Today’s customers are not interested in which technologies and service channels retail banks are using, they are only interested in simplicity, convenience and availability. So, whether payments and banking services are via a mobile device, NFC contactless card, ATM or in branch, Paul Chandler, Financial Software and Systems General Manager Europe and Africa, explains why the customer experience must be seamless, painless and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Recent YouGov SixthSense research in the UK, found that customer service has increased in significance when considering a change of provider, with 46% of consumers saying that it has become more important to them over the past two years. More telling, however, is the increased popularity of online banking (60%) over the same period.
The report also shows that retail banking customers appreciate good customer service, but it isn’t just when visiting a branch that this is expected. Banks need to provide a truly integrated multi-channel offering to today’s channel agnostic consumers. And as the next generation enter the workforce and become active consumers they will want to pay in the way that makes most sense to them, and that’s mobile.
Compound this in the UK with the September introduction of the Vickers account switching report (which proposes reducing the time it takes for customers to move accounts between lenders down to seven days from the current 31 days) and traditional banks will need to up their game to not only keep existing customers but to withstand the assault on their customer base by nimble new market entrants, such as mobile service providers and non-financial digital experts.
“Banks need to track the developments in the mobile and digital payments market and adapt their operations so that they can address their customers’ demands. If not, they risk being left behind,” says Paul Chandler, general manager Europe and Africa for Financial Software and Systems (FSS) Technologies UK.
However many traditional retail banks are prevented from taking advantage of new technologies. This is not due to a lack of understanding of the changing landscape, but rather by legacy thinking and processes. This will need to change as the market gets more competitive and consumer driven. The banks that survive will be those that leverage their credibility whilst facilitating change.
“One solution is to outsource the infrastructure and systems management allowing the banks to focus on services and products, not on hardware and software,” adds Paul Chandler.
FSS is a global payment systems company providing outsourced solutions and services in the areas of electronic payment and financial transaction processing. With an established technology portfolio, over 100 companies use its systems, including some of the world’s largest public and private sector banks.
“Our core business is providing cost-effective outsourced transactions processing, bringing agility and flexibility to both established and new financial institutions. We have helped many banks embrace the challenge of monetising mobile and contactless solutions and have delivered a range of mobile and NFC solutions to meet the demands of their banking customers,” says Paul Chandler.
It is also essential that banks track developments in the mobile payments market and adapt their mobile operations accordingly so they can address their customers’ demands, otherwise they will risk being left behind in a rapidly changing digital world.
The benefits of focusing on customer engagement extends far beyond satisfaction and loyalty as it also provides a valuable source of revenue enhancement. A customer who regularly interacts with their bank across the various channels is a much easier customer to alert to relevant products, promotions and services.
“Customers are becoming increasingly channel-agnostic and banks cannot allow themselves to be constrained by legacy systems or legacy thinking. Customers will increasingly demand flexible, multi-channel services from their bank and expect the same service levels when mobile. Banks must be ready to meet this need and maximize the opportunity this provides to increase revenue streams.”