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Digital or traditional contact channels: where should banks be putting their money?

Consumer demands are changing at an alarming rate, placing more pressure on businesses than ever before. No sector is immune from this trend, even the banking sector where the battle for customers is becoming fierce as it is now easier for customers to move current accounts, and public opinion of the industry’s big players has steadily waned since 2007.

Over a million UK customers switched banks last year, and recent research from Intelligent Environments shows one in three people believe digital-only bank accounts will outnumber traditional ones within five years. With ‘Google-like’ service becoming an expectation for most, the popularity of digital-only services is no mystery. But public opinion suggests traditional services still have a part to play.

The same research shows over half of respondents won’t move to digital-only banks because they dislike the idea of being unable to speak with someone in person if they have a problem.

Last month we talked about ‘boring’ services like utilities, and the implications the nature of those services have on the customer experience. Services like banking are a slightly different beast; they are often steeped in emotion as they deal with one of things most important to customers, their money. It’s a very sensitive matter, and one that often requires being able to readily communicate without having to use a screen.

Digital channels are excellent when things are going right – being able to log in to an account from almost anywhere, and using digital chat to discuss their account with agents is a big bonus for many customers. On the other hand, when things aren’t going so well, not being able to pop into a local branch, or pick up the phone to sort it out, is a customer experience nightmare waiting to happen.

Customers need choice. What’s vital is to ensure you can offer a range of channels that are joined-up so that the customer has a friendly face, voice, or chat box to interact with wherever they are or whatever their problem is.

To find out more about how businesses are offering a range of contact channels that have a positive impact on the customer experience, read the EvaluAgent Multichannel Maze Report.