Banks have an excellent ally in the fight to reconcile digital and physical channels: the mobile phone. The use of this device has exploded over the past few years, and as McKinsey Financial Services analysts Sergey Khon, David Tan, Zubin Taraporevala and Ahmed Nizam, explain in their report Best of both worlds: Balancing digital and physical channels, “in 2021, more than half of all digital adopters globally were mobile-only users, and the seventy percent of customer service interactions now occur in mobile, nearly double the level seen as recently as 2017. By contrast, online usage is falling across all regions”.
These figures highlight an unstoppable trend of mobile device use in banking interactions, but as the report points out, there is still a clear imbalance in the behaviour of customers who express large differences between their willingness to use, preference for, and actual use of digital channels. “For example, although willingness to open a new current account digitally hovers around 75 percent, only 30 to 35 percent of customers express an actual preference to do so digitally, and only 15 percent of such accounts are opened digitally”, according to a report published by McKinsey Financial Services.
In this respect, the report foresees that this gap may remain for some time to come: “even if the digital growth rates achieved in 2021 continue, transitioning all “willing” consumers to digital channels would take four to five years”.
Why does this gap in the use of digital channels exist?
The authors of the report point to the lack of a multi-channel strategy on behalf of banks that consistently addresses a relationship model with their customers based on effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction of clients’ needs: “with consumer willingness, preference, and actual behavior out of balance, banks should rethink the prevailing “digitize” mindset, which approaches digital by recreating offline journeys online.”
As stated in the report, “banks have yet to fully embrace this demand: less than 30 percent of banks globally have introduced new digital acquisition journeys for their public website or mobile apps”. This reality means that many customers do not feel comfortable yet operating entirely in digital channels and still require personal attention to manage their finances. “Attitudinally, 28 percent of customers continue to prefer to meet servicing needs at branches—a share that jumps to nearly 50 percent for sensitive and/or complex situations such as fraud and advice on financial difficulties”, according to data compiled by the consulting firm.
Promoting digital channels
To bridge this gap and further boost digital channels, banks should focus their efforts on implementing solutions that are tailored to the interests of customers, based on enablers such as data, analytics, and technology, as well as fostering deeper levels of trust in digital environments. In this sense, real-time banking alert services, such as those developed by Latinia, have proven to be extremely useful and versatile tools for financial institutions, helping improve bank-customer communication channels and reinforce interaction security. “Our solutions help banks accompany customers in their daily lives consistently, adapting to their preferences and with the aim of providing a useful service in situations that may arise such as operational problems with their cards, fraud, customisable advice, etc.” explains Juliana Ortiz, Customer Success Manager at Latinia.
Ultimately, banks will be able to reverse this situation, and promote transversality in the use of digital channels to an extent that they manage to offer experiences that generate trust and satisfaction among customers. “Success depends on creating truly unique-to-digital experiences in harmony with improving and enhancing physical channels with digital elements,” concludes McKinsey.