Ideas & musings about consumer behaviour

Starting a savings account suffers from separate sales silos

Author: Jeremy Weinstein

It would seem strange that in the year 2014 businesses would count sales from different channels differently. I understand that a business needs to know where sales are coming from and as such need to track the efficacy of each channel, and I also understand that the cost of acquisition from the web site is likely to be less than that of the call centre – but what’s the cost of losing the sale altogether?

The most recent results from Global Review’s Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE) Benchmark, collected last month on the banking industry, showed that savings accounts are the worst at ‘Channel Selection’. This is the stage in the customer journey where, after careful consideration, a customer has finally decided to act on opening an account. At this point, the benchmark assesses how well a company reveals the various options available to apply – in the case of savings accounts the industry average is only 49%.

It appears that the different banks’ web teams have not done enough in revealing all the possible options to a customer interested in opening an account, scoring just 43% for ‘Revealing Options’. Moreover, banks’ web sites are 10% worse at explaining the offline options (46%) when compared to explaining the online options (56%). The good news is that the industry has improved slightly from 6 months ago when in explaining the offline options, with the industry average up 5%. But this is just the beginning, there’s still a long way to go.

Couple this data with the Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME) Study, run in the same period, that showed 53% of customers still say they use the website for research but prefer to open an account over the phone or in a branch.

Comparing the Australian market to its UK counterpart actually makes the result look good scoring 36% for the ‘Channel Selection’ stage overall and 33%, 40% and 35% for revealing options, explaining offline options and explaining online options respectively. What’s even more surprising about the UK result is the lack of information about applying online when the customer is already in the online channel.

Looking at this situation optimistically, it’s possible that the poor ‘Channel Selection’ result is an anomaly, or perhaps just an oversight by banks that neglected to inform the different ways to open an account. Alternatively, it could be that the web team is competing with the call centre for sales – or the mobile team or the branches for that matter. No, it couldn’t be. Could it?! In the year 2014 banks (and other institutions) have surely matured beyond the early days of channel silos and realised that a sale, no matter how it comes, is still better than no sale at all. Surely?!

For more information about how to improve the channel selection experience, read more about our Digital Sales Effectiveness Benchmark or please contact:

Ché Carbis
Senior Commercial Director
T: +61 3 9982 3419
M: +61 411 962 857


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