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Channels

Channels are the vehicles through which customers can interact with a bank. These channels may be used for either sales or service interactions.

Branches

Networks of physical buildings in towns where the general public can walk in to obtain sales and service. Often a branch can be thought of as having three sub-channels;

  • Teller positions for payment
  • Query desks
  • A place to meet qualified “Tied Sales Force”.

This is still a crucial point of service delivery for banks.

Electronic

This includes a number of different areas that all have the common theme of the customer dealing directly with bank software rather than bank people. Sub-channels include:

  • ATMs – Traditional cash machines and other specialised information terminals in public places such as bank foyers, railway stations, etc.
  • Internet – Provision of product services to personal end users over the internet, including the ability to make instructions to the Financial Services Group. Examples include Internet Banking Services, Internet Insurance quotations and claim services and Portfolio Management information.
  • Corporate Electronic Banking – Similar to Internet Banking in providing information and the ability to make instructions via computers in the customer’s site. Different in normally being more demanding in terms of security, controls, volumes of data and the need to support multiple users at a single customer site in different roles (e.g. authoriser versus in-putter).
  • E-Mail – A vehicle for customers to send information to/from the Financial Services Group. It can be more or less secure.
  • ITV – Similar to Internet Banking but for Interactive TV and its associated protocols and user experience.
  • Mobile – Similar to Internet Banking but taking account of the limitations and protocols of the mobile phone.

Taken together this is a very important and growing element of service delivery for banks because it can lead to Straight Through Processing (STP) – i.e. without staff manual intervention – this is seriously low cost for the bank.

Phone

The way the Financial Services Group handles phone calls, both incoming and outgoing. Can include Call Centres, Call Routing, Telesales and Interactive Voice Response as well as computerised response to “push buttons” on the handset. This is another fundamental area of service delivery for banks.

Mail

Customers still send thousands of letters a week to large financial services organisations and conversely financial groups send millions of letters a week out (statements, letters, etc). The inbound mail is usually a service trigger. The outbound mail (e.g. a credit card statement) is often the principle window for the customer onto the bank’s activities with errors and corrections usually very visible.

Tied Sales Force

A sales force that works only for the Financial Services Group (or more usually a part of it). They can be employed by the Group or be independent and / or commission only. Normally they are not relevant to service delivery but can be an escalation point for customers with complaints. In the banking area the Relationship Managers that deal with business and high net worth individuals often get involved in service delivery by being the “first point of contact”.

Brokers and Agents

These salesmen are independent of the bank and work on behalf of multiple Financial Services groups. Although important in service provision in some areas such as insurance, they are not material for service provision in banks at the moment. In the future, this may change (e.g. the use of Post Offices as banking services outlets).

Read articles in this category:

  • Personal Data Management and Identity Assurance in Banks (June 19th, 2014): What opportunities exist for banks in light of the rise of personal data management and identity assurance technologies.
  • Cheque Clearing (April 17th, 2014): This article discusses the government recommendation that the industry should invest substantial sums in the use of digital images of cheques.
  • Banking Disintegration – A New Industry? (August 15th, 2010): Discussion of banking disintegration, focussing on the various complexities arising from the partial divestment of RBS branches to the Santander Group. The specific problems of divestment might spawn a new IT service industry.
  • What is a merchant Acquirer? (November 22nd, 2006): Under what is called the SEPA Cards Framework (SCF) there is a drive to standardise the interface between Merchants and Merchant Acquirer – find out more about what a merchant acquirer is.
  • How Might Mobile Payments Work? (December 26th, 2003): Outline of how mobile payments are working and/or are likely to work, relative to Person to Person and Person to Merchant payments.
  • Reasons Why a Bank Could Want Mobile Payments (November 27th, 2003): This report outlines the reasons why a bank could want to invest in the mobile payment technology.
  • Service Channels and Recent Banking Strategies (April 27th, 2003): This report relates the strategies and technologies discussed in the “Banking Operations Strategies & Technologies” report specifically to sales and service channels.
  • Customers and Recent Banking Strategies (April 27th, 2003): This report principally examines how recent banking strategies are likely to affect customers. This is illustrated with two exmaples of how a customer might perceive the changes within a bank.
  • Banking Operations Strategies & Technologies: Example Scenarios (April 27th, 2003): Brings together all the ideas distilled in the Banking Operations Strategies & Technologies report in a couple of illustrative scenarios. These show how some very common banking business processes will look if the strategies discussed are fully implemented.
  • Banking Operations Strategies & Technologies (April 27th, 2003): Detailed examination of the key strategies and technologies currently being pursued in UK Banking Operations departments. These trends include centralising processing, outsourcing and the separation of service and processing.