Mercator Perspectives

The Movement Toward an Omni-Channel Approach to Banking

Financial institutions currently are grappling with a wide range of vexing challenges, from a reduction in revenues and net interest margins, to increases in costs—particularly servicing costs—that are hurting overall profitability for banks and credit unions of all sizes. While many of these institutions are working hard to elevate their channel systems from individual, siloed systems to integrated multi-channel solutions, some may not realize that channel strategy is a moving target.

Many of the more progressive financial institutions are seeking better and more efficient ways to conduct business, and some are making significant changes to their business models. They are offering new and innovative services to better serve their customers and members. Initially, the financial instiutions offered incremental options, but are increasingly offering solutions that span multiple channels and offer access and insight to multiple channels simultaneously.

As a result of these issues, financial institutions are trying to accomplish two seemingly incompatible tasks: providing high levels of customer service while trying to reduce their cost of sales. These financial institutions – particularly large banks – are looking to leverage changes and upgrades to their core and CRM solutions with needed enhancements in their channel management systems.

There has been a movement recently toward increased native interoperability between channel, core, and CRM systems, particularly with several large, national banks. The impetus for such a change is a realization that current multi-channel initiatives – while an improvement over siloed systems – are often lacking in the eyes of customers and members who are demanding real-time visibility into transaction and account information, an understanding of their banking needs and behaviors, and a need for improvements in the overall customer experience.

This transition from a multichannel to an omnichannel environment is the next step in channel strategy for many financial institutions. The journey will require significant upgrades or replacements of key systems over time, often with the help of core, back-office, and channel systems partners, but will result in increased customer and member satisfaction and improved organizational efficiencies for financial institutions.

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