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Consumers have spoken: Banks need to offer multiple channels, especially mobile

Mobile has disrupted many industries, providing new ways of interaction and a seamless transition between online and offline, but perhaps no area needs mobile to connect its various parts as much as banking.

A new report from Invoca found that customers use mobile for banking more than any other channel. The problem remains however that for more sensitive issues, consumers still prefer offline settings, something that mobile banking applicationss will have to overcome if they want to remain the premiere channel for financial interactions.

“Financial marketers are grappling with a host of challenges that impact the customer experience like internal silos, lack of unified data, poor attribution, and incomplete martech stacks,” said Kyle Christensen, senior vice president of marketing at Invoca. “This study brings to light what’s at stake for financial institutions that fail to keep up with the demands of today’s mobile consumer.

“While it can seem like a massive undertaking, those that begin to unify the customer experience across channels will have a considerable advantage in 2017 and beyond.”

Mobile banking
As mobile continues to grow in popularity as the dominant digital channel, it is becoming increasingly clear that consumers prefer mobile as their go-to channel for interacting with banks. Banking apps are some of the most popular on mainstream app stores.

Banking apps are clearly doing something right and the level of convenience and ease is resonating with customers. But the problem still remains that for some interactions, the level of trust required has not been built up by mobile banking apps.

Eighty percent of customers check their balance or other simple bank interactions through their phones and are satisfied doing so.

More complicated and sensitive tasks, those involving important information such as social security numbers for instance, are where customers prefer to go offline and come into a physical bank to resolve.

Banks still need to earn the trust of consumers by offering a more compelling security aspect to their apps and making those interactions simple and easy, the way checking a balance is. That way, consumers will be more likely to resolve those problems over mobile as well.

Trust issues
In addition to wanting more security, the biggest thing banks need to know about their consumers’ habits is that they now expect every aspect of the banking process to be connected.

Seventy-five percent of people said they expect a seamless experience when switching between channels – whether that is a mobile app, email, on the phone or any other channel.

Banks also need to be aware of consumers lack of trust regarding chatbots and other automated responses. Almost half of people would be uncomfortable talking about fraudulent charges and other sensitive matters with a chatbot, preferring to talk to a real person.

Another 45 percent of people said that they want they want their offline conversations with a bank to be reintegrated with digital touch points and had a negative view of banks whose digital ads conflicted with what they were told on the phone.

It is no longer sufficient for banks to keep all of their channels separate. Consumers today want those different channels integrated.

“Analyzing loan options online is always a great way to comparison shop, but sometimes consumers just want to be able to speak to a loan officer now,” said John Challis, senior director of performance marketing at LendingTree. “When a consumer is ready to pick up the phone, they are typically further down the funnel and close to transacting with someone on our vast network of lenders.

“By working with Invoca, we’ve been able to easily drive more of these high-value calls to our lender network, and tie the ROI back to our marketing investment.”