The Grand Canyon is an extraordinary place, but it is one of those wonders you have to witness in person. You can see pictures and videos of it or selfies of your friends standing on the rim, but you don’t get a full appreciation for its incredible beauty until you see it for yourself.
For those of us who have been in the banking industry over the last several years, the omnichannel customer experience is like that. Our peers talk about it, and we see endless presentations on the beauty of it. Unfortunately, I had yet to experience it … until yesterday.
As part of my role at Aite Group, I was doing research for an upcoming report on credit card loyalty and rewards programs. I’d seen a few articles on the Altitude Reserve Card and signed in to my U.S. Bank online banking application. I’ve been a customer of U.S. Bank for years and knew I would find product marketing material on the site. I paged through some product information and eventually logged out. About three hours later my phone rang, and the caller ID displayed “U.S. Bank” calling from my local area code. My immediate thought was, “this can’t be good,” as I assumed the bank was calling about some type of fraud or other issue. On the other end of the line was the professional, delightful voice of a bank representative calling to inquire about my previous online search. She advised me that she was a personal banker calling from the branch down the street and asked if she could assist me. I told her what products were of interest to me, and she walked me through the different rewards cards available. She ended the call by thanking me for being a customer, giving me the branch hours, and providing contact information.
We hear the words “creepy” or “big brother” when we think of outside entities watching what we do online, but this interaction was far from that, and here’s why:
- The bank representative called from a local branch and not some random call center (which caller ID displayed).
- She was very polite and courteous, and explained who she was, where she was located, and why she was calling. In essence, she addressed any initial fears from the beginning of the call.
- She didn’t try to sell anything and positioned the purpose of the call from a support standpoint only.
- She had access to all my accounts within U.S. Bank, which is key, as so many larger financial institutions have siloed platforms.
- And, most important, she thanked me for being a customer.
It might be a little “old fashioned,” but having a human interaction, even over the phone, is a welcome change from the onslaught of “thank you, please take a survey on our customer service” emails that fill the inbox.
There are three key factors at work here:
- Integration of data from multiple platforms, including digital/online activity
- Centralization of data into a customer service application with proactive alerts
- Leveraging of local branch resources/people to establish and/or reinforce relationships, which initially may only exist in the digital space
Other financial institutions are well on their way to providing these capabilities, but U.S. Bank has integrated the most important factor: the human interaction. It’s a great thing to experience in person. We all may get to see the Grand Canyon after all.