Jouk Pleiter, CEO and Co-Founder of Backbase, and Jelmer de Jong, Global Head of Marketing sat down to talk about omni-channel banking – what it is, what it means for banks in the future and why all the fintech world is buzzing about it. Here are a few of the key takeaways:

We’ve moved out of the Age of Information (1990 – 2010) and are now entering the Age of the Customer (2010 – ????). It’s important to keep that in mind when considering how channels and channel usage has evolved: Single channel, multi-channel, cross-channel, and finally omni-channel.

Each evolution has moved a step closer to creating a seamless consumer journey, unhindered by internal silos created every time a new channel is added. In omni-channel banking customers are given a full brand experience, they are not concerned with or bothered by changing channels because the bank has a 360 degree view of the customer. In this way channels become ‘touchpoints’ throughout a seamless journey, which takes place across several devices.

This isn’t something that will happen overnight, but it’s something we should be aiming for: a dot on the horizon. Right now, most banks need to first have multi-channel capabilities with the goal of eventually being omni-channel. Most banks are held back by out-dated architecture, the first step is to create an architecture that supports all channels from a central point.

Trends in omni-channel usage – The facts:

  • 90% of consumers multiple screens sequentially to accomplish a task over time
  • 98% move between devices that same day
  • PCs are most often a starting point for more complex activities, especially managing finances, before following up on phones and tablets
  • Smartphones are the most common starting place for online activities , including for financial research
  • Research that starts on smartphones leads to purchases across channels

Obstacles preventing omni-channel banking:

  • Traditional channels don’t easily support smart experiences
  • Channels don’t provide consistent experiences
  • Hand-offs between channels are clumsy or non-existent
  • The weakest link, or touchpoint, defines the overall customer experience of your brand.
  • If all touchpoints aren’t working from the same central platform the customer journey cannot be seamless

The key thing to remember is omni-channel isn’t just about connecting digital touchpoints, it also embraces ATMs, branches and call centers. A unified architecture makes this possible. With a layered approach, customers, employees and partners will all have the same experience of the brand.
Case studies from ABN AMRO and Deutsche Bank provide great examples of the omni-channel philosophy being put into action.

How to begin making the omni-channel model a reality:

  • Stop repeating silo structures by adopting ‘write once run everywhere’ technologies
  • Optimize for context and behavior
  • Streamline cross device journeys
  • Build customer profiles – And use customer profiles to increase online sales with effective customization and targeting.
  • Whatever you do, do it SMART: Segment customers, Modularize capabilities, Anticipate customer needs, Reward employees, Tailor touchpoints and experiences.

The guys then wrap up with a Q&A session.

You can watch the full video (above) for more details, and you will find the slides on slideshare.