Some of the more progressive travel money retailers are exploring a multichannel operating model. They know that today’s digital customer wants to be able to interact and transact with them using the channel that is most convenient at a particular time – whether it’s the branch, the contact centre, the Web, a mobile app or even a third-party partner like a travel agency or a retailer.
However, in comparison to other retail-focussed industries, travel money operators have been slow to offer consumers full multichannel customer interactions. The progressive brands, however, believe it’s no longer enough to simply allow customers to place orders for travel money and pre-paid cards through a browser in a process that is not integrated with their branch operations. They strive to provide a consistent experience whichever channel the customer chooses for ordering, settlement and fulfilment.
Herein are some complex challenges as well as outstanding opportunities. Travel money retailers that embrace a true multichannel model get to learn more about their customers, personalise services around their needs and build customer satisfaction that leads to repeat business. This approach promises to help them completely transform their relationships with their customers to build loyalty based on service, not just rates.
Forex retail operations can distinguish themselves by offering a consistent experience and message to customers at every touch point, whether it’s a mobile app, social media portal or a branch. Once the travel money operator has a robust platform in place, it can capture information about clients and get to know them better. Then, it can provide them with personalised service whichever touch point they are using at a given time.
That builds a platform for repeat business. Over time, through analysis of the data it collects about a customer from different channels, the forex retailer can build up a detailed and accurate picture of his preferences and behaviour. One example would be identifying the ‘frequent off-peak’ travellers through data, which will allow the retailer to see where and which times of the year a person usually travels, for example, and tailor its communications and offers appropriately to outside of peak period promotions, creating customer journeys that enhance customer retention and sales.
With mobile technologies introduced into the mix – be they simple text messaging or sophisticated smartphone apps and location data – the possibilities become even more exciting. These mobile channels empower travel money providers to communicate with customers and offer them access to a full bouquet of travel money services and information wherever they are.
For example, users could pre-order currency and pre-paid cards online and the travel money retailer could use location-based features to alert users when they are near branches. Or it could push relevant information and messaging to business travellers as they pass through international travel hubs.
Data – from new electronic and partner channels – could empower travel money providers to sharpen their focus on granular details they never even considered before. For example, they could market products according to the customer’s context – geographical location and time of day; his or her age – If date of birth can be captured; and the travel destination.
Drive for modernisation
Many travel money operators do not yet have the technology infrastructure in place to offer this sort of seamless, multichannel service to their clients. Some still run legacy systems and many even have a range of manual business processes.
The industry has changed a great deal in the past few years, and any system built before the era of smartphones and social media is effectively out of date and ineffective for today’s market. Where travel money providers have introduced electronic channels, these have often been bolted onto ageing systems, creating a disconnect between the experience a customer has in-store and on a digital platform.
The pace of change is accelerating rather than slowing down, so only with a modern, specialised solution can a business be truly effective in staying ahead of the evolving market. Trying to keep up with in-house developed software is often both futile and expensive.
That means travel money providers need to put an architecture in place that enables them to bring multiple channels together, automating the whole order process while integrating customer data across them all. This new-age architecture is the platform for delivering a consistent experience with customers across all channels, underpinned by a single view of the customer for both marketing and regulatory purposes.
Suddenly, customer information is available in real time from a multitude of channels whenever it is required. Customers benefit from convenience, simplicity and speed in their interactions with their travel money providers.
And by offering a seamless and differentiated multichannel service, travel money providers become able to create competitive advantage and retain customers in an industry where there is little brand loyalty today.