Banking UX

Banks aren’t alone in their omni-channel unreadiness

Written by Bob Meara

If you thought banks were the only ones suffering from omni-channel unreadiness, Bob Meara shares an anecdote about his recent car rental experience.

In December, Celent surveyed a panel of North American banks and credit unions to assess the current and likely future state of retail and business banking channel systems. The report is chock-full of fascinating insights. Among them is a rather sobering self-assessment of banks’ omni-channel delivery capability.

Omni-channel delivery readiness self-assessment. Source: Celent


A recent experience renting a car painfully demonstrated that banks aren’t the only ones that have a ways to go …


Me: Visited the company’s website. Easily searched and located a car at a location very close to home. Quickly booked the automobile and received an email confirmation promptly. The website displayed the location of all area locations and recommended this one based on its proximity to my known location. Reservation for 2:00 this afternoon. So far so good.


Enterprise called and left a voicemail indicating there were some “qualifying details” we would need to discuss prior to my 2:00pm reservation.


I returned the call. The problem was that I reserved an intermediate-size car and none were available – just large SUVs and 15-person passenger vans. That relevant information wasn’t conveyed in my otherwise stellar digital experience with the brand.

“What about other locations?” I asked.

“I can see what they have on the lot, but I don’t know the plans they have for them,” they said. “Unfortunately, I can’t book for you. Feel free to call other locations yourself and see which ones may have an intermediate-size car for you.”

“You mean I have to dial for dollars around Greater Atlanta to find an intermediate-size car? Your website indicated availability and gave me a confirmation. What’s up?”

“Sorry, but that’s a long story. Look, if you’re OK driving a large SUV, I can give it to you at an intermediate rate. Would that be OK?”

“I think so. It’s not what I want, but I’ll take it.”

“Do you need a pick up also?”

“Yes, please – just prior to 2:00. Thank you.”


The phone rings again – it’s Enterprise. This time, it’s the location calling, not the contact centre.

“Sir, we have a problem with your rental reservation,” they said. “We don’t have any intermediate-size cars at this location.”

“Yes, I know. I spoke with your colleague at 10:30 this morning. You agreed to rent me an SUV at an intermediate price and pick me up prior to 2:00.”

“Do you know who you spoke with?”

“I’m sorry, no. I didn’t get his name”

“Was it a man or a woman?”

“It was a male colleague of yours, but I don’t recall his name.”

“Was he from this location?”

“I don’t know. By the way, why would I care?”

“Well, I’ve been pretty much the only one working at this location all morning.”

“Thanks for sharing, but what does that have to do with my reservation?”

“I’m just trying to find out who you spoke with.”

“Why is that relevant? I have a reservation and we have an agreement, and it’s almost 2:00.”

“I don’t think he was supposed to do that.”

“So, are you going to rent me a car, van, SUV or whatever for an intermediate rate or not?”

“Yes, sir, we’ll do that.”

“Great – see you in a few minutes.”

A few days later …

Atlanta traffic kept me from returning the rental during normal business hours. Handily, there are provisions for after-hours drop-off. The rental is processed the next business day and customers receive a final receipt via email. That’s the plan, anyway. It’s been several days and no receipt. After calling the store, I was told the email system had been down.

My bank looks very good about now.

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– This article is reproduced with kind permission. Some minor changes have been made to reflect BankNXT style considerations. Read more here. Image by ashva,

About the author

Bob Meara

Bob Meara is a senior analyst with Celent's banking practice. His research focuses on branch and ATM delivery channels, customer analytics, and check and cash payment processing technologies.

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