|SNACK, LUNCH, DINE Integrate the mobile, online, branch channels|
By John Ginovsky
Banks should take a lesson from the food service industry. People buy hot dogs from a truck for snacking on the go; soup and sandwiches at sidewalk cafes for lunch; and three-course meals served by restaurant waiters for dinner. The truck, the café, and the restaurant all make money by catering to differing needs of customers at different times.
That was the message of a Fiserv white paper we flagged a few weeks ago in Tech Topics. In much the same way, the paper said, financial institutions that develop an integrated channel strategy that leverages the unique opportunities afforded by branch, online, and mobile channels will be able to differentiate themselves and provide a more holistic and satisfying experience for customers.
Instead of just offering mobile banking as a second way to access the same information and capabilities available online, banks should determine and leverage the unique capabilities mobile offers. At the same time, they should revamp how branch and online channels present themselves and cater to the specific customer behaviors appropriate to both.
“Presenting the types of services through those respective channels that enable customers to interact with and take advantage of those opportunities in an intuitive way will be the best way for banks to leverage these channels,” says Steve Shaw, vice president for strategic marketing for digital channels and electronic payments at Fiserv, in an interview with Tech Topics.
“The idea is that consumers want choice, so they are going to come to you through these different channels. The challenge for you as a banker, to actually make money off of these channels, you have to offer a unique service…Consumers will pay for value. They won’t pay for nonvalue and, in fact, will get frustrated and do something else,” Shaw says.
Mobile, like snacking, lends itself to quick banking interactions that typically take short periods of time or have a sense of urgency. The online channel is like having lunch, a little more structured and routine, where one sits down but still does most things through self-service. Meanwhile, like in a fancy restaurant, the in-person channel of the branch offers a full menu of services and is well-suited for activities where personal interaction is preferred.
“For example,” Shaw says, “someone looking for a home equity loan will do a lot of research online, but then they don’t want to apply online, they want to go into a branch. Later, they’ll go back online and get updates on the status of that loan. Once it’s funded it gets deposited into their account and they can start moving the money around because of the mobile device. So within that scenario they are using different channels to solve their financial needs.”
Revenue opportunities for the bank in turn derive from the specific value provided in each channel, he says. At the branch, people typically seek face-to-face hand-holding on loan applications; online, consumers want access to transaction records so they can analyze their financial situation; and mobile, they want quick resolution of immediate issues, such as access to funds.
“Providing the ultimate convenience and capabilities in those channels will enable financial institutions to look for those revenue streams within each of those unique opportunities,” Shaw says.
On the flip side, encouraging consumers to use the most efficient channel for the most appropriate type of transaction leads to greater efficiencies and cost avoidance, he says. “You don’t want to have somebody come in to the branch and deposit a check,” he says. “The idea of marketing and promoting the types of services that can be done in the digital channels enables you to save a lot of money and in the process there’s the potential also of looking for other revenue opportunities.”
With the addition of a distinct mobile channel, the online and branch channels ideally will adjust and become more effective, Shaw says. The branch would evolve from a transaction center to more of a cross- and up-seller place of opportunity. The online channel’s technology could be leveraged to make it a little more engaging in terms of providing the right types of services and more intuitive financial analysis.
“Whereas with mobile, you have more of the snacking concept: You get in, get done, and get on with your life,” he says.
Just as a hot dog truck is different from a sit-down lunch café or a downtown restaurant, the mobile channel needs to have a fundamentally different design. The briefing paper talks about how it needs unique supporting infrastructure, display size, adaptability to different operating and communication systems, and security.
Download the briefing paper at http://www.fiserv.com/resources/how-mobile-is-reshaping-every-banking-channel.htm
[This article was posted on June 11, 2012, on the website of ABA Banking Journal, www.ababj.com.]
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