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Deeper customer relations in digital era

Vikram Arekere Bhagavan is Associate Vice President, Maveric Systems

Today, while digital transformation is sweeping through the banking industry, it may seem trite, but the golden truth is that customer focus is the only way any business can sustain, succeed and shine.

According to a Gallup research titled ‘The Financial & Emotional Benefits of Fully Engaged Bank Customers’, customers who are fully engaged bring $402 in additional revenue per year to their primary bank compared with those who are actively disengaged, 10% greater wallet share in deposit balances and 14% greater wallet share in investments. Fully engaged customers also average 1.14 additional product categories with their primary bank than do customers who are ‘actively disengaged’.

In addition to these clear top line benefits, deeply engaged customers can also become strong brand advocates. The same Gallup study has revealed that 54% of engaged customers strongly agree that their bank helps their ‘financial dreams come true’ and a similar percentage believe their bank makes their life more enjoyable. Most importantly, 71% of engaged customers say they will use their current bank for the rest of their life.

Clearly, the banking industry runs on the relationships it builds.

Technology for customer engagement

However, as with increasing digitization in their lives, customers are demanding new and better digital experiences. Which is why how banks approach the need to build and maintain customer relationships is changing – fast.

The permeation of cloud and mobile technologies means that today banks have at their disposal a unique opportunity to redefine their customers’ banking experience and what banking means to them. And to meet this end goal, banks are relying heavily on collaborating and partnering with technology experts, with extensive skills and experience in driving the digitization within the banking and finance space, to help them build the banking experiences of the future.

For example, a recent survey by Forbes Finance Council, SourceMedia and American Banker has revealed that banks plan to invest more in tech solutions that enable banking beyond the branch. Specifically, 86% report that mobile, digital payments, online/web are the top overall technology investment priorities.

Just push play: The rewards of long-term engagement

There are no shortcuts to the method though.

In fast changing industries such as technology and finance, long-standing relationships are deep, and are considered immensely valuable by banks. Cemented trust and shared synergies with their technology partners help banks greatly to hit the ground running, to grow and expand businesses in an agile manner.

Either to scale up or down, move verticals or open new practices, banks that have embarked on the journey of transition and disruptive changes can benefit immensely by collaborating with their long-standing technology partners who share common history and sustained warmth.

Trusted partners during organizational change

Digitizing their operations and customer engagement processes means significant change in the way the banking organization is structured and operates. When organizations undergo such defining changes and transformations or expansions, the leadership works under high pressure.

In such scenarios, long-standing partnerships with trusted technology partners serve as reliable well-oiled machines to help companies at every step of their change journey.

By working with a trusted technology partner, that is in touch with the market and latest technologies, banks get access to immense expertise that enabled innovations in approach that the banks’ internal teams may not have.

Additionally, with security being a key concern in banking operations, a technology partner facilitates the filling of gaps that may exist within the bank’s internal resources and arm the internal IT team with the expertise needed to manage or navigate high-risk situations. Also, with the right technology partner on their side, banks can be count on solutions that are not only innovative and user-friendly, but also secure and compliant with all applicable regulations.

Plough deep strategy: An effective strategy

While technology companies are always on the lookout for fresh clients and perspectives, a lot more can be achieved by deepening existing partnerships with clients. The windfall benefits of established partnerships result in business successes on both sides.

While the strategic technology partners are focused on handling mission-critical enterprise needs reliably, the internal IT organization can focus on driving competitive differentiation from the inside. This can be achieved by moving away from a siloed departmental outlook to an approach that takes into consideration the complete big picture i.e. the company (bank), customers and the larger industry trends and needs.

  • Vikram Arekere Bhagavan is Associate Vice President, Maveric Systems

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