The way consumers interact with financial institutions is fundamentally and rapidly changing, and this presents a huge opportunity — albeit a challenging one — for retail banks.
In recent years, social media and mobile applications have thrived. A recent study conducted by Avaya and BT shows that the number of consumers using mobile apps for financial services over the last few years has more than trebled, while web chat has also significantly increased in popularity.
This has been triggered by an ‘anytime, anywhere’ digital culture as consumers and businesses demand financial management on their own terms. But all these different communication channels don’t really help either the bank or the customer if they aren’t joined up. Banks today are looking at how they can stop their customer service becoming fragmented.
It’s a challenge being felt around the world: in the Middle East Emirates NBD Bank has gone as far as to implement a biometrics log-in capability, where customers can use a Touch ID on the Emirates NBD Mobile Banking App to securely log into all their accounts.
Digital disruptors in the banking sector are using analytics and automation to create value from the data generated through customer interactions across different channels.
By tying various platforms together they can not only respond and resolve issues more quickly, but take a more proactive approach through predictive data sets that are constantly working in the background.
Say for example a bank’s customer wants to query their account, but doesn’t have time to call during business hours. While the company’s mobile app may provide some information, a more personal experience will assure the customer that their account security is maintained, so the app should provide them with the capacity to request an after-hours call back. And when the representative does call back, they should possess the right information, so they don’t need to impose a lengthy identification or clarification process on the customer, and they should be aware of whether the customer has posted on social media channels about the issue.
To take another example, a bank could introduce video conferencing technology to local branches, so customers could get access to specialist advisors more easily. So a customer could get information about a mortgage application in their local branch, and scan, send and receive documents quickly and easily, reducing the time and effort required to process and approve a mortgage.
The business benefits are clear. Companies that can keep customers satisfied, engaged and coming back have a competitive advantage. And by taking data the company already has and putting it into the decision-making process, they can make smarter decisions that enhance the customer journey in terms of speed and quality of service.
So how should banks adapt their engagement in order to meet customer demands to be more effective and
efficient, while also adhering to regulatory controls, driving profitability and keeping that personal, human touch?
Achieving this with yesterday’s technologies is extremely difficult, which is why the banking industry should not rely on old processes to achieve new results, as outdated contact centre and communications platforms weren’t built to support modern interactions. While the data surrounding these interactions may be stored and possibly be relevant at some further point, it can’t be qualified to inform intelligent decision-making. This is why digital transformation has become a critical differentiator.
Most retail banks have already deployed mobile applications that provide product and service information, account management and some transactions, but at the end of the day it’s the overall customer engagement, across each and every channel, that leaves a lasting impression with customers — good or bad.
To keep improving on that impression, banks now need to go beyond omnichannel. It’s time to use analytics to draw insight from all the omnichannel customer interactions and to better understand their needs and preferences for products and services. This is without a doubt the shortest way to offering the personalised experience customers demand today, especially given that there is hardly a bank left that doesn’t offer online and mobile banking, which makes the data-collection process easier than it has ever been. Banking and financial services providers have more data than any other industry at their disposal — it’s time to make the most of this, for the benefit of customers themselves.
For more information please visit www.avaya.com
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