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Making the Branch Core to Omnichannel, and a Hub for Financial Expertise

I recently returned from a Financial Services Summit event in China, where I discussed trends in an omnichannel delivery strategy with an audience from 30 banks. A central part of my discussion was the notion that things are not changing, they’ve already changed. Consumers across the globe have a heavy appetite for digital services.

Digital consumers across all age groups are adopting new digital behaviors at a faster pace. For example, it took one European bank 10 years to have 20 million hits per month on their website, but when they introduced their new mobile banking app, it only took 1.5 years to reach 20 million hits per month.

In a recent Internet of Everything (IoE) in Financial Services consumer study conducted by Cisco across 12 countries, we saw that in China, there is a high interest for alternative banking solutions. However, this same group of respondents (72 percent) put the branch as their first preference for opening up an account. We saw similarly high scores across Brazil, India, Russia and Mexico. The U.S. consumers came in at 60 percent.

So, what does this tell us? For one, it tells us that we need to not only evolve our mobile strategy but also see the branch as a valuable asset that is complementary to mobile and still core to any omnichannel banking delivery model.

Yes, the branch still matters. From opening up an account, to applying for a car loan or even a mortgage, there is an educational and personal interaction component to that journey. Consumers often feel that they are not fully equipped to make decisions about financial products and services alone and often seek advice and guidance from a trusted banking specialist. Read More »

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Enabling “The Easy” Button for Insurance

Nearly a year ago, I wrote a blog titled, “Mayday for Insurance and Financial Services,” where I detailed how next-generation customer experience capabilities, such as virtual interactions between business experts and customers, are transforming business processes – such as the “Mayday” button technology offered on Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX. The purpose of that blog was to explain virtual interaction capabilities and discuss how they are likely to become integrated into the insurance industry in the near future. So what’s changed? Well, I’ve gone from blogging about the changes to come, to speaking at insurance industry conferences about how virtual transactions are now transforming how the industry does business and how Cisco is helping fuel these virtual interactions.

I attended the Property Insurance Report National Conference, and had many great discussions. The focus of the conference was on ways the property insurance world is changing, through consideration of new ideas and the utilization of new tools being built. It’s widely considered that with the arrival of better information and tools, the most sophisticated insurers will be able to separate themselves from those who don’t take these changes as seriously or employ them as skillfully. Features such as online video sales and support are working in the real world for other industries, so how they can be applied to insurance?

At the conference, I gave a keynote presentation titled, “Omni-Channel for Insurance – Virtual Enhanced Distribution & Service Channels”. The presentation specifically focused on how virtual interactions are transforming the insurance industry and improving customer experiences.

Read More »

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How U.S. Banks Can Transform Customer Interactions to Increase Profitability

You order a movie online and additional suggestions pop up, based on a deep knowledge of your likes and dislikes. You plan a vacation and similar suggestions appear, reflecting your financial state, the climate in which you live (and may hope to escape for a time), and past travel history. These convenient, personalized interactions are common today — and even expected.

Yet according to a Cisco survey of 7,200 retail banking consumers in 12 countries, customer expectations for financial services are not being met. Many of the most valued customers — and not just tech-savvy Gen Y ones — feel disconnected from their financial services institutions. They state that their banks do not know them personally, and are providing advice only on the bank’s terms — in the branch, during banking hours, when staff is available,  — if at all. Read More »

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Join Cisco in Chicago at BAI Retail Delivery 2014!

It’s that time of year again! On November 12-14, the Cisco Financial Services team will be attending BAI Retail Delivery 2014. This year, we’ll be showcasing exciting solutions for the Digital Bank — innovations that provide seamless, cross-channel engagement and meet escalating consumer demands while reducing operating costs, and increasing sales within your institution.

Cisco financial services solutions help customers connect with their customers and deliver a personalized banking experience and gain a sustainable competitive advantage in the Internet of Everything age. In partnership with Verizon, NCR and Intel, Cisco will showcase our solutions portfolio that enables new delivery models and applications whether at home, in the branch, or on the road, to support Omnichannel customer experiences and grow your business.

Join Cisco at booth #4029 and learn how to:

Mark your schedules to attend our speaking sessions:

  • The Innovation Showcase competition will give attendees a closer look at our enhanced Cisco Remote Expert Mobile solution with a new aspect that delivers an engaging, personalized onboarding experience. Led by Karl Hartmann, banking practice architect for Americas Business Transformation, we’ll demonstrate how to connect seamlessly with your customers on their preferred channels, to start strong and build more profitable relationships.
  • During the “Creating a More Efficient Omnichannel Delivery Blueprint” panel session, Jim Henschel, banking practice manager for Americas Business Transformation, will share insights into why finding opportunities to drive efficiencies in distribution networks has never been more critical. The panel will also provide insights on how to manage margins and expenses while planning for innovative technologies that can maximize omnichannel performance. Make sure to read Jim’s recent “Branch of the Future – Network Innovations” article before the show.
  • Al Slamecka, banking practice advisor for Americas Business Transformation, will be taking part in the “Driving Efficiency in Your Distribution Network” panel session, where he will lead a discussion regarding strategies for making balanced choices amongst today’s evolving communications and delivery channels.

This year’s event takes place in Chicago, IL at the McCormick Place West Building. For more information about registering for BAI Retail Delivery 2014, visit the registration page here. We hope to see you there!

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Interaction Technology: Neutralizing the Barriers of Time, Location, and Staffing Levels

In my last blog, I continued the discussion about the 24-hour bank and how banks must transition from the physical business model to the digital business model. As part of my series on the 24-hour bank, this post builds on the question of how banks could begin to develop the capabilities, enabled by technology, to address the operational and logistical challenges inherent in operating in a customer-driven 24-hour world.

First are the factors that shape our existing banking distribution model: the traditional route to market and how clients connect and interact with their bank. Starting with branches, the traditional distribution model has evolved with the development of technologies such as the telephone, ATM’s, and the Internet. While these technologies provided increased options for clients to interact and transact, they were still affected by constraints of the existing operating model– the availability of bank staff with the requisite skills.

How so? Contact centers, telephone, and online banking required a shift in staffing models to enable customers to interact and transact outside of the normal work day. ATM’s began to allow customer self-service for certain basic transactions at any time of day. Collectively, these technologies extended operating hours for clients, but services were limited due the fact that the expertise required for more complex services were still unavailable outside the traditional workday. Read More »

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