Delivering on the Omnichannel Promise

September 8, 2016

 

Omnichannel is more than just another popular marketplace buzzword, and unfortunately, even the biggest names are doing it all wrong.

 

When Heather and I started our company, we chose the name OmniChannel Communications because it reflects what we believe in as marketing professionals. Just as omnichannel in the financial services space is about delivering a consistent user experience across all delivery channels, our goal is to deliver a consistent message for each of our customers across all communication channels.

 

So what does omnichannel mean to your FI? Is it just a branding play – making sure your logo appears in the same location on every device? Is it about making the fonts the same on your mobile app and ATM screens? If you think omnichannel is just about look and feel, you’re missing the whole point.

 

I said it earlier. Omnichannel is about creating a consistent user experience. And the most important component of user experience is functionality. All the pretty colors and matching fonts won’t mean a thing to consumers if they can’t accomplish what they want on whatever device they choose to use. Your goal in pursuing an omnichannel strategy needs to be delivering the same functionality across all channels.

 

It’s common chatter these days to call on FIs to aim for the bar set by the big non-financial players in online and mobile. Phooey! We need to raise the bar even higher. This point was driven home for me the other day when I was working on a customer’s Facebook page.

 

I was pleased that I was able to create custom tabs for this page, because the standard template was simply inadequate for our needs. When I finished, everything looked great on my computer screen. Ditto on my iPad screen. But lo and behold, my custom tab didn’t even appear in my iPhone’s Facebook mobile app.

 

I’m accustomed to Facebook doing lame things, so that kinda made sense. But surely there’d be no reason to suppress custom tabs in my phone’s browser, right? Wrong. Even when I messaged myself the URL for my custom tab and attempted to open it in my phone’s browser, I got a “page not found” error. Facebook gets a big, fat F in omnichannel.

 

How about the great and powerful Amazon? It still boggles my mind that Amazon doesn’t verify your payment method as you place your order. If your purchase would, for example, put you over the limit on your Amazon credit card (been there, done that), you won’t find out until you’re notified the next day via email. Can you fix this little problem from the Amazon app on your phone? Nope. The app will tell you there’s a problem, and then tell you to go to your computer to fix it. Amazon scores another epic omnichannel fail.

 

The ultimate omnichannel experience is one in which the user can temporarily suspend a transaction in one channel and resume it in another. But we need to take baby steps first. For now, let’s focus on functionality. Let your FI’s website serve as the baseline. Then work toward extending all that functionality out to every channel you use.

 

You may not get there for a while, but if you start now, you’ll get there ahead of the pack. And that’s not a bad place to be.

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