Phoenix Synergistics: Transforming Channels for the New Digital Reality

April 2021 | Changes in Consumer Channel Usage | Digital Personal Contact | Role of AI and Intuitive Banking

To thrive in the future, financial institutions (FIs) must understand their customers’ needs, embrace the latest technology, and keep up with changing consumer behaviors. Currently, consumers can conduct financial activities through a variety of traditional and innovative channels—from branches, ATMs, and telephone options to a new generation of online and mobile applications. Online/mobile video chat and text-based chat with customer service representatives, personal bankers, product specialists, and even digital personal assistants are growing in importance. Smart speakers, wearables, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) are creating a new era of banking. Innovative organizations are blending the physical and digital to create new methods of “phygital” customer engagement.

AI and the vast amount of data available to FIs can be utilized to accomplish a new level of customer relationship enrichment and tailor products to individuals in real time. Envision a customer receiving a mobile message indicating they are prequalified for an automobile loan as they enter a dealership or being alerted to the environmental impact of a purchase. Are consumers ready for this level of personalization? Do consumers now expect their financial institution to operate like Amazon, Google, or Facebook?

Consumers often use a mix of channels for their financial activities—from transactions and customer service to comparing and applying for financial accounts and services. It is essential that information and the customer experience are consistent across all channels.

Customers may also use multiple channels to accomplish a single task, like starting an account application online and then completing it at a branch. Why do consumers use different channels for various activities? Are friction factors impacting their channel choices?

Consumers tend to adopt new channels without abandoning their current methods of banking. But as the influence of younger generations expands, will banking progressively move toward a more digital future?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers’ digital-banking channel usage increased, while in-branch activity was restricted to reduce coronavirus transmission. Are these changes in banking-channel activity permanent?

It is essential for FIs to examine consumer behavior, needs, and expectations during this digital transformation and to develop integrated-channel strategies.


Research Objective

This study evaluates the consumer perspective on both contemporary and emerging digital-banking channels, as well as current usage of traditional banking channels.

National Survey

A total of 1,500 online interviews will be conducted with consumers age 18 or older.

Project Report

The final report, available in late April 2021, will present results of a Phoenix Synergistics in-depth analysis of national survey results. It will feature a Strategic Insights commentary examining consumers’ attitudes about, usage of, and appetite for digital and traditional banking channels.

Major Competitor Profile

A profile of overall financial activity for the top financial institutions used will be included as part of the project report.

Project Report Outline

  • Strategic Insights with key findings and implications
  • Competitive Intelligence
  • Survey Analysis
  • Survey Methodology

Questionnaire Review

Clients will have the opportunity to review the questionnaire and provide comments. The cut-off date for client input is January 29, 2021.

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