Banks All Set to Woo More Customers to Digital Banking

According to various banking trend predictions for 2015 engaging more effectively in digital banking is important but being fine-tuned to customer needs and behaviour and consequently marrying human centricity with technology could be the catalyst for a true differentiation between better and totally efficient.

“Banking products and services have always been perceived as quite generic and it was inevitable that banks would catch up with each other in the digital banking space,” said Garth Kleintjes, Chief Information Officer at FNB Namibia.

“Although launching innovative digital banking products and services that change the way we bank will continue to be rolled out, customer centricity should be at the heart of each rationale and execution thereof has never been more important than today. Any product offering today should meet the basic criteria of accessibility, reliability and ease of use.”

In addition to this, the unique consumer landscape calls for a fine balance between keeping up with providing the early adopters of technology with relevant financial solutions and experiences and not losing sight of the needs of those who are still hesitant to use the earliest of digital banking platforms.

“We are far from being able to put digital migration at the bottom of the priority list. Tangible bank experiences such as visiting a branch needs to make room for learning experiences that comfortably ease the tech averse into the use of digital banking – this is what we have aimed to do with dotFNB,” added Kleintjes.

According to Kleintjes, three global trends are amongst those that will impact the creation of value in customers’ banking experience, namely, fast lanes, post-demographic consumerism and the millennial effect.

Fast lanes

Customers are destined to become less and less tolerant of long queues – month end or not – largely due to being time starved but also because consumers have simply come to expect more from services. “Digital banking might solve the problem of having to go into a branch for many, but traditional branches, although often revamped with a futuristic look and feel, are far from becoming redundant,” highlighted Kleintjes.

Fast-laning would imply that the in-branch experience is streamlined and hassle free with clear direction as to which queue serves which need. The layout of the branch and interactivity between customer and branch assistant should work together to result in the least possible time spent in the branch.

Self-assistance as options are also likely to become more prevalent both inside the branch and the exterior with facilities such as automatic deposit teller machines (ADTs).

Post-Demographic consumerism

In 2015, there will be no more room to typecast consumers based on behaviour and living standard measures.

“People of all ages and in any market are constructing their own identities more freely than ever. As a result, consumption patterns are no longer defined by ‘traditional’ demographic segments such as age, gender, location, income, family status and possessions owned,” said Kleintjes.

In-depth consumer insights are becoming more and more invaluable and have to be the foundation of product and service design in order to serve the needs of an increasingly diverse consumer – across branches and digital banking.

It has even been suggested that products be stripped down to their basic features, empowering customers to build their banking products according to their own needs which supports the on-going consumer trend of tailor-made products.

The millennial effect

The millennial generation is a riddle that is far from solved for most retailers and service providers but what is undeniable is the fact they operate differently to their predecessors. Characteristics such as trusting ongoing online dialogue in their decision making, seeking experiences from brands and not taking anything at face value provides both an opportunity and threat to banking.

As a part of the millennial group deciding on their main financial service providers, banks who capture their attention and provide a consistent experience across platforms can drive positive word of mouth and loyalty. Failing to do so will naturally lead to the exact opposite: losing customers and most likely a negative wave of online publicity.

“2015 is set to be a year of continued technological aances and trends and these emphasise the importance of keeping the consumer at the heart of what we as a bank do. This will allow us to serve, delight and build ger relationships with our customers to build the brand and ultimately enable them to bank better,” concluded Kleintjes.

Source : New Era