Leader Highlight: German Pugliese-Bassi

How do you define multichannel and how to define omnichannel? Where’s the difference? 

The difference lies on channels approach and customer experience. Multichannel is about opening up channel choices and encouraging customers to use the one most appropriate for their needs – and those of the bank. From the technological side, as new touch point were being added, the banks had to deal with more complicated IT systems, using their legacy platforms.

Now, let’s talk about the omnichannel. It is not correct to say that omnichannel replaces multichannel – in fact, it enhances it. Omnichannel connects all these channels to create one, seamless customer experience, whether users are on their mobile phone, using their tablets or at the branch. All data is centrally managed and every interaction is available real time. For instance, a customer can begin an interaction using one channel (in the notebook while at work) and end it in another (mobile while on the way home from work).

Omnichannel is all about experience: it takes the bank to the people’s lives. For example, when buying a new product on Amazon, a customer can get the financing for that product right inside the same buying process.


How banks in Latin America deliver an omnichannel customer experience?

Technisys has conducted a study on Omnichannel Banking in Latin America, in partnership with Stanford University, and the conclusions are similar to the rest of the world. Nowadays, just a few banks offers a real omnichannel experience. In our study, which has interviewed the most important banks in Latin America, only 17% of them say they have the ability to offer its customers complete flexibility regarding the choice of the desired channel to perform any type of transaction. Another remarkable data is that 83% of banks still rely on agencies to complete complex banking transactions such as loans, although increasingly trusting digital channels to perform pre-sales processes

In conclusion, only 28 % of banks currently meet the needs of its digital customers, while 61 % say that at this time are investing in an active manner to achieve an adequate level of preparation. We’ve observed that 44% of banks consider that to achieve complete flexibility on all channels implies a five-year plan or more; only 33% of the banks confirmed that customers are free to choose among different channels today.


What’s the best suggestion you have for your clients when starting out their omnichannel transformation projects?

When designing an omnichannel strategy, banks should focus on three main drivers: to increase sales, transform customer experience and create efficiency. Having clear goals on these three areas of improvement will help banks achieve better and faster results in any omnichannel project.
The benefits in these areas are clear. Considering sales benefits, it is possible to: turn each client interaction into a sales opportunity; provide unified information on client behavior, to boost customized marketing strategies; create Omnichannel marketing content, which enables the distribution of the offering across all devices using a common strategy; and increased cross-selling and share of wallet.

Besides, by using a UX based on the latest trends, it is possible to gain customer loyalty avoiding silent account cancellations and increase the potential possibilities of cross-selling and up-selling; integrate a coherent UX at an operational level and across all devices, and increase retention and referral.

Finally, considering the efficiencies, we can stand out: increasing operation migration to digital channels by means of an integral and omnichannel offering; re-usage of components and a centered business logic generating efficient operations and facilitating maintenance and governance and management tools that drastically minimize the platform’s customization and evolution processes


How mistakes can be easily avoided in omni-channel transformation projects?                         

Mistakes can be avoided by always thinking and putting the customer in first place, but that’s not a light statement. Banks need to think how their clients live, and in their lives, how they interact with the bank. This is a much better approach than just thinking from the prospective of bank’s products and bank’s channels. The customer journey is key because banking is no longer a place to go, but something you do.


Is it true that the greatest challenge is a cultural one?

In fact, the challenge is not only cultural, but also organizational. Even if many of the banks are talking about an omnichannel experience for their clients, they are still organized in silos. Today still coexists the Branches Manager, the Electronic Banking Manager, and in some cases the Digital Banking Manager – and they are not working on the same revenue strategy, they have their own revenue model.

In order to create a real digital omnichannel bank, what is needed is to reshape the organization and the revenue models. Having said that, this can take longer since the banks are very successful with their business models and may not want to take the risk of such a deep transformation.