Financial services firms realized two realities last year with the demise of the dot-coms. First, consumers are multi-channel they rely on a combination of branches, ATMs, contact centers and the Web to manage their financial lives. Second, it takes more than just transactions to lure consumers to the Web firms must provide great service and a superior experience across all channels to attract and retain customers.
In a recently published TechStrategy Report, "Right-Channeling Financial Transactions," Cathy Graeber, senior analyst with Forrester Research, notes that executives believe a cross-channel experience can be a competitive weapon but admit they know little about their customers' channel behavior, motivations and preferences.
While financial institutions have CRM and channel integration initiatives underway to improve customer retention, Graeber points out that these solutions will do little to impact disjointed customer touchpoints. She notes that today's CRM efforts fail to capture consumers' channel behavior or preferences the key driver to determining the make-up and mix of products to meet customers' expectations.
According to Graeber, right-channeling will help firms improve the quality of service and lower costs of service delivery; however, customer behavior and preferences need to be tracked to capture the valuable data needed to make the right changes.
The report indicates that financial institutions today continue to segment their customers by demographic data and/or profitability of customer for answers. The use of historical data to predict customers' needs is problematic because it creates a misleading picture of what today's customers want. Asking customers in real time what they want and why is CRM's missing link.
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