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