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The Future of Payments and Commerce: Digital Payment Strategies in the Age of Omnichannel Banking

Banks, for the most part, have realized the importance of mobile as a channel. Across the globe, empowered executives are being appointed to head up digital channel programs. Their primary mission: define and implement the mobile banking channel and seamlessly integrate it with the other major digital channels—online banking.

For the most part, they have focused their strategies on ”forklifting” online banking features to mobile without worrying much about mobile payments. However, the new reality of channel migration is a bit more complicated: the merger of virtual and digital channels in this new age of ”omnichannel banking” is bringing digital channels into bank branches, customer homes, and places of business, and transforming the world of payments and commerce.

So, how is the omnichannel reality affecting the world of payments, and why should banks care (aside from the fact that payments-related revenues can account for up to 25 percent of total retail banking revenues)?

Most of us are familiar with mobile apps that allow us, when in a retail store, to scan a product bar code, access online reviews, and potentially buy the product from Amazon.com (or a nearby retailer) at a discounted price. This capability is the new reality (and challenge) of omnichannel in the retail world. Such changes, however, will not end here: imagine receiving offers, digital coupons, credit card loyalty points, and more on your cell phone so that you can seamlessly apply them to your purchases when paying with your mobile device upon checkout (at the physical store or online).

The promise of connecting mobile payments and commerce through new capabilities embedded in the mobile wallet is real, and several mobile-wallet providers have emerged, including a number of non-financial-services players (telcos, tech companies, retailers, and others). Read More »

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The Importance of the Omnichannel in Financial Services

Technology has and will continue to be a key enabler across every product delivery channel within the financial services sector. You simply need to explore some of the newer bank branches, available applications within app stores or investigate online innovations inherent in many institutions’ web presence to see how engrained technology has become in the customer experience. While firms are making this transition in differentiated form factors and across different channels, the trend itself is clear and pervasive; underpinned by the “anywhere, anytime” mantra and the continued consumerization of technology.

These channel developments cut across all products, but all have one common element – enabling improved and increased collaboration between institutions, their clients, businesses and/or consumers to drive accretive revenue. While these developments have and will continue to deliver impressive initial returns, they are largely siloed by either a business unit and/or delivery channel. The true potential value can only be unlocked by enabling a seamless and contextual integration of the physical, direct and mobile channels – the evolution from multi-channel to omnichannel.

The omnichannel model enables the customer to choose how and by what method they want to conduct their business, be that in person, via a mobile device, from the home, online or with telephony. Cisco’s IBSG team has published a white paper that looks into the transformation of institutions from multi-channel to omnichannel. While the method of communication is important, the true differentiator in transformational channel evolution is the ability to integrate interaction. Institutions must be aware of the context and outcomes of customer interactions as customers move from channel to channel, product to product, or business line to business line.

From an institutional point of view, the value in the omnichannel impacts multiple factors. Read More »

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Recap of Cisco at Next Generation Insurance Summit and Best Practices in Retail Financial Services Symposium

Cisco attended the Next Generation Insurance Summit (March 11-13) in Newport Beach, CA and the Best Practices in Retail Financial Services Symposium (March 13-15) in Carlsbad, CA. Some of the top minds in the financial services industry were in attendance and it was great to see these leaders deliver ideas and solutions for how to further the customer experience for both industries as well as the agent experience in insurance. Both conferences focused on reducing the amount of time it takes to adopt new technology and innovative ideas for competitive advantage, a current problem many financial institutions are going through.

At the Next Generation Insurance Summit, Cisco’s Michael Cantwell, Financial Services Solutions Architect, delivered a keynote on building a customer centric distribution network and how the expectations of today’s insurance customer has of their insurance institution/agent. He stated that from the end customer’s point of view everything is getting more integrated and simplified, but that insurers have yet to create that agent or customer omnichannel capability that allows for communication channel choice as well as fluid switching during an interaction to answer questions or assist in self-directed channels. Michael also touched on how enabling insurers with new tools and technologies, including sales force automation and mobile devices, will be key to fulfilling overarching business goals of improving sales interactions through traditional channels and, therefore, driving revenue.

Attendees showed immediate interest when Michael spoke about the best methods for line of business executives to work with their IT executives and vice versa. The success of customer retention rates among insurers who have incorporated Cisco solutions to improve customer-centricity was also of special interest to attendees. Read More »

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Viewpoints: Industry Experts Share Their Perspectives on the Financial Services Industry

Cisco’s Financial Services Industry Marketing team is pleased to welcome a monthly contribution from industry professionals sharing their insights and observations on key trends in the Financial Services industry. The opinions expressed in these posts are those of our welcomed guests and may not reflect the opinions of Cisco.

Jerry Silva, Principal  at PG Silva Consulting, is a 25 year industry veteran in retail banking business and technology, and advises institutions on technology strategy as well as contributing thought leadership to a number of industry conferences and publications like the Financial Times, the Economist, and the Wall Street Journal.

Time for Banks to Join Us in Our Daily Lives

I’ve been in the market for a new pair of earbuds. Due to the big storm that hit Boston a few weeks ago, my earbuds were lost during the hectic scurry to fly home before the blizzard hit. Once I was safe at home, I visited a few “big box” retailer online sites to check out the latest technology. Using the stores’ customer review sections, I found a suitable pair that seemed to fit my needs, then I checked prices and searched for physical locations near me that had them in stock. My local store didn’t have them, but another location five miles away did have a few. After a quick sales chat with a store representative, I bought them through the web site, drove to the store, and picked them up at the customer service counter saving me the wait at the cashier.

Most of you will recognize this series of micro-experiences as a typical, and more importantly, single event in our e-commerce lives. The experience was seamless to me; A single journey – using transparent channels – to acquire a new set of earbuds. I was able to get the “Three C’s” I needed to complete the transaction; Credibility from other consumers on the quality and reliability of several models, Convenience of homework and shopping from anywhere (using my smartphone at one point), and Choice having the earbuds shipped to me if I wanted, or in my case, picked up at a physical location.

This post is about Banking, so you know where I’m headed with this… Read More »

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The Evolution of Immersive Video in the Retail Bank Branch

January 29, 2013 at 6:00 am PST

Increasingly over the past several months, I have been working with more and more retail banking clients. A common theme has emerged during these discussions that centers on video and collaboration in the branch. The top of mind question is, “how are banks using video in the branch to grow top line revenue in a very tightly regulated environment and with ever increasing downward pressure on fee revenues?”

As retail banks have slowly emerged from the global financial crisis of 2008, they are increasingly looking for ways to differentiate themselves with their products and services.  Studies show that the branch is still relevant in the eyes of the retail bank consumer, but the role the branch will play in the future is beginning to change.

Cisco’s IBSG team published a white paper on this topic, which covers the transformation that banks are currently going through. Retail banks are wrestling with moving from a multichannel environment to an omnichannel environment. The difference is, instead of offering a different experience and set of products and services across various delivery channels, they offer a more integrated and consistent experience across delivery channels. These traditional delivery channels include: branch, Internet and contact center to name a few. Currently, the mobile channel is growing in popularity and use, especially with new applications like remote deposit capture right from a mobile phone or tablet. Read More »

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