If you want a good example of how digital transformation has affected a long-established business model, look no further than retail banking. Bank customers today can perform most transactions online, via website or mobile app, without having to walk into a bank branch. This includes checking balances, making payments, transferring funds, and ordering checks.
It’s no surprise then that physical bank branches have been on a steady decline since reaching their peak just seven years ago, according to the FDIC. And Accenture’s recent North American Consumer Digital Banking Survey indicated that 60% of North American consumers use online banking weekly.
But the physical bank branch isn’t ready for the scrap heap just yet. The same Accenture survey reported that 87% of North American consumers plan to use their physical bank branches in the future. While McKinsey reports that 65% of consumers interact with their bank through multiple channels.
As with retail commerce, retail banking has gone omnichannel. Online doesn’t completely replace offline, in fact, it enhances it, and vice versa. Customers can and do use their banks’ mobile apps to schedule appointments with their bankers at their local branch. And don’t forget the call center. Growing use of digital channels such as web and mobile can generate more activity there as customers have questions about transaction completion, possible account fraud or general technical issues that only a human on the other end of the line can answer.
The challenge then for banks is to deliver a consistent customer experience across these channels. Websites need to be available and have fast page-load and transaction complete times. Mobile apps similarly need to be stable, fast and reliable. In-branch systems can’t afford to be down or slow and leave customers waiting in long lines. Call center agents, who will be increasingly relied upon to confirm transactions or respond to technical issues, also need stable, reliable systems with fast response times.
Many banks aren’t there yet. Accenture’s survey reports that just 27% of bank customers find the customer experience to be seamless across all channels.
Customers choose which channel they will use and how and when they will use it. Banks must deliver amazing customer experiences for customers whenever and through which ever channel they come. All the banks’ online systems, not just their customer-facing website, must be prepared to provide the kind of customer experience that will not only retain customers but encourage them to expand their use of the banks’ services and offerings.
To learn more about how to deliver the best customer experiences across all banking channels, stay tuned for the next installment of this blog series. Or, download our new ebook, The Omnichannel Retail Banking Experience.