SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

Aberdeen Group

April 13, 2011 10:00 ET

Unified Customer Expectations Fueling Cross-Channel Banking Growth

Coordinating Back-End Technology Enables Single-Brand Identity, Unified Customer Standards

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - Apr 13, 2011) - According to Key Imperatives for Cutting-Edge Cross-Channel Banking, a research report released today by the Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), 67% of retailers surveyed indicated the top motivator for increased investment in cross-channel banking initiatives is the customer expectation for a uniform service experience, regardless of the channel used. This report reveals how banks are coordinating sales, marketing, operations, back-end processes, and technology across channels to create a single-brand identity and unified customer service standards.

The data also indicates that 56% of banks have possessed a multi-channel sales and service strategy consisting of physical branches, automated teller machines, online banking, call centers, and mobile banking capabilities, for at least five years. However, three out of five banks are only somewhat cross-channeled or integrated in their efforts to enable a unified customer/bank brand interaction or a 360-degree view of the brand.

"Sixty-seven percent of banks indicate that customers expect the same banking experiences across all channels of sales, service, and support," according to Sahir Anand, vice president and principal analyst of the Aberdeen Group's Retail and Banking research practice. "The weight of channel-agnostic customer expectations is the leading pressure point driving cross-channel improvements."

In addition, 51% of banks indicate the advancement of mobile technology and pervasiveness of smarter and commerce-ready mobile devices among customers is the second highest business pressure driving cross-channel banking. In the last two years, the gradual customer transition from feature phones to smart phone devices, and increased clarity around mobile commerce standards, has impacted the willingness of banks to explore mobile platforms as a channel of sales, service, and support. The adoption of mobile banking technologies by consumers is generating new customers and new account acquisitions for banks.

When establishing uniform capabilities associated with cross-channel customer relationship lifecycle processes, fulfillment, and other customer operations, banks have low adoption rates. One of the reasons for overall diminished providing end-to-end customer management-related cross-channel capabilities is due to the fact that 45% of banks surveyed have possessed cross-channel operations for less than five years. So, overtime, the use and adoption of common customer processes across channels are likely to improve further.

Currently, only a fifth of banks surveyed are able to apply a common set of objectives or standards for fundamental customer service processes across channels, creating confusion about brand offerings. Moreover, rather than creating a channel-agnostic experience, customers tend to form channel preferences. Additionally, only 29% of banks let customers open, close, and expand customer relationships, and 31% allow customer process or request fulfillment through a channel of choice. This suggests that creating a single identity for a brand across multiple channels from a sales, service, and fulfillment standpoint is should be a priority for banks.

To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, made available in part by the following underwriters: Fiserv and mFoundry, visit:
http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?spid=30410182&cid=6857&camp=2.

Visit Aberdeen.com for additional access to complimentary Retail and Banking Research.

AboutAberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen provides fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having queried more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen.com or call (617) 854-5200, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748.

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