Successful multi-channel strategies - the intelligent way to build customer loyalty

10 November 2011

By Michael Diefenthaeler,
Director, Product Management,
Interactive Data Managed Solutions

Users of financial websites are becoming increasingly mobile and active in social networks. To attract this new generation of customers, banks need to be present in the same channels as they are. From smartphones to social network applications - it is essential to ensure applications are integrated with each other and available simultaneously across all channels.

New data from the UK's Office of National Statistics demonstrates the critical importance to banks of mobile and social channels to the consumer, with 91 per cent of young adults connected to social networking sites, and nearly half of all web users accessing the Internet via their mobile phone. (1)

Mobile solutions, which provide investors and wealth managers with real added value when they are on the move, can play a vital role in a bank’s multi-channel strategy. Users want to be kept informed of financial market developments, as and when they happen, so as to be able to react quickly to them.

Compatible solutions for mobiles, tablet PCs and social media

An important channel that has emerged over the last year is the tablet PC - a new medium with tremendous potential in customer service and sales support. Thanks to high-resolution displays, the advisor and client can look at content together much more comfortably than when switching between different applications and sources on a laptop. Customer presentations are possible with relatively little preparation time, as the tablet is ready at the touch of a button and can be directly attached to a projector without much configuration needed. As the popularity of tablets has grown in a similar manner to the smartphone, it has become an ideal instrument for the presentation of holistic solutions due to its innovative visualisation and networking functions.

Along with appropriate solutions for smartphone and tablet use, companies require widgets for their multi-channel strategy. These small programmes can integrate with social networks like Facebook and Twitter, or personal homepages such as iGoogle, and offer direct added value through information or entertainment, something that does not happen with advertising banners.

Market data platform

A consolidated technological basis is a key factor

A recent report by market research company Celent (2) states that many banks already have a good idea of what they would like to do in the digital area. They also think it’s important to be able to serve the customer effectively and efficiently across all channels. However they face several technological and strategic issues, like their reliance on legacy systems. In order to offer attractive online services, most banks constantly have to apply a patchwork of bandages to their old core systems and make changes on the back end, which is time-consuming and expensive.

A consolidated market platform can provide an intelligent technological basis for implementing successful multichannel strategies. Smart applications for mobile devices, operating systems and online channels require rich internet technologies like Javascript, Flash und AJAX.
Services such as these can efficiently support businesses operating cost effective channels, based on lean structure and embedded internal sales and transaction processes. This can help a company with uniform brand identity, and to be well placed in new media.

1. Nearly half of Internet users have accessed the Internet via a mobile phone
2. Celent Report: Online Banking Top Trends June 2011

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