With the sun slowly setting on the age-old, traditional banking industry, face-to-face interactions with customers is fading into the background with digital transformation of the banking and financial services companies. The percentage of customers using digital channels for bank transactions have significantly increased with the onset of Covid-19 pandemic with social distancing and safety measures in place. The older generation of customers are now readily accepting to trust digital banking and are learning to use these services. Millennials and the digital natives, Gen Z customers are demanding seamless, omni-channel experience, while accessing the bank’s digital platform from anywhere, anytime with any device. Competition to banks is generated from unexpected sources such as technology companies providing financial services and fintech companies simplifying digital transactions to attract customers. Such developments have led to the growth of API banking that comes with several benefits.To stay ahead of competition, banks have to deliver the best customer experience by leveraging digital platforms. Digital transformation has brought in several financial benefits and sophistication in processes besides delivering far better customer experience.
To provide a stellar customer experience, banks first have to map the digital journey of the customer with the available data history and analyse it. This has to be followed by reimagining the journey with targeted recommendations by leveraging a suitable digital banking solution which integrates into the other processes in the environment.
Complete access to their finances from any device, anytime and anywhere
With digitization, banks are able to offer the convenience to customers, such as easy payment to bills, transferring money, tracking income and expenses or other financial transactions in a much shorter time. And this has to be done in real time, from whichever device they are comfortable with, accessing from any remote location, with just a click of a button. The apps, video clips and websites provided by banks should be user-friendly with appealing features and seamlessly integrated across various touch-points, delivering better customer engagement.
Prioritize customer data security and privacy
Data breaches pose very high risk to banks today, leading to financial losses, penalties, brand reputation and yes, customer trust! Cyber threats are evolving and getting more complex with threat actors targeting sensitive financial records. Some common types of threats include DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service), malware and insecure third party services, among others. Managing customer data security should become the responsibility of every employee and not just the IT leadership team, such as CTOs and CSOs. A robust cyber-security strategy should put in place before implementation.
Automated financial advices and real-time assistance
Bank customers certainly value and appreciate personalized and efficient services. Messaging apps provide the flexibility irrespective of the bank opening hours. Chatbots can deliver the personalized consultation 24X7, which is convenient for the users. These tools also provide the continuity in consultation and help in saving on resources while maintaining efficiency. It is equally imperative to be constantly in touch with customers to gain their confidence and get feedback on a regular basis, and take corrective action, if need be. Relevant employees should have access to feedback to serve customers better.
Personalised assistance goes a long way
After gaining deep insights into customer financial behaviour pattern and financial history, banks should recommend products or solutions to cater to customer needs. Today’s customer does not believe in brand loyalty and is willing to change a bank if a better deal is offered. All customers want to be understood and demand great value from the financial products. They will provide their personal information for a tailored and customised offering that is very beneficial. Banks should also weave in the human touch across digital channels, which customers look forward to.
Collaboration within the financial ecosystem is crucial
It is close to impossible for one single bank to provide all the product offerings, customers are demanding. However, few other financial institutes or fintech companies will be able to offer them. In such a scenario, API banking comes to the rescue, enabling the connection between banks, fintech and other financial institutions so each one can leverage the expertise of the other. With such collaboration banks do not lose customers to competition, resulting in a win-win situation to all stakeholders.
Investing in digital transformation undoubtedly delivers the scalability, flexibility, agility and speed-to-market for the BFSI ecosystem. However, constant up-gradation of the financial platforms to serve evolving customer needs, constant monitoring and addressing issues by specialists are crucial for better business outcomes and to stay ahead of competition.
Views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of KrishnaRaj Sharma, Director and CEO, iValue InfoSolutions.