A recent Banking Exchange article on BankingExchange.com discusses the notion of a “simulchannel” experience in banking. In short, author John Ginovsky describes simulchannel as customers wanting their banks to know them digitally as well as in person. An example would be customers receiving a “welcome” text when they enter the branch.
While the author claims this simulchannel experience extends beyond omnichannel. I would make the case that simulchannel (according to the article’s definition) is simply an essential part of a true omnichannel experience.
Let me elaborate… since omnichannel is about having a consistent customer experience across all channels (which include in-branch, call center, mobile, web, etc.), the experience of having engagement on your mobile device while you are physically in the branch, is merely your bank providing a true omnichannel experience.
For example, let’s say you are visiting your branch to refinance your mortgage. While you are waiting to meet your bank’s mortgage specialist, you receive an alert on your phone that your bank is now offering reduced rates on homeowners’ insurance for new mortgage customers. This was your bank simply making optimal use of your presence in your bank to cross-sell you.
While the BankExchange.com article cites statistics and gives a wish list of how customers want to be able to engage more with their bank over their mobile device, it lacks meaningful, real-life examples.
So, while the term simulchannel may be interesting, it’s really just a subset of a true omnichannel experience. After all, what’s more important, an automatic text that lets you know that you’ve arrived in a branch, or usable information about rates, special promotions or other items of value that a bank committed to delivering a true omnichannel experience to customers can provide?