I spent a day strategising with one of the Middle Eastern banks about the launch of a direct bank service. One of the key questions they asked me is: do we organise the back office in the same way as our contact centre and internet bank service?
The easy answer would be yes, but that would be wrong. The answer is no. No way. Nada. Forget it.
A direct bank is a very different beast to an integrated bank.
An integrated bank will usually view the branch as their main front office and bring a branch focused history to the other channels.
The other channels are almost subservient to the branch.
If not subservient, they certainly will not dominate.
The direct bank however is a very different concept, as it has no branches.
How do you create relationships in a bank without branches?
This means that the user experience of the remote connection is the relationship.
That means you have to create relationships based upon technology with a human touch.
It’s thinking about operating in such a way that the bank appears to be a branch in the pocket or purse, rather than a multichannel bank.
It’s a bank that’s personality exudes every part of the end-to-end process, and that the customer feels a relationship with the technology rather than with the human.
It’s a very different bank.
And so the idea that you can create a remote, direct bank within an integrated structure focused upon branches is wrong.
The bank has to instead think about how to create a remote, direct bank that recognises there will never be a human interface face-to-face, but purely one that is digitised.
I guess this means that the direct bank of the future will be more like Siri than anything else.