This article first appeared in the
Winter 2017 issue of The Record.
In the past, customers could only interact with banks via two or three channels – they could have a face-to-face conversation with a trusted representative at their local branch, telephone the bank’s call centre, or use an ATM. Consequently, banks had little to worry about in terms of channel strategies, aside from ensuring their branches were within easy reach of customers, that staff could meet demand and that their services were of reasonable quality.
However, times are changing and both technology and banking are evolving rapidly. The explosion in the number of available customer channels is causing a major shift in the way that people and organisations manage their finances. Today, most customers use multiple channels to get in touch with their service providers, research products, open and manage their accounts, resolve issues, receive notifications, or share experiences. This diversity includes digital-only channels, including social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, chatbots and SMS.
In addition, fintech start-ups are disrupting the way traditional banking is being done. In recent years there has been a significant growth in the use of peer-to-peer lending, pay-day loan companies and other innovative non-traditional banking organisations. In this overcrowded, highly competitive marketplace people can easily shop around using price comparison sites to find the most relevant and cheapest option and the bank switching service makes swapping banks as easy as changing clothing brands. It’s also free.
Now that greater volumes of customers are expecting instant service, banks are migrating to lower cost digital channels and keeping the more expensive branches and call centres for occasions that require a more personal, in-depth level of service. Although this is often seen as a cost-effective way of meeting demand, things are not clear-cut. If low-value customers choose high-cost channels, the cost to serve them could surpass the revenue they generate, and if high-value customers are being served through low-quality, non-differentiating channels, it could potentially damage their relationship with the bank.
This can have a significant impact on bank revenues, as well as customer satisfaction. Therefore, as customers migrate to self-service channels, banks are challenged with resolving how to identify an optimal channel mix for each customer that reduces cost, maximises revenue and improves the overall experience.
VeriChannel from VeriPark offers a secure, unified platform that empowers organisations to manage seamless, consistent and engaging customer journeys across multiple customer touchpoints, including web, mobile, kiosks and ATMs. The fully responsive user interfaces enable customers and colleagues to access the system from any device at any time. The VeriChannel solution enables banks to adopt a three-fold strategy to encourage customers to migrate to low-cost digital channels.
First, the solution delivers a consistent and scalable user experience. No matter which channel the customer uses, VeriChannel provides all the features and functionalities that are available to branch-based relationship managers in a self-service mode. This capability is both secure and scalable meaning that no matter how many customers or interactions, the experience will always be of the same high quality.
Second, VeriChannel differentiates the level of service across channels based on a customer’s loyalty, net promoter score, product portfolio or net worth. For example, some banks have gold or platinum levels of service for certain customers.
Finally, the solution can be used to incentivise customers to adopt low-cost channels by offering specialised channel-specific products (with special pricing) or rewards for self-service transactions.
VeriPark is helping its customers drive digital transformation and optimise channel migration by delivering scalable, intelligent and secure customer-centric software solutions. By providing solutions that unify data from separate channels and creating a single view of each relationship to help identify insights, VeriPark is enabling its customers to implement practices that allow them to have meaningful conversations and take the right action at the right time.
Wim Geukens is managing director of VeriPark Europe
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