An Omni-Channel Primer

Five Things to Know Before Embarking on an Omni-channel Strategy for Financial Services

Your customer’s expectations are changing. That’s nothing to be alarmed about … unless you’re not prepared. Unless you’re left flat-footed and wondering where all the customers went.

Financial Services – perhaps more than any other segment – have been dramatically impacted by these changing expectations. Customers are no longer happy with different experiences between in-branch banking, ATM services, call-in services, or web services. They want the same experience and options in each of these channels.

They want a rich banking experience in every channel, not just a few options like “withdrawal” or “deposit”. Importantly, they want to use the same methods to identify themselves and provide authorisation in every one of these channels.

Enter the "omni-channel banking experience”, where the customer takes the same actions and makes the same request, no matter the method they’ve used to reach their bank.  If you’re already on this journey, or are wondering about how this could be accomplished before your brand becomes the exception to great omni-channel experience, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

1. Mobile is at the centre:

Grandma has a smartphone. The smartphone is now ubiquitous across all demographics and customer segments. While the different demographics differ on how they want to use mobile, the preference for the platform is here to stay. Any omni-channel strategy that doesn’t assume the channels may indeed be different, but that the mobile device will always be the centre of the authentication platform experience, may not be ready. Mobile will get rid of all the old password/pin paradigms.

2. MFA is Your Friend:

Mobile platforms are ideal for multifactor authentication. With Mobile MFA (or MMFA?) your end users can provide knowledge factors like PINs, biometric factors like retina scans and thumbprints, and possession factors based on their devices, location or even time of day.

3. Consumers Have Different Preferences:

You know customers are different, right? But did you know that they have widely different expectations of how they’d like to authenticate into their online services?  (Insert a link to Aite Consumer Perceptions report?) Seniors like PINs, millennials like selfies, and baby boomers are starting to enjoy touch ID for individual transaction authorizations. Your omni-channel system should accept any number of authentication and authorization methods, and you should be prepped to train your customers on how to choose them and use them. 

4. Buy-in Is Critical:

Meet your team mates on this journey: The user experience team (or digital experience or customer experience) is either driving this initiative or a key stakeholder. They may, in fact, be you, the Reader. But you also have to work with security and compliance teams, who have some opinions about level of assurance (LOA), KYC concerns and identity proofing. And of course the product manager’s life is all about getting her apps and services adopted – she cares a great deal. The point is, there was never a more cross-functional effort than implementing an omni-channel customer experience, and the financial services landscape is littered with failed efforts where one silo tried to do it alone.

5. Time is Running Out:

Three years ago the most customer-centric brands started rolling out their omni-channel experiences. If you’re playing catch-up, start with the login experience. The front door to your services is where a seamless, well-understood and cohesive experience will most be appreciated.  (“Look, I use the same circle code whether I’m logging in by web, by mobile, or at the ATM! Now that’s easy!)

It’s not too big of a stretch to say that within 2 years these omni-channel identification, authorization, and account services will be the bar that separates “good” financial services organizations from “OK” ones.

To help you get from “OK” to “good” visit for the information needed to make your omni-channel journey a successful one.

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