Omni-Channel Management in Financial Services

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Never before have we seen new channels for communicating with your bank or credit union emerge as quickly as we have in recent years. We’ve begun to even migrate terms from multi-channel management to “Omni-channel management” indicating the industry’s strong desire to keep from being siloed. It has raised many questions:

Which channels are most important? How are financial institutions adjusting to these changes? How do we add channels without adding complexity?

What you need to know about omni-channel management:

It’s not about diagrams, it is about customers. I could give you the standard omni-channel management diagram every financial marketer and customer service person has seen. But it’s about your customer. If that customer chooses to send you a Tweet…. now we need to help them move to a resolution on their issue without feeling like being forced to use awkward tools. At the end of the day, your customer wants the issue resolved and you want a resolution that conveys confidence to other customers and prospects.

Some channels are meant for conversation, then delegation. Within our tools we take a conversation and move it to other channels. Perhaps your customer wants new checks, but chooses to ask for them on Facebook (real world examples), this is your chance to direct to another channel and perhaps even help them to see that you are getting them to exactly the right person. The same goes for a home loan.

Gauge your responses across channels. Making sure you are responding to issues in your customer service for social tools at the same time comparing to your other digital workflows will help you to improve the customer experience.

Focus on the hand-offs. Just like every business interaction when you are moving someone between channels (Facebook to phone, Twitter to Website), focus on how you move these users and insure that they ‘make the jump’. Digital channels often making it easier to know that someone made the jump, but most technology has focused on a single channel, insuring that you keep the communication loops open on the channel that the customer chose initially, while linking them directly to the information or person they need is critical.

The customer’s preference is important, but does not have to dictate how you manage. With the right tools, adding a channel is not costly. For many institutions we help, adding a social channel is not complicated since they use the same tool for all customer service. This allows your customers to pick the channel they are accustom to using and you to respond with the same process.

Jerry Silva, Research Director at IDC Financial Insights recently posed the question (and answer),

“What transformation is necessary to make the channels behave differently instead of being siloed? Ultimately, that goes back to the core.”

Let us not forget in this industry, at the core we have the ability to know our customers in a way other industries do not. Continued focus on the customer will allow us to see social, digital interactions in the context of the value from the customer.

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