Channel innovation: key success factors

  • Print

Attracting and retaining customers in the digital world is no longer just about service levels and product offering, but also world class experience and innovation across every touchpoint

Branch banking is dead. Long live branch banking. Industry reports state that at least one billion internet banking users are expected to be active by 2020. And that means every bank (big or small, multi-national or regional) must have a tick in the box when it comes to the gamut of channel options. So what differentiates the good, the bad and the ugly? It’s all about the innovation and the freshness of the offering. We explore four central success factors which are increasingly being adopted by banks across the world.

1. Engage the customer

The success of any innovation is in its adoption. And the key to driving adoption is in customer engagement. No matter how expensive or sophisticated the birthday gift, the child’s attachment to it is always a function of its appeal to be engaged. As simple as it sounds, embracing this logic is essential. Take the example of video banking; be it the adoption of Nuance’s Nina virtual assistant by Garanti Bank in Turkey, or the Virtual Relationship Manager concept promoted by Kotak Bank in India, or the In-branch virtual contact centre by JP Morgan, the theme is consistent: engage the customer. Umpqua Bank in the US has taken things to the next level. LCD screens and projectors project live Twitter feeds, bus schedules, weather information, creating an interactive digital ‘catalyst’ wall.

2. Demonstrate convenience

An app is not the end game. Innovation that does not demonstrate convenience will have no takers. With mobile, digital and social media becoming a way of life for the next generation, embedding convenience in interaction levels across any of these channels is critical for driving adoption. A simple and yet highly effective demonstration of convenience is QMS integration with mobile banking. The convenience of planning a visit to the branch and options to book appointments based on queue waiting times has been implemented by most leading banks.

The Money Collection service promoted by Idea Bank in Poland allows SMEs to use an app to invite a trained employee of the bank to deliver or collect money in a car-secure depository. Remote deposit capture is another good example. Introduced by JP Morgan, the concept has been widely adopted by leading banks across the globe.

3. Make experience personalised

Not just about personalised landing pages or tailor-made emails. Less than 40% of retail banking customers reportedly have a positive experience to report about their financial institution. Yet it is also true that 75% prefer their primary bank as their personal finance manager. And that’s an opportunity to leverage digital channels – both mobile and internet to drive a personalised experience. Be it in monitoring spend, setting budgets, reviewing saving goals, managing investments or notifications and reminders, a customer wow is only assured when the experience is highly relevant.

BBVA provides a personalised service at the kiosk in partnership with NCR and Fujitsu. The device has an autopersonalisation ability, based on past usage. Chase’s mobile app allows customers to set balance alerts, reminders for scheduled payments and transactions higher than defined amounts.

4. Retain the human touch

Even while banks invest in technology,it is the human touch that delivers it. Barclays equipped its staff with 8,500 iPads across 1,700 branches. The objective? Leverage the ‘mortgage brain’ to assist agents source loans in the shortest time. Bank of America adopted a similar approach, where staff in branches are equipped with tablets to assist customers with routine transactions.

Keeping up with changing times

To quote Charles Darwin, it’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change. Multichannel integration is here to stay.

Promoting financial products through mobile is key to staying relevant as customers researching products on smartphones double every year. The key will be to integrate customer analytics with mobile delivery. PQL (Predictive Qualified Leads) is now a common terminology in retail banking sales room conversations, and integrating them with channel-based marketing efforts is increasingly inevitable. Having a mobile strategy that integrates financial transactions, payments, and mobile content to deliver custom services across different customer segments is therefore mandatory

But it is not just the analytics nor the data that matter: it is the delivery of the customer experience that makes the whole engagement meaningful, enjoyable and consistent. And therein lies the secret sauce. Beauty, at the end of the day, always lies in the eyes of the beholder

For a further conversation on this subject of Cedar View or how we may be able to help please email V. Ramkumar, Senior Partner, Cedar at


Download PDF