corporate-executive-board-logoSurprisingly enough, a bank’s digital presence alone cannot ensure great customer care, that according to a recent study by CEB TowerGroup.

While digital transactions through a financial institution’s website and/or mobile app now account for approximately 73% of all transactions, the way customers use digital channels was found to have several surprising attributes, says Nicole Sturgill, Senior Director of CEB TowerGroup, including:

  • Customers are not using digital channels to replace bank branch visits and call center interactions, they’re adding them into the mix of existing channels.
  • Digital channels received high marks for use/access to financial products and services, but recorded low marks for their ability to solve problems for customers or sell new products.
  • The frequency of digital transactions doesn’t translate into greater customer loyalty.

Digital Channels Compliment the Personal Touch

While online portals and mobile apps have been predicted as the replacement for the bank branch, customers are making it clear that that’s not how they’re using digital channels. According to CEB TowerGroup, in 2010 only 13% of financial service customers used digital channels exclusively, and that number was unchanged in 2013. There was a 4% decrease in those who only bank through personal channels, either face-to-face or live phone, from 33% to 29%, and a 4% increase in those who use multi-channel. The hybrid of personal touch and digital channels is clearly the preference of today’s banking customer.

Digital Lags in Customer Service

Customers use digital channels, according to the CEB TowerGroup survey, for straightforward transactions and research, while customers predominately purchase new financial products in the branch. When you add the in-person interactions and the live phone interactions, fully 80% of all problems are resolved through the “personal channels.” Bankers know that these days their branch personnel need to be proficient in sales while their call center staff needs enough visibility into accounts, transactions, and prior interactions in other customer touchpoints to foster smooth problem resolution, and a consistent customer journey.

What’s surprising, though, is that using digital channels alone lags behind using personal channels in their ability to provide quality customer support, according to CEB TowerGroup. Personal channels outperformed digital in all four categories surveyed, from acknowledging the issue to exceeding expectations in its resolution.

Multiple Channels Still Isolated, Mobile Underutilized

From the C-suite to other high-level positions within the financial services industry, there is broad support to increase the integration between channels and touch points. A critical aspect of this integration, the CEB TowerGroup says, is the ability to carry the context of the customer’s interaction across those channels, giving all touchpoints full visibility into the customer history. This heightens the customer’s sense of being understood or seen by the bank or financial institution, lessening their effort in dealing with the bank, and thereby generating greater loyalty.

Tower Group Outlines Best Practices in On-Demand Webinar

Learn more on topic directly from CEB TowerGroup and Genesys in our on-demand webinar titled, Best Practices – Using Digital Channels to Provide Superior Customer ExperiencesIn addition to going into more depth on the findings summarized in this blog, the on-demand webinar outlines a number of best practices and recommended actions for banks to improve their use of digital channels, as well as highlighting some interesting examples of innovation from banks around the world.  Watch the webinar here.