Aleksandar Lenov – 26 October 2018
Can you imagine leaving your home “un-connected”? No smartphone, no smartwatch, no tablet? No way! Neither does the person next to you. That is why today the average number of web-connected devices owned by a person is above three. This smart technology push created an addiction among people – being connected every channel possible. And what are banks to do but be where the clients are. So banks rushed to implement as many channels as possible, just to be faced with another challenge – a new customer behavior called channel switching.
And there you have it, the biggest problem of multi-channel: one channel does not have a clue what happened on the other one, and customers are having a nightmare of an experience. Let’s take a look from customer’s perspective. He sends a request to a bank via email. Eager to get a reply, he thinks it would be much more efficient to address the topic through the website online form, and subsequently does that. However, that particular team, handling online forms, does not deal with this type of topics. So the customer turns to the call centre, hoping for the resolution. Long story short – and it was long for a good reason… In each of these attempts the client had to repeat the same thing all over again. Imagine the aggravation. On the other side, a bank invested at least three times more resources for one customer. Customer experience 0 : Expenses 3
The game was on! The first response was to integrate all that user interaction into one place. Witness the birth of omni-channel, the one that will save us all. And let’s be honest – it did. Now, there is a consistency in customer experience. The process started on one channel is uninterrupted when channel-hopping. The change that happens on one channel is immediately reproduced on all channels in use by the client. This makes contracting and issue solving easier for the client. The customer information is stored centrally and handled from one place enabling banks to deliver a more personalized service. Processes are automated and human resources are used more efficiently. But what if a client predominantly uses one particular channel or wants to use only one channel for bank services? Can all banking services be done on that channel of choice? Also taken into account must be the relevance of the information that banks provide on the channel at a particular time. Is that information useful to the customer at that time?
To put it this way. When is it most likely to ask for help in the supermarket? When there are multiple sorts of the same product, and you need someone to assist you in choosing the right one for you at that time. Here is where the customer support steps in – to offer one or multiple products for the customer to purchase in order to satisfy his need. Opti-channel does a similar thing, determines the optimal number of channels for customer communication for particular customer request. It does not mean more channels. It means the most straightforward customer journey and adequate channel navigation. The other thing is personalization. There is personalization as we know it: you take customer behavior and account history, and send a personalized message, usually via email, at a certain time of month or when there is a marketing campaign. But is it relevant for the client at that time? Is the client even at a place likely to check his email or some other channel? Customers expect an optimal message, at an optimal time on an optimal device. Opti-channel provides such experience by utilizing publicly available geolocation, wifi and beacon technology.
Imagine yourself in a shopping mall just browsing, when you receive a message on your mobile banking app that you can get a discount in the tech store in that mall if you make a purchase with a card of a particular bank, the bank you are a client of. Also, you have been pre-approved a quick loan if you decide to purchase, since your card balance is a little low at the end of the month. Well, that is a relevant offer because you are in that mall, it is the end of the month and you are a little short, but you can not resist a new gadget, which is obvious from your card account history. Talking about personalized, in context, relevant and timely communication. That is the advantage of Opti-channel.
Maybe with artificial intelligence, predicting customer behavior, bot technology and advanced user interfaces only one channel would be sufficient for users. Maybe that will never be the case because we all use different smart devices at different times. One thing is certain for now – we want to be connected at all times. Having that in mind, users will expect to receive the optimal message, at the optimal time, on the optimal channel, based on the amount of data they provide and also based on the time they are willing to spend on banking activity