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Banking

THE DIGITAL FUTURE IS TODAY: WHY THE FUTURE OF BANKS’ WILL HINGE ON CUSTOMER CENTRICITY AND SMART DESIGN

Nanda Kumar, CEO of SunTec

 

As the financial services industry continues to tackle short- and long-term challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic market disruption, banks are facing a completely digital reality powered by accelerated digitalization.

Banks, which have for years relied on legacy technology and traditional processes, will be hard pressed to survive and remain competitive as new modes of operation amongst technology-driven, agile competitors push the pack forward. Banks will eventually face two options: embrace the methodologies of innovative market competitors, or risk losing long-term customer loyalty and thereby, revenue.

To build a secure future for themselves, banks must begin designing customer-centric solutions and making smart use of the assets and partners available to them. They must champion flexibility and scale to maximise the value they deliver, as they enter a new era of competition.

Banks were already under pressure to accelerate their digitalization efforts and revitalize the customer experience pre-pandemic, and COVID has forced their hand. According to a recent survey by management consultancy firm McKinsey,  the pandemic has not only accelerated client demand for digitally banking services, but clearly shown that bank customers are placing a higher reliance on their advisors during these uncertain times – bringing the importance of customer experience into sharp focus. It’s clear that banks cannot continue to make limited progress. It’s about a complete step change and an understanding that digital is now the norm, not a ‘nice-to-have’.

 

Customer and Competitor Pressures Mount

Especially during these disrupted times, the looming threat of customer recession and competitive challengers are catapulting banks’ technology projects – many of which are long overdue – into overdrive. As the Bank Governance Leadership Network (BGLN) recently highlighted,  COVID-19 has accelerated the industry pivot to digital, and new challenger banks and FinTech providers are expected to challenge the notion of  customer trust. While banks have understood the need for digital transformation for years, they now recognize the urgency to adapt so they can better manage rapidly changing customer priorities and market conditions.

With the entrance of technology goliaths like Google and Amazon, and user-centric banking and fintech platforms, like Venmo and PayPal, which leverage customer data to create not only reactive, but predictive customer journeys. Customers have come to expect bespoke and seamless user experiences, and as their expectations heighten, banks that don’t offer solutions that follow the entire customer journey will soon be left behind, ultimately forfeiting loyalty and retention in a generation of customers that values hyper-personalized experiences.

Digital is no longer an option for businesses – it’s an imperative. And none more so than banks. Most banking customers today would not even consider opening an account at a bank that did not have best-in-class digital capabilities.  It is critical that banks develop comprehensive plans that will enable them to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives and deliver a new level of personalized customer offerings. To do that, they will need to reimagine their holistic systems, processes, data and people.

 

Transforming the Core: Risk Reduction via Redesign

Though the ever-evolving demands of customer expectations and competitor innovation seem insurmountable, banks are actually well-positioned to compete. The key to reducing business risks lies within developing a clear digital strategy and redesigning core processes, leveraging their pre-existing data assets and partnerships.

By adopting a digital core and ‘hollowing out’ customer engagement functions from the core system, and managing it as a horizontal cross-enterprise layer, banks will be able to take a low-risk, modular approach, while offering enhanced product innovation capability, sophisticated customer data management, partner ecosystem and revenue management.

The digital core, which captures and meticulously logs the data from every customer interaction, relevant personal information, purchasing patterns, and more, is integral to improving customer centricity. By tapping into customers’ data, banks can leverage their information to meet their unique needs, create and bundle products, services and offers for any customer segment, and adopt relationship-based pricing strategies and new business models.

Furthermore, by utilising partnerships that maximise economies of scale, banks can quickly adopt new technologies, add more functionality, enhance the customer experience, provide customised internal and external products and integrated services. Most importantly, they can do this whilst maintaining ownership of the customer relationship and value prop.

 

Cloud: here today, and here to stay

The recent pandemic disruption highlighted the need for stable, reliable technology solutions that can weather market volatility. Especially as internal and customer functions faced increased risk and disruption, banks saw first-hand the need to embrace cloud capabilities to maintain a competitive edge.

Cloud computing offers banks the ability to innovate at faster and lower costs, increase the amount of services and offerings to customers, while monitoring and preventing revenue leakage. By reducing time to market and thereby creating new revenue streams, banks have the opportunity to accelerate their customers’ digital transformation journeys at an accessible price point.

Banks have begun to recognize the value that cloud infrastructure can offer their customers, and savvy organisations will take full advantage of cloud deployment’s benefits for their digital transformation projects across pricing, billing, product, loyalty, deal, offer, partner monetization, and tax management processes.

The opportunity for banks is to leverage the cloud’s flexibility, agility, scalability, high performance, security and strong reputation in handling large volumes of transactional data and functionality to translate it into value for their customers, instilling confidence in their ability to keep up with nimble industry players.

 

Keeping the customer at the center of design

In order to design solutions that keep customers content, banks musts assess the value that their products are offering to customers. With customer value, comes customer trust – and with trust, comes loyalty and ultimately business longevity. When designing solutions, banks must take similar strides to their fintech competitors – the most successful of which offer not siloed, but rather experience-based products and services.

Undoubtedly, the bank of the future will orbit around the growth of Solutions as a Service – providing hyper-personalized products and services for any customer segment, adopting relationship-based pricing strategies, and optimising billing processes. For banks to survive in this hyper-competitive market landscape, reinforcing value to customers will be paramount. Banks need to understand what customers truly want, and what they are trying to achieve with every interaction. Essentially, banks will have to shift their mindset to think like a customer, anticipate their needs, and restructure their traditional process to design holistic solutions catered to those needs.

Now more than ever, it is imperative for banks to focus on agility, scale, and speed to succeed in their digital transformation journeys. Driven by market competition and increasing customer demands, banks must build the bank of tomorrow, today – embracing the flexibility and cost efficiencies of partner models, existing data assets, and cloud computing to build experienced-based designs, deliver true value and ensure customer loyalty.

 

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Banking

WHY BANKS NEED TO EMBRACE WELLBEING IN THE DIGITAL EXPERIENCE

Howard Pull, Head of Digital Transformation Strategy at MullenLowe Profero

 

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the economy has been huge. Over the past six months, youth unemployment figures have dropped, wages have stagnated and GDP has fallen by a record 20.4%. The drop in GDP is worse than the 2008 Financial Crisis, the Winter of Discontent and the Great Depression.

While the furlough scheme and other government measures have provided some much-needed financial support, the prevailing social and economic conditions have made money worries increasingly common. According to a recent survey from MullenLowe Profero, during the pandemic 40% of 18-25-year-olds are afraid to look at their bank account, with a further 40% stating that thinking about their money has a negative impact on their own personal wellbeing.

In response to these rising financial concerns from account holders, it is clear that banks need to help people – especially young people – feel more confident in managing their money. In particular, banks need to provide more educational support to their customers about how they can make the right financial decisions. This means designing tools and support services to enable more people to effectively manage their finances.

With 60% of consumers aged 18-25 believing that banks should help them have the capacity to absorb a financial shock, financial institutions also need to adapt their products and services to meet the needs of more uncertain account holders.

Adapting services, however, is easier said than done. The pandemic has radically shaped consumer behaviours and therefore the old rules no longer apply. For example, while consumers in the past may have preferred to discuss financial matters in person at a bank branch, risk of infection and the widespread use of digital tools has meant that the majority of young people want banks to provide wellbeing services online.

Digital experiences are also important to the future success of any bank. According to MullenLowe Profero’s report, digital experience is now the number one reason why young people choose a bank. Therefore, it is clear that banks during the pandemic and beyond need to reevaluate their operations and shape their personal wellbeing strategies around digital tools.

 

Community and Global Wellbeing

MullenLowe Profero’s report into financial wellbeing found that young people weren’t just concerned with their own personal wellbeing. They were also concerned about the importance of community and global wellbeing too. In fact, over half of 18-25-year-olds agree that the events of the last few months have made them seek out brands that do better for the world, with another 50% stating that the importance of a local community has increased during the pandemic.

Community wellbeing is concerned with the importance of local areas and the businesses and organisations that are based within them, whereas global wellbeing is concerned about the entire world. For banks, showing support for areas local to their branches and customers as well as issues affecting the globe such as the climate crisis is important to maintaining the trust and support of account holders.

Focussing banks on concerns around community and global wellbeing requires banks to assess their impact on the wider world. In other words, it forces banks to check who they support and where their money could be better placed. For example, young people want to be recognised for their positive behaviours. 56% of 18-25-year-olds want rewards and benefits for purchasing ethical and sustainable products and services.

The findings of the report found that young people across the board want financial institutions to reflect their values and to help them manage their finances. With COVID-19 continuing to wreak havoc on our day to day lives, banks can provide much-needed support by offering educational help as well as creating products and services that actively manage an account holder’s finances. They can also step in and provide support to the wider community and world by taking measures to reward ethical and sustainable behaviours.

 

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Banking

IMPROVING THE BANKING EXPERIENCE THROUGH INFORMATIVE AND ENGAGING VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS

Javier Lopez, General Manager Vertical Solutions, OKI Europe Ltd

 

Banks play an integral role in daily life. However, everyday opportunities such as attracting new customers into branches to open an account, or promoting new offers and services to existing customers, can be lengthy, expensive and cumbersome processes – especially when tailoring communications to the specific requirements of each branch, or differing customer needs.

Quickly creating and adapting in-branch visual communications to communicate and educate cost effectively while remaining on brand can be a challenge, especially for banks that have networks of branches and print their visual communications centrally or use third-party suppliers.

 

Building trust through signage

Visual communications can help build trust and satisfaction between you and your customers.  The ability to create and print personalised communications on demand can not only instil confidence in your brand, it can also offer the flexibility to quickly adapt to financial trends and fluctuations in interest rates. This is particularly important in today’s volatile market, so that you can keep your customers informed while remaining competitive.

Javier Lopez

Printing in-branch and on-demand is an immediate and cost-effective way for banks to communicate with customers. With the right printer on-site, branch staff can easily create and print signage and customer communications as well as everyday documentation to a professional quality as and when needed. This saves on the cost of third-party suppliers and eliminates lead times for essential signage.

The ability to print a comprehensive range of collaterals in-house including freestanding and hanging banners, posters, self-adhesive floor and window stickers, as well as personalised leaflets and direct mailers, can help keep customers informed about the latest services and offers. It can also be used to remind both customers and staff to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Furthermore, the same printer can be used for day-to-day documents such as personalised mortgage or loan offers.

 

A message that sticks

As the world adjusts to a new normality, OKI Europe Ltd recognises the challenges banks face when encouraging social distancing and has teamed up with Floralabels to offer free* social distancing media and artwork to create self-adhesive floor stickers that can be printed quickly and easily from an A3 colour printer such as the C800 Series.  Floor stickers can help ensure customers maintain safe distances while queuing at counters, kiosks and ATMs. The free stickers include self-adhesive floor circles (285 x 285mm) and rectangular floor banners in two sizes (215 x 900mm and 297 x 1,320 mm) with various designs and messaging options to choose from.

 

Achieving ROI with a do-it-all device

When it comes to printing in-branch, implementing a printer with unrivalled media flexibility will provide the best return-on-investment. Not only will the bank be saving on printing and delivery time and costs, it will also save on storage space or potential wastage as well as offering the flexibility to be more reactive to market trends in a timely manner.

OKI’s multi award-winning C800 Series A3 colour printer is designed to take up a minimal footprint and will supply everything from 1.3m metre hanging and freestanding banners to posters, self-adhesive floor stickers, window stickers, leaflets, flyers and much more on a diverse range of materials. Featuring OKI’s pioneering digital LED technology, the C800 Series delivers professional quality results, at high speed and on-demand.

Banks are vital to helping people and businesses prosper, supporting economic growth. Investing in cost-effective do-it-all devices that enable the fast rollout of eye-catching, professional quality collateral will help banks and their customers thrive.

 

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