Excellent Customer Experience Demands High-Tech and High-Touch

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1 May 2018
Bob Meara

Learning from Celent's 2018 Model Bank of the Year

Last week, Celent announced that Bank of America won its 2018 Model Bank of the Year award. As the winner of Celent’s most prestigious award, Bank of America was invited to speak at Celent’s sold-out Innovation and Insight Day in Boston on 27 April. And, speak it did! The bank presented both compelling strategy and execution. A recurring theme in its talk was the twin imperative of delivering both high-tech and high-touch. Some wish high-touch was a thing of the past, but it clearly is not – for a large majority of U.S. consumers.

The importance of high-tech plus high-touch was manifest in J.D. Power’s recently announced 13th annual U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study. In the study, consumers that utilize multiple points of interaction (branch, mobile, online, contact center) demonstrated higher surveyed satisfaction in their banking relationship.

The research is also consistent with results of Celent’s two surveys of U.S. banked adults conducted in February 2018, which sought to understand when and how consumers prefer in-person engagement with their financial institution. Celent will publish a report of those survey findings shortly.

As with most things of substance, delivering both high-tech and high-touch with excellence is challenging. Particularly challenging is defending the requisite branch channel spend, when transactions are leaving the branch in favor of self-service channels. What some banks miss with branch channel investments is the notion that digital and branch investments need not be mutually exclusive. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander. High-tech can be high-touch!

One example of solving for both high-tech and high-touch is digital appointment booking. Offered on the bank’s website and digital banking platforms, digital appointment booking allows customers to book an appointment at a specified place and time for a specific purpose. The benefits for both the consumer and the bank are manifest. But, not all consumers are equally attracted to the idea. Big surprise, mobile banking users are much more favorably disposed (Figure1).

Figure 1

While these results may not surprise you, I’ll bet it will surprise you to find that Millennials, Baby Boomers and mobile banking users all prefer face-to-face engagement with a banker under some circumstances. (those details will have to wait for the published report…)

For now and the foreseeable future, delivering excellent customer experience will require both high-tech and high-touch. Figure out how to deliver them both through digital innovation that spans customer touchpoints and you’ll be well ahead of the pack. Bank of America is. Consider:

  • 26% of total sales are attributed to digital channels. Bank of America now supports mobile mortgage applications.
  • 35.5 active digital banking users. 24.8 billion mobile banking users
  • Nearly 200,000 click-to-dial calls per week (customers are pre-authenticated)
  • 36,000 bank by appointments per week in its financial centers
  • Over 3,500 Digital Ambassadors in financial centers

High-tech enables high-touch. Done well, efforts are not additive, but synergistic.


Insight details

Insight Format
Geographic Focus
Asia-Pacific, EMEA, LATAM, North America