Why Banks Must Master Multi-Channel Customer Communication

Jul 2021 | Article

why banks must master multi channel customer communication

Summary: Access to the internet and smartphones, a growing population of millennials and Gen Z and the acceleration of digital transformation because of a raging global pandemic have transformed India into one of the world’s largest fintech markets.

McKinsey reports that the use of online and mobile banking has increased by 20%-50% worldwide ever since the pandemic struck. In India, leading Indian banks such as HDFC, SBI, ICICI and Kotak Mahindra asked their customers to switch to digital banking.

For a country that has the third-highest number of internet users in the world, that call-to-action was a massive paradigm shift

The demand for convenience in banking

97% of India’s millennials use the internet or mobile banking heavily. One of India’s leading banks, Axis Bank, reports that over 90% of its transactions are through an online medium. Meanwhile, ICICI Bank used WhatsApp to offer basic banking services and scaled up to one million users within three months of launch. Now that customers have grown used to the convenience of online banking, their demands and expectations for more digital experiences will only rise over time. Especially since they’ve been exposed to seamless digital experiences from fintech firms such as Zerodha (for online stockbroking), CRED (for credit card payments) and Fi (a Neobank).

Customers today care about connecting with banks the way they want, when they want and on the channel of their choice. Banks must develop a multi-channel communication strategy that delivers a smooth experience to such customers while giving banks an edge over tech-savvy fintech firms.

How multi-channel customer communication can help

Embracing a multi-channel communication approach involves enabling self-service and simplifying twoway communication.

For instance, a customer could search for personal loans on a web browser, continue the research on a mobile device, ask questions on WhatsApp and then make a decision using a web browser again. Similarly, the same customer might want to connect with a bank representative anytime, anywhere to resolve certain queries on personal loan repayment plans before submitting their loan application.

A multi-channel communication strategy has the potential to maximise sales and margins. Kotak Mahindra bank digitised the account opening process so that customers could virtually sign up and open an account in under five minutes using any device. They can ask their queries to Keya, a chatbot and virtual assistant and connect with a dedicated bank representative, if required, using Kotak Mahindra’s phone banking services. As a result, the bank sees a 50%-60% year-on-year growth across all of its digital offerings.

Succeeding with multi-channel communication warrants:

  • A deep understanding of the customer
  • Personalised marketing efforts across all channels driven by insights on customer activity and market trends
  • Advanced analytics to predict patterns and facilitate granular targeting
  • AI to automate and scale commercial campaigns while enriching customer experience
  • A motivated team equipped with the right resources

Getting started with a comprehensive multi-channel communication strategy

Before designing a multi-channel communication strategy, it’s crucial to understand the customers. Hyper personalisation can happen only if the customers are segmented according to their demographics and financial needs. For instance, a Gen Z customer might be interested in low-interest student loans with the help of an online calculator or a virtual assistant. Meanwhile, a baby boomer might want to know more about interest rates by talking to a bank representative on the phone.

So, the first step is to build an interface that provides a 360o view of the customer according to their online behaviour, buying patterns, demographics and interests.

Advanced analytics and data mining techniques can help unearth information on high-value customers or those leads that are most likely to convert. Using this data, banks can build campaigns that target the right customers. Meanwhile, automation can help create and run campaigns for each customer segment at scale. This would ensure that customers get the right message at the right time without being annoyed by repetitive notifications for services that don’t interest them.

Next, the transition to multi-channel communication is a massive shift and banks should prepare their employees to be comfortable and effective in such an environment training programmes, continuous coaching and tech support.

Lastly, the technology banks use is crucial to the success of any multi-channel communication strategy. While stitching together a motley bunch of products can do the job, it’s not a sustainable or scalable solution. That’s where a cloud communications solution like Smartflo can help by:

  • Establishing a virtual call centre with built-in CRM integrations, sentiment analysis and advanced analytics to enhance customer experience and support two-way communication
  • Offering an integrated marketing platform with voicemail transcription, text to speech personalised messages, and customised campaign flows
  • Providing an intelligent assistant (using multi-level IVR) to promote self-service and reduce the query resolution time significantly

A platform like Smartflo is built for on-demand scalability and secured using enterprise-grade security

A new mandate

In the age of instant gratification and issue resolution, financial institutions have a massive opportunity to build their brand image and improve customer loyalty by delivering stellar experiences across devices, channels and locations.

Delivering fast, seamless, reliable and secure experiences using the right technologies is the key to gaining an edge over the fintech challengers.

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