The financial services sector is well ahead of most other industries in offering advanced digital channels for their customers. Even so, the Optus Future of Business 2013 Report identifies three key challenges that are affecting customer service:
High customer expectations: consumers expect to significantly increase their use of all channels - including contact centres and bricks-and-mortar branches - over the next three to five years. They also want a consistent level of service. For example, 70 per cent of consumers expect to be able to access previous transactions through any channel.
Security and trust concerns: 24 per cent of consumers still don't trust financial services' websites, while 42 per cent of financial institutions say their biggest challenge with the mobile channel is ensuring security, compliance and privacy.
Integration and technology problems: financial institutions know channel integration is vital in meeting customer expectations, but among their main challenges with digital channels are difficulties integrating with traditional channels, and with technology restrictions such as legacy systems.
Institutions that successfully address these challenges will have a significant advantage over competitors. The question is: how?
To tackle integration and technology difficulties head-on, industry leaders are adopting a fully integrated digital platform as the basis for all channels. They're developing new technologies to improve the security of online and mobile transactions without being intrusive. They're also automating more processes, evolving to even more sophisticated analytics and personalising product offers.
Some banks are going further by transforming their bricks-and-mortar branches to complement digital channels and encourage higher-value services, such as insurance and investment products.
All these measures will bring efficiencies, but the key benefits will be to improve the customer experience and build trust. This will be vital as digital channels lower barriers of entry and lead to a more competitive market in the future.