Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Unified platforms usher in the age of engagement banking

Banking is transforming. To usher in systems that meet customer expectations, banks need to rely on technology to sail into the age of engagement banking

Published: Aug 30, 2022 05:11:28 PM IST
Updated: Aug 30, 2022 07:59:59 PM IST

Unified platforms usher in the age of engagement bankingThe financial industry is being revolutionised. Changes that we witness in the banking sector today are unprecedented. Such advancements in the banking sector signify the start of a new technological era, where the success of financial institutions will depend on customer engagement. Retail and commercial clients demand new digital experiences requiring sound processes and infrastructure.

To discuss the nuances of the Age of Engagement Banking, where unified technology platforms will craft user experience, Ruchiraa Sharma from Moneycontrol spoke to Mr Ankur Tripathi, Chief Information Officer at AU Small Finance Bank, Mr Ashwin Khorana, Chief Information Officer at Ujjivan Small Finance Bank and Mr Riddhi Dutta, Regional Head for ASEAN South Asia at Backbase.

Incorporating technology to enhance customer experience

Mr Ankur Tripathi, Chief Information Officer at AU Small Finance Bank, said, ‘ In the last year, we have seen digital channels being adopted. The adoption rate is probably three times where we were about a year back. The way customers interact with their bank has become digital and real-time. What is working or not working, drop-off rates and sentiments can be tracked. Personalisation and user experience of the banking digital channels are being modelled based on e-commerce platforms and even media streaming platforms.’

In terms of competition with fintech and digital banks, Mr Ankur feels there is no particular competition, and it is more of a co-create and co-build effort. Banks are willing to collaborate to bring in the best-in-class customer experience and will have their place in the future.

A visible change in banking operations

Mr Ashwin Khorana, Chief Information Officer at Ujjivan Small Finance Bank, acknowledges, ‘about 80 to 85 per cent of our transactions are online with our customers. Technology has made this happen across the entire ecosystem. It is now possible to service the customer 24-7. People have stopped going to the ATMs to withdraw cash and use UPI to pay wherever they go.’

He highlights that the banking experience should be the same across mobile phones, laptops, or desktops. More banks are working to ensure the correct experiences on the right devices while reducing the time required to render a service. A change is visible as ‘We have seen days where it took up to four days to deposit money - that turnaround time has reduced significantly. Today, unsecured loans are made available within seconds and a secured loan within a day. That's how technology has changed business.’

Ujjivan Small Finance Bank’s vision is ‘.. to take banking across the ecosystem, not just with the people who can read and write but also with those who don't. ..provide every customer with a method to customise banking for themselves.’ The effort will ride on the back of technology and robust processes. And for that reason, it is important to be mindful of limitations. Current technologies are available for the front end; whereas the audit trail is concerned, that still happens on legacy systems.

Technology that brings ease and engagement

Mr Riddhi Dutta, Regional Head for ASEAN South Asia at Backbase, says, 'e-commerce and even entertainment platforms influence the expectations that customers have of the  digital experience offered by a bank. This is the age of instant gratification.' Service delivery is linked to how banks are organised internally. Banks are still organised in silos defined using products or customer profiles. Technology will be the key driver to move the needle from traditional silos to more horizontal omnichannel platforms of engagement banking.

As banking is on the cusp of change, Mr Dutta beautifully describes the skirmish between the new and the old, ‘... banks have been set up to play a very large positive role in the overall financial management of a customer... India is not yet at a stage where there are so-called new digital banks who are big enough or have the capacity to take on the traditional banks.’

The age of engagement banking

In summary, engagement banking will enhance customer experience, maintain customer loyalty and manage non-traditional competitors. It is easy to see why there is a lot of focus on improving customer experience. As banks move towards digitisation, consistent focus on value and building a culture that supports better customer engagement hold the key to the future success of financial organisations.

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