Technological advances have certainly made digital banks more sustainable. The explosion and sophistication of smartphones and tablets allow banks to offer many more services online.
By Samir Dhir
Recently, the Commercial Bank of Dubai launched its new virtual branch on Facebook, for users to check their accounts and transfer funds from within the social network. The bank feels that the potential is enormous considering the fact that United Arab Emirates has 3.6 million Facebook users, who view the site at least five times a day on average, the first visit generally taking place 15 minutes after waking!
Technological advances have certainly made digital banks more sustainable. Instead of having to choose between queuing at a branch and sitting in front of a computer, customers can now check balances or pay bills using their phones on the go. They can deposit cheques by photographing them and make credit-card payments using their smartphones.
Digital banking has opened a whole new era of relationships: relationships that are remote, virtual, yet personal centered on the customer. New age banks are able to offer services that sustain these relationships that the old ones couldn’t. Take for instance, Citi that has a tablet app that has interactive, graphic displays to help customers visualize current spending and plan for your future. Barclays announced the launch of Barclays Video Banking to provide a new, secure, face-to-face service for customers to carry out their banking wherever they are. Increasingly, banks are encouraging their customers to abandon expensive bank branches and do most if not all of their banking on their mobile phones and tablets.
In order to effectively achieve true customer centricity, banks must have an aggregated view on customer behaviors including current accounts, savings, investments, car insurance, mortgage loans and credit card approvals which will help open up new sources of revenue, through third party advertising and customers paying for value-added services. Creating a single digital banking platform, with standardization, coordination and communication amongst all channels, will offer banks the agility to quickly deploy new products and services while also offering users a consistent and continuous experience across all their devices.
The first small steps in the digital banking journey, as they seem today are mobile apps, e-wallet solutions, personal finance management tools and an omni-channel experience. Banks need to be on the move and get ready for a series of changes.
While on one hand, customers are becoming digitally savvy, convergence of disruptive technologies like mobility, cloud, analytics and social is throwing up potential opportunities to serve these consumers in many ways. To do so, banks must promote consumer engagement and support an omni-channel user experience which is a given in today’s financial world.
Getting ready for a longer Journey
The digital banking journey has just begun. So far, the playing field has been limited to small initiatives, such as app suites and video advisory. Big game changers such as remodeled organization and work culture are yet to be addressed, but it’s just a matter of time- and it is likely to fundamentally change the industry. This will mean breaking the tradition with customers no longer belonging to branches, IT driving the business, and new structures for revenue and pricing. As disruptive as it may sound, these shifts will bring in something valuable in return: Delighted customers.
The author is EVP and Head of India Operations, Virtusa.