Banking is a sector that has never been open to major innovation or any other form of fast change in the past. Banking operations have been done the traditional way for hundreds of years, but due to the technology revolution that is currently happening, banks have started to embrace an omnichannel approach, in order to keep their clients. The customer-centric philosophy and strategy aim to create a seamless experience for the user, as the focus changes from institutions to individuals.

What is omnichannel banking
Omnichannel banking brings technology and banking together, providing multiple ways of transactions. It leverages all the channels that are available for the customers, digital and online. It optimises the customer experience through multiple devices and channels, be it an app, a website, a call centre or a physical bank branch, and it includes emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) based customer service.
More than that, the channels are synchronized and users can start the onboarding process on one channel and finish it on another one. They can access their accounts through any device, without the need to provide the data again, once it’s registered. Thereby, omnichannel is more than using multiple channels to transact, it is about the flexibility to interact with financial institutions in a simple, faster way. This major move enables an individual with multiple bank accounts and card services to be onboarded via a single app to transact across multiple accounts in a seamless manner with the adoption of the PSD2 related APIs from banks.

Benefits and challenges
The benefits of omnichannel baking are both for clients and banks (traditional or challenger), even though financial institutions were reluctant to this change. Improving the customer experience will attract new users for the banks and retain the existing ones. Using omnichannel services reduces operational costs and offers digital security. On the other hand, the customer has better communication with the financial institution and the whole interaction is faster, easier and cost-effective.
Rapid technological changes bring challenges as well. Clients are in control of the channels they use and they expect seamless access to financial services. Their expectations have increased and the competition is big. Clients are ready for an omnichannel experience that allows them to control the time and place of their interaction with the bank. Challenger banks have set new standards in customer service and traditional banks will have to align with the new, modern way of banking.

The bottomline is that individuals waste less time searching for their usernames, passwords, PINs, codes for security and so on for daily simple transactional tasks which could take hours should you forget just a simple letter to retrieve the situation. All is done from a single user interface, faster and easier.

Author: Mru Patel, Partner and COO of Flash Group, CEO of Sapian Capital

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