Finance in Flux: The Evolution of Communication Channels

by Edward O'Brien 0

From ATMs to smartphones, the emergence of digital communication channels has changed the relationship between financial institutions and their customers

From the emergence of ATMs in the 1980s to the rise of online banking and mobile apps decades later, banking and retail finance have evolved by leaps and bounds. Customers today are more likely to log in to accounts from a web browser or conduct a transaction on their smartphones than they are to meet with a branch teller. The days of passbooks and deposit slips are long gone, and the relationships that customers have with their financial providers have changed dramatically.

The expectations of customers have shifted — especially those of millennials — based on how their interactions have changed with other service providers and retailers such as Amazon. Customers now interact over a diverse range of communication channels and media: ATM, telephone, web browser, mobile app, text message, web chat, video call — even Facebook and Twitter. Orchestrating these channels into a coherent whole poses both opportunity and risk for financial firms that are adjusting to a world where customer loyalty is no longer tethered to the nearest branch office.

The expansion of banking channels and the need for greater cross-channel communication is top-of-mind with financial institutions and their customers and members. Reaching out to these banking customers in ways that they prefer, and at times that they prefer, is key to customer satisfaction and engagement. Also, these attributes are at the core of FIs’ efforts to build a truly omnichannel banking environment, which continues to evolve over time.

Overview by Ed O’Brien, Director, Banking Channels Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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