Bank channels are often separate and rarely equal. They are also transaction focused and have changed little over the years. But the technology of user interfaces (UIs) has changed dramatically, creating new opportunities for banks to reach customers and engage them interactively.
Many of the game changing developments in UIs have been in the entertainment industry, in cinema and gaming. The recent success of Microsoft Kinect demonstrates the enthusiasm of consumers for new technology and rich, interactive UIs.
Kinect recognizes someone it has seen before by body shape, so there's no need to log into the system for each game. It knows your left hand from your right and can distinguish between two players even when their paths cross.
If players have similar builds, Kinect tries to glean differences in their facial features, haircuts, body movements and clothing color. And if identically dressed twins initially stump the system, it will ask each to say something and distinguish them through speech.
Avatar Kinect takes recognitions to an even higher level. Your avatar will smile when you smile, frown when you frown and talk when you talk - a virtual chat room in cyberspace.
What are the implications for financial services?
Banks can use the same technology for their UIs across all channels creating the same look and feel and enhanced customer experience. Financial services can become more personalized. Channels can be more integrated and interactive. Online banking, banker assisted transactions and target marketing can all be done through next generation ATMs or within the branch through Surface technology and interactive walls.
Mobile banking can have the same look and feel as PC or ATM banking. TV becomes another channel as new UI technology extends digital marketing to the home. Social networking can be more easily integrated with banking services. As customers transact they also create online marketing opportunities.
A fully integrated channel experience has eluded banking until now. Add analytics, CRM and the cloud and bank channels can be broader, deeper and more personal.