The banking sector has seen a surge in digital-savvy customers in the last few years. Increasing access to internet access, through both computers and mobile devices has produced a digital consumer who is ‘omnipresent’, able to be in contact with the bank from anywhere at any time and expects 24/7 availability and responsiveness from their bank.
Digital devices are also evolving to support rich multi-media handling, secure information channelling and powerful computing capability.
The banking industry is being forced to keep up with this digital evolution. Banks can no longer just be custodians of transactions; looking after the customer must now be seen as their main priority.
While many banks have begun to address this new digital customer, they still have a way to go before they can fully exploit the opportunity they present.
They need a way to understand and analyse customer behaviour across channels, listen to feedback, source innovative product ideas and promote new products and services.
They also need to drive the adoption of various self-service channels.
To this end TATA Consultancy Services, in their white paper “Digital Consumer – Imperatives for Banks and the IT Industry”, has identified several technology priorities that banks should be focusing on.
Developing a contemporary Digital Platform
The new digital consumer expects to be able to interact with their bank across a variety of digital devices. Banks therefore need to ensure that they provide a platform for these various digital, mobile devices through applications and online portals. These can be important not only for enabling basic digital banking services, but also reputation management, and brand and loyalty building.
Rich Media and Rich Internet Applications
The way consumers use online portals is also changing, with web content becoming increasingly user-driven. Web applications need to integrate with social collaboration tools such as Facebook and Twitter and offer additional communication channels such as video chat or live customer support. Web interfaces need to not only be easily accessible from any device but also interactive, intuitive and able to anticipate what the user needs and give them what they want.
Banks need to be able to provide a consistent user experience across all channels, be it online, through a mobile app, SMS, in the branch or through the call centre. In order to do this banks are looking at unified communication systems that integrate real-time communication services such as instant messaging, presence information, telephony, and video conferencing, with non-real-time communication services such as voicemail, SMS and e-mail. This streamlines the business processes within the bank, as well as enabling them to provide precise and informed responses to customer queries and improve customer satisfaction.
BPM & SOA
Many banks are implementing Business Process Management (BPM) and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) in order to help them manage, monitor and control end-to-end business processes.
Banks typically have very complex internal systems due to their large size and widespread footprint, but at the same time they need to be able to respond to customer demands in as efficient a way as possible. BPM and SOA therefore gives them greater agility, flexibility, transparency and better overall operational control.
Analytics are an important way for banks to gain insight into customer behaviour. Looking beyond the simple customer and transactional data already available to them, it is possible to delve deeper into the big data analytics of the vast unstructured data on social media, web pages, documents, e-mails, audio and video.