Multichannel versus Omnichannel Banking
Multichannel banking has been around for years now, but recently we have been starting to use the term Omnichannel. Is there a difference and does it matter?
The answer is Yes and Yes!
Multichannel, as the name implies, means simply that a bank provides services to its customers through more than one channel which typically include branch, ATMs, call center, internet banking and – increasingly – mobile.
Multichannel banking has developed over years and channels built as independent silos, so the services across the channels may not be the same and may not be provided in a consistent way.
However, bank customers’ expectations have been set by their experiences with the likes of Amazon, Facebook and others that make it their business to know their customers and anticipate their needs.
Hence comes the mantra of Customer Experience (CX). Forrester Research defines CX as an “Ecosystem – the web of relations among all aspects of a company that includes its customers, employees, partners, and operating environment that determines a holistic quality of interactions it has with people”
This must happen at a corporate level and goes beyond user interfaces and even beyond technology, although obviously technology must play an important role.
What do we need to DO to achieve the best possible Customer Experience? This is where Omnichannel comes in. Multiple, separate channels are not enough.
I like to use two terms: “Consistency” and “Persistency”.
- Consistency means that whenever I interact with my bank, the services should be the same and provided in a consistent way. That doesn’t mean that the user interface is identical, but the services, the way transactions work and the outcomes should be the same.
- Persistency means the bank remembers me and the interactions that I have with the bank, regardless of the channel(s).
The bank systems must also remember my current product holdings and make personalized suggestions based on that and knowledge of my previous interactions with the bank, again regardless of the channel I am using now, or used for previous interactions, whether digital or human.
When a bank can do this it can truly say it is providing Omni-channel banking.