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From Connect to Delight

Banking Frontiers organized an unconference cum panel discussion in Mumbai titled ‘From connect to delight’, to deliberate on customer centric strategies.

Initiating the discussions, Babu Nair, group publisher, Banking Frontiers and Customer Click, compared customer delight as a journey with many critical elements. It may be great for a bank to disburse a loan within 10 days, but customer delight is adversely impacted if he or she had to make innumerable calls to avail of that loan. With the digital evolution, customer expectations too have evolved, and they are wanting a unified and seamless experience, he said.

Customers may not essentially look at departments such as cards, retail, corporate banking, or mobile banking per se, he said, as for them, all these departments together form the bank and a perception. The customer looks at relationship from an overall 360-degree perspective and not the bank’s internal department. To offer a single perspective of the organization to the customer, the service providers need to prepare themselves with a single view of the customer.

Sarang Shah, practive lead, Collaboration, Cisco Systems India, which was one of the knowledge partners for the Unconference, said customers communicate with brands by either consuming the product or service, or reach out to the contact center. When one communicates with a contact center, one has a defined expectation. The digital age has resulted in more communication avenues, and therefore greater expectation. As much as 70% businesses ignore complaints on Twitter but 83% customers are delighted when their responses are replied back, he said.

Omni channel experience management is the hallmark of a delightful customer experience, he said adding most organizations started with either an email reponse team, then with a chat team, video-conferencing etc. But, these chat teams essentially do not speak the same language and work in silos. Hence, there is no unified customer information. An omni-channel integration is one that gives unified view, routing, and a complete presence of the customer communication thereby giving a better customer experience,” said Sarang.

Gokul Gopalakrishnan, head, India Business, Servion Global Solutions, the second knowledge partner, felt Indian consumers are avid users of digital banking in comparison with North American customers and the growth of mobile is far advanced and new sites are fast emerging. For example, he siad, for kids below the age group of 15 in North America, Facebook is obsolete. Newer options such as Snapchat and Twitter with Youtube are fast catching on, he said.

The unconference session was divided into three groups representing technology, customer centricity and efficiency. After 45 minutes of brainstorming, two representatives from each group shared the gist of the discussions from each group. Excerpts from the insights discussed by the representatives:

From Connect to Delight:

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(From left to right) Sethu Ramalingam, Suresh Shanmugham, N Srinivasan, Shubha Kumar, Sulbha Pande, Meghna Shah and Manoj Agarwal.

Shubha Kumar, AVP-BPRG-Retail, HDFC Bank:

One of the major causes of customer churn is the interaction with the bank. Customers had no option, but to bank with nationalized banks, until a decades ago. After privatization, service became the biggest differentiator. Everyone started offering similar services. The branch then became redundant, thanks to the digitization and the channels. Net banking and ATM were primarily responsible for this. In fact banking, shopping and groceries shopping can be handled by such channels. Mobile also enables quick disbursal of loans. Customers do not have to visit a banking store.

Customers have a definite need, and reveal a moment of truth. To become successful it is important to ensure stickiness. To ensure stickiness, customers should get a similar experience across all channels. The staff, be it branch or the contact—center should be empowered with the help of technology. The person at the contact center should have 360-degree view of the customer, transactions, holdings and predict exactly what the customer needs. Empower your branch and your service reps to give the customer a wow experience, irrespective of whether the customer contacts you through video, chat, call or an ATM. That is the hallmark of the omnichannel strategy.

N Srinivasan, EVP-Retail Operations, HDFC Bank

Customer expectations are completely different today. He expects customization to the extent that he does not want to be forced to go from pillar to post. Apart from technology advancements, regulations also have to evolve and understand the customers’ preference. Different regulations for KYC, closures, telecom etc will be more challenging to adapt to.

The consensus is that Indian rural markets will adopt technology faster and quicker than other markets and even banks. Digitization is a challenge in the private sector. Digitization has the power to transform traditional banking products into technology commodities. Banks have core banking and traditional banking and hence transformation initiatives are easier to implement.

Customers do a lot of research and are ten steps ahead of the organization’s technology. They understand technology and also the product contextually. They are in communication with social media. Employees are important cogs of delivering customer satisfaction. For quicker project implementation, employers must ensure constant training and mentoring of staff. Such training will also get employees on top of the customer behavior education curve.

Suresh Shanmugham, Head-Innovation & Business Information & Technology Services, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services

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We discussed on issues such as customer satisfaction at last mile and technology in terms of IoT and IPV6. We deliberated that most innovations should focus on affordable technology. By 2020, we should be able to achieve 60% of technology efficiency such as IoT or even mobility. We have been talking to rural customers, and they are able to transmit information through digital devices too. It is possible to capture their emotions such as willingness to buy a product or anger, but it may not be feasible to capture this detail into meaningful insight. In short, there are one-off surveys that can be constituted, but it is challenging to draw a behavioral pattern, which will take more time.

Businesses are putting a heavy dependency on technology but security should not be missed. When we discussed opex versus capex model, it was felt that opex is a right fit strategy for call centers. Opex call center should be an hosted solution, it can be on the cloud and not essentially an ‘in-premise’ solution. Scalability was one of the issues, but as technology matures over time, and channels keep adding, opex solutions would create better value for organizations.

Sethuramalingam Balasubramanian, Practice head, Self Service, Technology and Innovation, Servion Global Solutions

The primary need is security and authenticating consumers. Customers have choice of different channels and there is no regulatory guideline to control new channels. For example, for channels such as Facebook or WhatsApp, there are serious security concerns and breaches. We do not have a regulatory control for social media.

In contrast, for other channels such as mobile or internet have authenticating measures such as TPIN, MPIN etc. Though voice biometrics is hot in terms of authentication and has been practiced by few banks in North America, very few banks have adopted it in India.

Analytics will provide 360-degree information to have an omnichannel experience. That is an expectation from the consumer too. Financial organizations using analytics across the channels will provide better consumer-enterprise communication and thereby better the overall communication experience

Sulbha Pande, DGM-Operations & Customer Service, Central Bank of India

We have been dealing off late with pensions and GBS transactions. We have seen a varied nature of complaints, but majorly on internal adjustments, auto-reconciliations, cheque truncation etc. We are efficient in the government business. We have to do pension schemes, and open as many accounts and subscribers as possible. PSU banks today are not judged on profits or balance sheets but on their reach. As much as 70% PSU banks have their base in rural and semi urban areas. When technology took front seat, one thought that opening new branches will become easier. There was also a mindset that technology would lead to lesser amounts spent on new branches.

But, banks are still spending funds for acquiring and developing new branches. Suddenly, private banks have started opening up in rural areas. Customers in rural areas may be illiterate, but they do understand that a bank account opening is required for government benefits. Rural customers understand that complaints can be addressed to a call center, they also understand mobile and even email banking. Customers in metropolitan areas in comparison, are not keen to divulge details such as their mobile phone or private details. Not surprisingly customers have greater trust in banking, but not in technology. Customers do not find RTGS, and NEFT secure. Technology can help address concerns with transactional risks. Rural customers are also paranoid about their pins and passwords. We have KYC norms and due diligence to control such frauds.

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Meghna Shah, chief manager, Customer-Care, Quality & Services, ICICI Bank

There are various campaigns on the security angle, but there are lot of cases reported on the ignorance aspect of customer leaking out or divulging banking details. Customers may not be essentially tech-savvy, but many tech-savvy customers are also prone to phishing calls and mails.

Better technology will enhance customer experience. Usually, banks adopt new technology by focusing on the RoI aspect. But the technology is of no use if the employee or the user of technology is not adequately trained. For example, a simple query like an address change, which should ideally be completed within a 100 seconds timeline takes 400 seconds to resolve. The second challenge that we deliberated was how do we migrate traditional bankers to digital banking. A better engagement with such stakeholders could lead to better results.

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