BY MEREDITH DEEN
To sell more, serve well.
That could be the mantra credit unions trying to build relationships with members in an increasingly crowded financial services marketplace. It certainly seems to be a message that is resonating with managers as they take a step back from the furious pace of launching mobile services to keep up with the competition over the last few years.
A recent survey of North American financial services providers turned up findings that support this observation: For the first time since 2010, increasing sales results has been displaced as their top priority. Instead, executives ranked improving customer relationships as their most important strategic aim, according to the biennial survey from the IT research and consulting firm Celent.
The survey findings focus on the role of omnichannel delivery in enacting strategic objectives to retain and expand the customer base. Respondents agreed that offering a seamless customer experience across channels, from mobile and Internet banking to branch service, is imperative, as evident in a 4.1 on a 5.0 importance scale. However, only 1 in 10 of those institutions surveyed said they are effectively executing an omnichannel strategy. A Celent executive noted that while mobile banking remains a top technology priority, “every institution’s number two technology priority, omnichannel delivery, has not yet been met with the activity it merits.”
The promise of omnichannel delivery, of course, is offering convenient access to a full range of financial services no matter how account holders choose to interact with your institution and doing so in a way that reflects your brand. That’s why omnichannel has supplanted multichannel as the primary descriptor of financial services delivery: The goal is not just to offer mobile, Internet, phone and branch access but to ensure that all of those channels demonstrate your brand identity and commitment to member service in action.