Nine Considerations for Financial Institutions in an Omnichannel World

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Nine Considerations for Financial Institutions in an Omnichannel World

When it comes to choosing a bank, interacting with a financial institution or making complicated banking decisions, most consumers still rely on offline communications. For example, when evaluating a loan, respondents to a recent survey ranked in-person meetings and phone calls as their preferred modes of communication. The future of banking is omnichannel, a type of retail service that integrates different methods of shopping available to consumers. But while banks are introducing new ways for customers to interact, many are failing to connect digital touch points with offline conversations, and are missing key opportunities to provide the type of personalized experience that today's consumers demand. This eWEEK slide show, using industry information from call intelligence provider Invoca, provides some valuable suggestions for financial services companies.

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Omnichannel Is the New Normal

When interacting with their banks, people use every channel of communication, including mobile apps, phone calls, websites, texts, SMS, in-branch visits and chatbots. More than a third of banking customers said they use three or more of these channels to communicate with their bank every month.

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Making the Omnichannel Experience Seamless Is Crucial

Consumers are not thinking about navigating online or offline; they are simply engaging in one continuous experience and using whichever mode of interaction is best or easiest at the time. Banks will fail if they only consider one channel at a time. Seventy-five percent of consumers say it's important—or extremely important—to be able to easily switch between channels when interacting with their bank.

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Offline Actions Dominate Complicated Decisions

In a world gone digital, consumers still want to talk. Sixty-four percent of consumers said either a phone call or visiting a bank branch were their primary mode of contact when evaluating financial institutions for a loan. This is compared to online forms and social media, where 16 percent and 2 percent, respectively, said these were their No. 1 methods of contact.

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Calls Are a Key Part of the Decision-Making Process

As mobile use increases, so do phone calls; this is especially true for large or complicated purchase decisions. When researching loans, 86 percent of people said phone calls were part of the process; more than a quarter made at least four phone calls. After a positive experience over the phone, 57 percent of respondents said they would be likely to choose that institution for a loan.

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Customer Experience Is the New Competitive Battleground

People want a consistent omnichannel experience and personalized recommendations. They care more deeply about this sentiment, however, when it comes to offline communications. For example, 54 percent of consumers said personalization over the phone was extremely important, compared with 34 percent who said the same about email. Thirteen percent said the same about chatbots.

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Consumers Expect Each Experience to Be Connected

As consumers interact over multiple channels, they expect financial institutions to keep track of the customer journey as they switch back and forth; marketing should reflect that entire path to purchase. Forty-five percent of consumers said that seeing digital ads that conflicted with a conversation they had on the phone had a negative impact on their decision to take a loan from that bank.

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The Future of Omnichannel Banking Is Mobile

When interacting with their banks regarding basic functions, mobile app use is the most commonly used channel. More than half of consumers use their banking app at least once a week.

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For Sensitive Information, People Don't Trust Chatbots

For sensitive information, however, human interaction still reigns. As banks adopt new technologies for interaction like chatbots, they should keep in mind that consumers are only comfortable using artificial intelligence (AI) for basic functions. For example, when asked which banking interactions people felt comfortable discussing with a chatbot, more than half of respondents only said checking a balance or making a customer service inquiry. Less than half said they would be comfortable discussing fraudulent charges over the phone, sharing their Social Security number or inquiring about a loan.

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Even Millennials Hesitate to Trust AI When Banking

Only 17 percent of consumers said they would use a chatbot if their bank offered one. This number only rises to 20 percent when looking solely at millennials. While chatbots are capturing media attention, they have a long way to go before they capture consumers' trust. When it comes down to it, people still want to talk.

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Best Practices for Enterprises Planning to Adopt AI

We now have all the tools in place—big-pipe broadband connectivity, cloud services, smart devices, super-powerful servers and the burgeoning internet of things—to put IT into an entirely new high gear and move our culture ahead in the new century. So what, then, must enterprises do next to find competitive advantage? We are seeing it now—the introduction of more functionality through artificial intelligence. AI is now a part of more apps and in more places than we've ever seen before: wearables, cars, productivity apps, military, health care, home entertainment—the list is lengthy. However, as the tidal wave around AI grows, the noise can distract organizations from accurately assessing which AI technology is right for them. In this eWEEK slide show, using industry information researched by Narrative Science Chief Scientist Kris Hammond for his e-book, “Practical Artificial Intelligence for...
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