The Death of Omnichannel Banking
Omnichannel is the king of the buzzwords in retail banking. It’s the idea that “customers should receive a consistent seamless service across all channels.” In this utopia the branch, phone, web, and mobile app all come together as one. But if you’re a fan of omnichannel, you might want to sit down, because I’ve got some bad news.
Truly digital banking will bring private banking to the mass market.This level of service just can’t be delivered cost effectively in any other channel, and the contrast will be stark when a phone call leads you to an Indian call centre operator reading a script, and a branch visit leads you to an overworked junior bank cashier who doesn’t have a clue who you are. In this context, omnichannel makes no sense. You can’t provide a “consistent seamless service” across all channels, because digital banking will be 10x better than anything you’ve delivered before, and the ‘in person’ experience will seem bizarrely impersonal and lacking. Even worse, if you hold onto the ideal of omnichannel, your digital approach will never live up to its potential, and all you’ll get is a watered-down commodity service that is held back by previous ideas of what mass market banking can provide. So as I discussed with an 11:FS client last week, we’re not aiming for seamless ‘omnichannel’ banking, we are heading for something new: “DigitalPlus.” Truly digital high-end private banking supported by staff in different channels who can help customers start to use the digital service, get the best out of it, deal with problems, and provide the human touch where it’s needed. Yes, omnichannel must die, but only because we can do better.
***Jason Bates co-founded Starling and Monzo, two new digital banks in the UK. As Chief Customer Officer he led proposition and product development of the award winning banking app. Now with 11:FS he is working with global banking and retail clients on creating and launching next generation services. If you’d like to talk more about building next generation digital banks reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.