As financial service organizations ponder their channel strategies, they must make sure that they are not losing sight of their main objective: customer profitability. With each new channel deployed over the last 20 years, basically one bolted on top of the other, the focus has been to deliver a multi-channel experience for the consumer. The focus now needs to turn away from a multi-channel approach and focus on an omnichannel approach — a single delivery platform for the customer experience. A strategy is needed that looks at individual profitability and provides the tools to turn unprofitable relationships into profitable ones.

The cycle is rather simple. The more products and services a customer has with a bank, the more profitable that customer becomes to the organization. The more satisfied a customer is, the more likely he is to expand that relationship, or at least provide the current institution with first opportunity for a new financial product.

Consumers are looking to simplify their financial lives, they're not necessarily looking for the best rates or the closest branch. While the convenience of the branch network is key to opening an account, the long-term relationship is forged on the numerous channels used by the consumer. Financial institutions must be willing to invest in systems that provide direct, relevant marketing messages and offers through the channel currently being used by the customer. It is not logical to try to measure the profitability of the ATM network, mobile banking channel or DDA product. No bank or credit union would operate for long without offering a DDA account or ATMs to their customers. Instead, the focus should be on measuring customer profitability and turning unprofitable customers into profitable ones. Consumers are going to have to recognize that some conveniences should not be freebies. These services need to be looked at holistically for each customer to determine whether or not they are at a level to enjoy free benefits. Incent customers to grow their relationship and profitability will be sure to follow.