Q&A : Reimagining digital customer engagement in financial services

Imagine a world where you can get all your questions answered in one minute. Or logging onto a service and immediately finding an offer that fits your needs to a tee. You can also address an issue with your bank immediately instead of spending half an hour arguing with an agent. Living in today’s digital world has brought these ambitions to life. Today, personalization, efficiency and seamlessness are no longer bonus points for customer experience; they are essential.

With the integration of tech into daily interactions, customers are raising the bar on their expectations towards digital interactions with businesses. Currently, 71% of customers want tailored interactions, and businesses that successfully meet these expectations are likely to see a good return. Banks that provide engagements leveraging on important life moments are seeing an average increase in conversion rates by 3.5x.

At a recent webinar, Genesys invited Arivuvel Ramu, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Tonik Bank and David Porter, Managing Director (MD) of financial services at Genesys to share their thoughts on digital engagement in the financial services sector.

From what it means for banks and customers to developing better customer relationships, the two leaders discussed customer engagement trends in detail and how that can help drive revenue for banks.

Firstly, thank you for participating in the panel, Ramu. Tonik Bank seeks to address the current Philippines market that is 70% unbanked through self-service-based mobile apps, conversational AI and digital services. Now, this question applies to both you and David. What do you believe are the challenges banks face regarding digital customer engagement?

Ramu: It is happening as we speak, especially from the perspective of the customer landscape. As we slowly emerge out of COVID-19, the Southeast Asian market is stabilising, and we are at its precipice. The change in customer acquisition acts as one of the greatest challenges for banks.

Digital-only banks cannot utilise traditional methods to acquire customers. Instead, as digital banks, we need to target the right customer segment through the right targeted digital campaigns. We also must focus our efforts on the rural and remote users and seek ways on how we can improve the relationship with digital means. For example, rural and remote users want quick resolution times, similar to most customers. Chatbots and social messengers help make this vision a reality.

Peeking into the next two years of Southeast Asia’s financial service sector, we learn that there is good and bad news. The good news is that most financial services are thrilled for making it out of COVID. The bad news – there are signs of a storm brewing among us. Currently, raising capital is tough. Most venture capital (VC) backed fintech, including Tonik Bank, are trying to operate with minimum CAPEX and OPEX for another 18 to 24 months. We are focusing on profitable and sustainable initiatives that require digital transformation.

Thus, it is important that we prioritise digital touch points and modernise digital journeys. Examples include voice, social media channels like Facebook or WhatsApp and self-servicing apps. At the same time, banks look to optimise the lending journey, particularly the underwriting and fraud capabilities. We at Tonik Bank also aim to deliver multilingual contextual responses through conversational artificial intelligence (AI).

David: Building on top of Ramu, banks worldwide are grappling with priorities like customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX), cost, revenues, volumes and channels. However, each of these is not progressing at the same level.

We understand what going digital and offering self-service means for our business in terms of cost and branch staffing levels. But we don’t know how the new business model is in the digital space, its inner workings and how it works to drive revenue. It is easy to offer self-service for simple banking products, but when it comes to a more complex product, customers might feel intimidated and not follow through. Banks worldwide noted within their metrics that the percentage of households with multiple complex products is declining. That’s a problem, as complex products drive the most revenues in for most businesses.

Another example is CX and EX. As it stands, CX numbers are no longer buried on page 64 of a monthly operating report; instead, they are right up front, proving the banks’ amazing job within the last ten years. In contrast, most traditional banks have yet to master EX, and there seem to be no new plans for improvement. Moreover, both CX and EX intrinsically correlate because clients will judge your organisation’s quality based on their interaction with the first person they speak to. This means that your interactions, both digital and human, must be seamless and tight.

Fantastic. On the topic of the customer journey, how do you maintain a healthy customer interaction while ensuring it is empathetic and in line to accelerate digital engagement?

Ramu: Banks should always prioritise keeping the customer at the heart of their interactions while accelerating digital engagement. We focused on three initiatives targeted at hyper-personalisation and how best we can provide the healthiest customer interaction. These include:

  1. Providing customers with the ability to self-serve by harnessing automation with machine learning and AI-powered conversations. By tying these technologies with existing customer data in the backend, the conversational automated-driven solution can provide automated responses to most queries.
  2. Ensuring customers receive swift services whenever they opt for human-to-human interactions. A 360-degree customer view allows agents to follow along the customer journey, understand customers’ issues immediately and solve them without additional friction.
  3. Reaching out to customers proactively at the right channel at the right time. Banks need to integrate customer data with AI-powered analytics to identify trends in real-time, creating efficient, meaningful interactions through the right touchpoints.

An excellent answer, and to focus on what you mentioned, hyper-personalisation. It is crucial to contextualise business and make it simple for any customer. David, you have been in the banking industry for many years. How can we engage with our customers better?

David: I’ve been working for American Express for many years, and its mantra – place the customer at the centre of everything you do. That means constantly surveying with the right listening and brand tracking tools.

Regular feedback surveys, albeit useful, often produces a similar end result. Clients always want better performances, lower fees and kinder people. So instead, let’s ask clients about their astounding experiences outside of banks. And then we need to know, study and mystery shop these experiences. Performing these steps will help banks attain richer feedback from clients to create meaningful and higher quality improvements for their services and products.

I strongly agree that banks need to start looking out of the financial services sector to uncover stronger ways for richer engagement. However, what would you say are some of the best steps that banks can consider adding today to their repertoire when working out a superior digital customer engagement strategy?

David: It’s important to have the concept of customer journeys when designing banking solutions. Take wealth management, for example, a facet of the bank that is not keen on digital implementation in the last 10 to 15 years. That is because wealth managers are the centrepiece of the client relationship. However, things are changing now.

Let’s look at a private banking client who is interested in buying shares in a certain company. She places a trade for the shares and then calls her adviser about it. Her advisor will probably want to confirm the purchase and see a statement update on her communications site.

But now with digital, you get to integrate all of this data on a single platform, so everyone knows what is happening, just in case something goes wrong. This is great for both the client and the advisor. By thoroughly understanding the customer journey, only then can we embed the right technology that is helpful for all stakeholders.

Another avenue which banks should consider is on improving their outbound capabilities. Electronic digital channels and chatbots translate to better collections when handling Gen Z and millennial customers with delinquent accounts. Digital channels provide more anonymity than traditional phone calls, leading to better collection rates among the younger generation as it can help avoid unpreferred situations. We are also seeing demand and a lot of innovation for messaging capabilities.

I agree that these do help enrich the customer journey with digital engagement. And to end out with the last question for David, where do you see the future of financial services in the digital space and their efforts to achieve solid digital customer acquisition and engagement?

David: Reinforcing similar points Ramu had mentioned earlier, there are 3 key areas where I can foresee financial services expending their efforts in the digital space. These are;

  1. Enhancing the ability to serve and accelerating digital experiences.
  2. Client contact points. Traditional connection methods are changing, and we must be aware of them. Digital channels are boosting the frequency of client contact, particularly within the younger demographics.
  3. Employee engagement and finding new ways to innovate the experience for the employees within the industry.

To improve these three areas, banks must have the right plans, budgets and engagements.

Orchestrating digital services at scale

Genesys believes that understanding customer needs and having the right technologies are crucial in delivering extraordinary experiences. So if your organisation is facing transformation challenges or just starting in your transformation journey, Genesys is here to help.

To learn more on how financial services companies accelerate digital engagement and personalise customer experiences, check out the On-demand webinar : Reimagining digital customer engagement in financial services.


Genesys ChatQuick links
Close Widget

Genesys ChatLive Assistance