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Era Of Omnichannel Banking

Financial Services are ready for omnichannel banking. Omnichannel banking is arguably one of the hottest trends in financial services today. Say goodbye to the multichannel days where banks focused on switching customers to the cheaper channel and on trying to achieve a minimum level of consistent look and feel across siloed channels (a strategy that many banks are still pursuing today). Instead, say hello to the new omnichannel reality where consumers research a mortgage offer online, discuss it over video with a remote expert from the local branch, and set up automated monthly payments using their mobile banking app.

Similar to retail, omnichannel brings a set of opportunities and challenges to the banking industry, including:
- First and foremost, the risk of rendering retail branches irrelevant . . . . Should we start shutting down branches given operations costs and reduced frequency of customer visits?

Susan McPartlin, PwC's US Retail & Consumer Sector leader stated the following "As we enter an increasingly complex retail landscape with accelerating competitive pressures and digital shopping options, retailers will need to prepare for a wall-less omnichannel retail world, one where shoppers will come to expect a seamless brand experience online, in-store and across multimedia touch points. This multi-format portfolio combined with the proliferation of small, urban, alternative retail formats will pave the way for future growth, dismantling the mass homogenization and scale assumptions that propelled two decades of retail growth."

With limited funds, should we still invest in online or move all our resources to mobile? Will social media have a role to play above and beyond customer service? Does access to a remote expert via high-definition video conferencing in the branch make sense?

To help banks address these questions, Cisco IBSG recently conducted global research of 5,300 customers across developed (Canada, France, Germany, United Kingdom, and United States) and emerging economies (Brazil, China, and Mexico) to assess consumers' interest and readiness in a number of omnichannel-enabled banking concepts, including virtual-only banking models, POD banking, mobile/social/visual social banking, and several others.
So, how can banks prosper in a world that, according to our survey, is ready for omnichannel banking? Here are several ideas. You can find out more in Cisco's recent point of view paper.

The infomediary opportunity
As we move into the omnichannel reality, protecting consumers' private info and digital identity becomes paramount. Banks are ideally positioned to take on this role, opening the doors for banking associations or individual banks to protect people's digital identities the same way they protect their wealth. Worldwide, it is clear that customers are ready for omnichannel banking. The question is, are banks ready, too?