In 2013, a study by PwC reported that four biggest banks in South Africa at the time – Standard Bank, Absa, FNB and Nedbank – were evaluating their current branch networks alongside technological developments. Collectively these banks had 2 877 traditional branches but PwC forecast that this number would decline by 21% come 2016. The reason for this move, according to PwC, was to transition more and more customers to electronic distribution channels; a digital strategy that sees banks reaching out to customers in new ways.
Today, modern banking customers want:
- To be rewarded for their business
- To access their account and balance “anytime and anywhere”
- To be seen as an individual, not an amorphous customer
- To be provided with investment and saving advice
- To access real-time spending updates
And how are banks create a digital strategy that allows them to offer their customers these products and services? Well, digitally of course.
Here’s how banks can leverage digital channels and telecoms to meet the customer demands outlined above:
- Develop rewards programmes: Customers want to be rewarded for good behaviour – be it a free coffee offered for meeting their fitness goals, reduced insurance premiums for driving responsibly, or cash back for using a specific banking partner. These savings/rewards may seem minimal but they serve to differentiate one bank from another.
- Embrace a range of digital channels and platforms: Gone are the days when banks dictated how they communicated with customers. Today, customers want to be able to transact and talk to their banks using their preferred platforms.
- Use data to their advantage: If banks are successfully tracking their customers’ activities, they can create a digital strategy to effectively offer advice and products that match their behaviour. For example, if the bank can see that a client has just been granted a home loan, it may be a good time to offer the customer life and household insurance.
- Leverage digital platforms to communicate with customers: Customers want saving and investment advice but most of them don’t have the time, or the money, to visit a bank and chat to financial advisors face-to-face. With digital channels, banking customers can access reliable and helpful information using the digital channel of their choice.
- Ensure transaction activity is tracked in real-time: Modern digital bankers want to be able to monitor activity on their account as it happens. With digital technologies and tools, they’ll receive notifications the minute any money leaves or is deposited into their accounts.
One of the best ways modern banks can achieve all of the above is to create a digital in-branch experience. Customers want the same digital experience even when they’re visiting a branch. This is where your telecoms management partner plays an important role. All branches must offer a consistent experience. This fosters brand loyalty, as customers know they’ll have the same experience no matter where they are. These in-branch value adds include things like free in-branch Wi-Fi and interactive self-help portals that allow customers to source information without having to stand in a long queue.
In order for banks to successfully embrace digital, successful collaboration with telcos is critical. That’s where we come in – it’s our job to help our customers find the right service providers and digital tools to meet their needs. Want to keep updated with all the latest happenings in the digital and telecoms space? Sign up for our monthly newsletter below.