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Customer Experience Has Become More Important In Digital Banking Era

Digital Banking has improved processes for banks but have created a physical distance with their customers. In this background measuring customer experience becomes challenging and more important.

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If you were to time travel back by 15 years and take a look at the customers at any Indian bank, I doubt you would recognize them. 15 years ago, smartphones were just making an entry to the Indian market; there was no 4G connection on your phone. Banking was more about time and convenience. A typical customer will take a day off from office to complete his bank work; a few will have the liberty to call a relationship manager to help them. Expectations were much lower. Most would still ask for a monthly copy of the bank statement, many would queue up to update their passbooks or order a new checkbook. If at that time, someone had said that soon, your customers would do 90% of their transactions online, would move their daily cash transactions to a payment’s gateway like Paytm, be alerted of their bank transaction on their watches, you would take five minutes to recover from the laughing fit you would have upon hearing it.

Fast forward to 2019. Banking habits have changed. Completely. The customers are now a ‘Paytm Karo’ generation who need transactions, monthly statements-all at their fingertips. They judge you not by the vicinity of your branch but by how conveniently are you available digitally? Because if you are not, they will just move on to some other mode. 

The power dynamics have changed. And very few bankers saw it coming. Those who did, have come up on the top. In recent research by Numr on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) for Indian Banks, most banks that have scored high have a sound digital strategy. They have often been awarded for having the best offerings in Internet banking, mobile app et al.

However, the age of digital banking has opened up another set of problems for the bankers. Since customers and bankers now transact at a virtual world, it has taken away the ability of even the best banks to extend the human touch points for your customer. 

At Numr, while doing customer insight researches across multiple industries, we have seen one common thing - today every single customer believes that he should be the center of attention. He demands you to talk with him one-on-one. He has a choice! Information that was previously not available to him is not served on a platter. Every day he gets specific messages, emails, from people who seem to know him enticing him to sway their way. Banks need to understand this. 

Banks are doing a lot to leverage advanced analytics, machine learning, and contextual engagement to provide a highly personalized experience. They are allowing the consumer to engage with their bank on the channels they prefer at the times they want to engage. But yet, the communication is majorly transactional and one way. The operational/transactional data tells part of the story, but there is this human element that needs to be understood, addressed, and few are able to do so. You might understand that a customer is looking to invest in a new FD because he inquired about it on your mobile app, but what you might not know how he feels about the interaction he has had when he called to find out about it.

You need to understand every single customer and address his specific need. Of course, this cannot be done using traditional means. However, this is achievable. 

It is this understanding of the human element that will drive who will win the market. Those who understand why people do what they do, rather than just what they do, will be able to predict their customers intent and act on ‘why’ before it becomes the ‘what’.

You are no longer bound by the traditional methods of trying to make general inferences about the why. You can digitally reach every single customer to get this information. After every bank visit, after every new account opening, you are able to get reach out, and understand every single transaction every single customer has with you. Today your customer expects to be heard. So, start listening.

Invest in customer experience programs (e.g. NPS programs) that help you understand your customers’ voice. You have a number to measure your profitability,  you have a number that measures how well your operations are running, so why not a definitive measure that explains how your promoters can impact your finances?

Just like digital banking brought a change in the last 15 years, the next wave of change will come from the customer experience. A bank of tomorrow needs to incorporate a KPI that explains the ‘why’ when the ‘what’ is already known. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Amitayu Basu

The author is the CEO of Numr Research. He has a deep understanding of market research and customer analytics. He was one of the primary researchers in the development of the NPS tool and methodology at Satmetrix.

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