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New CX Business Models driving Financial Services Transformation

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New CX Business Models driving Financial Services Transformation

By Iain Banks, Regional Vice President, International Markets at TTEC, heads up the EMEA division and is an experienced, senior-level CX professional with a career spanning more than 18 years in the Global BPO/Contact Centre environment and with extensive experience of delivering CX and digital strategies for financial organisations;

In a complex, competitive and fast changing financial world with increasing customer demands, regulatory obligations, and disruptive technologies, the pressure is on for financial services to drive strategic growth and secure future success.  Many are looking at CX leadership to drive transformation to deliver differentiated, superior customer experiences.

Iain Banks

Iain Banks

40 percent of US millennials have switched banks due to poor customer service. Indeed, more than two-thirds (77 per cent) would switch to receive better service, according to recent research.

Meanwhile, in the traditionally slow-to-change insurance sector, 75 percent of incumbent insurers “believe the biggest impact to the industry will come from building new products to address the changing needs of the customer”, according to research from PwC and Startupbootcamp. Only 26% of financial executives say their contact centres are somewhat or very future-ready (down from 31% last year).  So how can the industry up its CX game?

Use emotion analytics

Emotion analytics enables you to treat individual customers differently, developing engagement that is personalized to each of their emotional as well as product needs. For example, the expected outcome of an inquiry may be to obtain a loan, but two customers with the same inquiry may have very different emotional needs, which in turn means they will respond differently to the same treatment.  For banks, the issue is about how to appear human in a highly automated world and empathic towards their customers to help build stronger relationships.

For instance, providing contact centre agents guidelines on how to connect with customers by looking at the intent of the request (e.g., taking out a loan), identifying a related action or service and then alerting customers to the opportunity. Another example may be taking the time to provide a special touch like a handwritten card. The key is to let customers know the company is listening to them and knows them well enough to offer services they can use, when they need them.

AIB is a great example of a bank placing associates at the forefront of their branch transformation.  Redesigned branches offer soft informal seating areas for customer discussions.  Tablets enable staff to hold informed consultative meetings, whilst sharing a screen with the customer.  If a more detailed discussion is needed with a specialist, customers can be introduced to an advisor via video conference, ensuring that the relevant specialist is available at all times.

Create contextually relevant Interactions

It can be tempting to automate and digitise as many interactions as possible, but experience shows this can be the wrong approach. For routine transactions, consumers prefer digital channels, but they give higher Net Promoter Scores to companies that allow customers to speak with a representative to resolve a problem, reports Bain & Co. Banks can earn greater loyalty by making routine interactions convenient and frictionless, while providing a high-touch service experience with an associate during emotional moments, such as an insurance claim.

Digital Customers

According to a J.D. Power survey, digital-only banking customers were dissatisfied with three areas: communication and advice; products and fees; and new account opening. Overcome those obstacles by helping customers understand the ins and outs of their digital banking services; assign associates to follow up on partially completed or abandoned activities like filling out online loan forms, allow customers to choose how they’d like to receive onboarding information (FAQ, live chat, voice, etc.), ask customers if they are satisfied with the onboarding experience and give them the option to contact a representative if they select “no” or have further questions.  In addition to the onboarding session, offer new customers a short review of what they purchased, how to use it, and provide details around accompanying products and services that might be helpful.

Using disruptive technologies

Organisations can combine the latest technologies in new, customer centric ways to provide better services. For example, instead of building a voice-enabled assistant with features similar to a website or app, what would enable a new way for banks to build and extend customer relationships?  Many financial services organizations take this approach.  “It will be less about a website or a mobile app as a destination and more about being where our members are and integrating with the technology around them, such as IoT and virtual assistants,” said Melissa Ehresman, USAA’s AVP of bank digital experiences, in the tech blog Tearsheet.

USAA are not alone, car insurance start-up Cuvva set up in 2014 is a mobile app you simply enter the registration number and approximate value of the car you are borrowing from a friend or family member, choose the time you want to be covered for, take a picture of the car and Cuvva will get you an instant quote. Cuvva integrates with Facebook so that you can see which of your friends have cars to borrow.

Cuvva queries various data sources to check driving licence data (The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s MyLicence scheme), the Claims and Underwriting Exchange and automated fraud protection to verify coverage quicker than legacy players can.

Launched in 2017, Homelyfe is a UK-based “insurtech” start-up that seeks to offer customers a range of insurance policies that they are able to manage from a single app. The app is designed to remove third parties, sales teams and comparison sites completely out of the equation by enabling customers to get quotes, purchase, manage and renew multiple insurance policies via their intuitive iOS and Google Play app.

Having launched its first insurance product at the start of 2018, Homelyfe claims to have slashed the process of securing a home insurance policy to under four minutes, and has its own rating engine and broker emulating system to pull third party data to expedite the process by learning as much as possible about users to cut basic questions out of the purchase process.

Understand which customer you are serving

Knowing which customer is in front of you is essential to understanding how to provide better service. Banks can now track individual preferences, including how a customer responds to marketing messages and behaves at different points in the customer journey. For example, the bank should know when a decrease in engagement is a warning sign, and when it’s an indication of customer satisfaction.

Creating a 360-degree assessment based on customer, employee, and market information can uncover a number of strategic issues needed to address transformation. A cultural change management programme designed to incentivise branch staff to deliver the right customer experience at each interaction can drive loyalty and increase sales.

Finally, create a roadmap for new initiatives. That way, only the initiatives with the strongest customer experience impact would be launched and more resources would be dedicated to ensuring that they would be executed well.

Finance

These 5 Payments Trends Once Seemed Revolutionary. In 2021, They’ll Continue to Become the Norm

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Real-time payments – mitigating the security risks to capitalise on the opportunities

By Warren Hayashi, President, Asia-Pacific, Adyen.

The pandemic forced brands to transform their businesses in ways that are here to stay

After a year of such great uncertainty, attempting to predict the future may seem risky. But even as brands and retailers faced unprecedented upheaval in 2020, one constant has held true. The pandemic has accelerated trends toward digitisation—and that’s as true in payments as in so many other areas of business and society. The stark reality of needing to avoid close contact with others has driven transformations for retailers and brands in a matter of months that in the past might have taken years. In the process, behaviours and expectations have changed for good.

As 2021 begins, much uncertainty remains but we feel confident that the digital transformation of payments will only get faster. Even after the pandemic has receded and consumers have the option to go back to their old behaviours, many won’t. The rapid increase in e-commerce seen under COVID-19 will persist, especially among previously digital-hesitant consumers. Merchants can no longer assume that their digital customers are limited to younger, tech-savvy shoppers. As brands have shown flexibility during the pandemic, consumers have also come to expect the flexible arrangements to continue. On that note, these are the key trends in payments that should be top-of-mind for brands and retailers in Singapore and Asia Pacific in 2021:

  1. Contactless will extend its reach into every corner of retail

From the start, the pandemic forced merchants to find ways to minimize the amount of physical contact necessary to complete a transaction. Customers and workers alike sought to avoid handing over credit and debit cards, touching keypads, and handling cash. According to our 2020 Agility Report 58% of APAC respondents preferred to use contactless payment methods because of hygiene concerns.

Our data also showed that the use of services such as Apple Pay and Google Pay has significantly increased over the last year too. Research from Kantar reiterates this, revealing that the frequency of e-Wallets transactions in Southeast Asia rose from an average of 18% pre-COVID-19 to 25% post-COVID-19[1], indicating a shift from one payment method to another.

In the post-pandemic world, the transition to contactless will only become more widespread now that the bar has been raised among consumers for what checking out can be, from one-click payments to same-day delivery options. Not to mention, the value of QR codes has also been made apparent in anchoring a seamless experience, not just at point-of-sale but at multiple points along the customer journey too, such as viewing menus and placing orders. The pandemic may have driven the change in behavior, but the superior user experience will cement contactless as the new normal.

  1. The distinction between offline and online will fade into irrelevance

As countries went into different forms of lockdown, many shoppers were unable to enter brick-and-mortar stores throughout 2020. Unifying offline and online became an issue of survival for retailers, who quickly pivoted to make app-powered deliveries and self-pick up options a reality.

Even while most physical stores in Singapore have opened their doors to consumers again, the digital infrastructure will remain in place. Many shoppers continue to prefer the convenience of deliveries and expect the options to continue, and retailers will find they’re able to forge better customer relationships thanks to the rich data generated by digital transactions.

One of the biggest learnings for the industry is the need to rethink the traditional split between offline and online stores. With lines increasingly blurred, retailers will benefit from adopting a unified commerce approach where brand interactions on and across all channels are important.

  1. The membership model will reign in retail and also in food and beverage

The membership model is another emerging trend for 2021. Amazon Prime is a great example of this, where customers pay an annual fee that in effect encourages them to buy more from Amazon in an effort to ensure they’re getting their money’s worth from their Prime memberships. Quick-serve restaurants especially are seeking to seize some of that flywheel effect. In addition to improved incremental spend, membership programs enable QSRs to get to know their customers in ways that were never possible when they were just anonymous faces standing in line.

Meanwhile, subscription passes encourage loyalty and more frequent use. Our 2020 Agility Report found that 38% of Singapore respondents (compared to 27% in APAC and 22% in Europe) signaled their interest in using these for products, including food passes, to reduce the amount of times they need to shop. Expect to see more retailers offering memberships in 2021 as brands seek to own the customer relationship and the data that goes along with it.

  1. Installments will become an everyday way to pay

The twin forces of increased convenience and tightened household budgets have brought pay-by-installment options mainstream, a trend that will only grow in 2021. Machine learning algorithms have become more adept than ever at assessing risk instantaneously, making it easy to offer “buy now, pay later” options right at checkout. For small and mid-ticket items, shoppers know that, say, instead of paying $100 now, they’ll pay $25 per month for four months. That kind of transparency makes it easier for shoppers on the fence to commit, which appeals to merchants hoping to avoid the dreaded abandoned shopping cart.

In 2021, providers of “buy now, pay later” options themselves will start to diverge, as some focus on higher-end, multi-year agreements, while others seek to offer installment plans for shopping baskets as small as $50. For households increasingly accustomed to paying by the month for everything from streaming services to food delivery premium memberships, installment plans start to look like subscriptions that just happen to have a fixed end date.

  1. The checkout-less experience will draw shoppers back to brick-and-mortar

In 2020, the appeal of an in-store experience offering limited human contact took on a new dimension, accelerating interest in doing away with the checkout counter altogether. For instance, in Singapore, BHG is looking to expand its endless aisle offering. By using interactive screens in-store, customers are able to check on inventories across all of BHG’s stores and e-commerce platform and can opt to have items to be delivered directly to their homes.  Post-pandemic, shoppers will still find appeal in the human touch. The physical store continues to be relevant, especially in Asia Pacific and eliminating checkout counters frees staff to interact with shoppers in a more personal way, while also making lines a thing of the past.

In 2021, more stores will find various ways to make checkout a less prominent part of how people shop in-store. Multiple providers are creating their own versions of checkout-less experiences, where instead of going to the counter, customers will scan their items with their phones’ cameras, pay via app, and head out the door—a combination of increased trust and decreased friction that helps cultivate customer loyalty. In the case of Love, Bonito in Singapore, if customers are unable to find a particular item in store, they can go to an iPad within the premises, buy it online and have it shipped to their homes.

Across the five trends, this paradigm shift in the retail sector is underpinned by the under-tapped potential of technology to elevate the customer experience. Looking ahead in the new year, we expect retailers to increasingly harness digital solutions. Not only does this streamline operations, it also gives retailers the flexibility to pivot in line with changing preferences, and provide a seamless consumer journey across multiple channels.

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Bitcoin heads for worst weekly loss in months

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Bitcoin heads for worst weekly loss in months 1

By Tom Westbrook

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin wavered on Friday and was heading toward its sharpest weekly drop since September, as worries over regulation and its frothy rally drove a pullback from recent record highs.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency fell more than 5% to an almost three-week low of $28,800 early in the Asia session, before steadying near $32,000. It has lost 11% so far this week, the biggest drop since a 12% fall in September.

Traders said a report posted to Twitter by BitMEX Research https://twitter.com/BitMEXResearch/status/1351855414103715842 suggesting that part of a bitcoin may have been spent twice was enough to trigger selling, even if concerns were later resolved.

“You wouldn’t want to rationalise too much into a market that’s as inefficient and immature as bitcoin, but certainly there’s a reversal in momentum,” said Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG Markets in Melbourne, in the wake of the BitMEX report.

“The herd has probably looked at this and thought it sounded scary and shocking and it’s now the time to sell.”

Bitcoin was trading more than 20% below the record high of $42,000 hit two weeks ago, losing ground amid growing concerns that it is one of a number of price bubbles and as cryptocurrencies catch regulators’ attention.

During a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday, Janet Yellen, President Joe Biden’s pick to head the U.S. Treasury, expressed concerns that cryptocurrencies could be used to finance illegal activities.

That followed a call last week from European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde for global regulation of bitcoin.

Still, some said the pullback comes with the territory for an asset that is some 700% above the 2020 low of $3,850 hit in March.

“It’s a highly volatile piece,” said Michael McCarthy, strategist at brokerage CMC Markets in Sydney. “It made extraordinary gains and it’s doing what bitcoin does and swinging around.”

Second-biggest cryptocurrency ethereum intially slipped to a one-week low on Friday before rising 6% late in the Asia session to $1,177.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; editing by Leslie Adler & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Oil prices fall as China’s surging COVID-19 cases trigger clampdowns

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Oil prices fall as China's surging COVID-19 cases trigger clampdowns 2

By Sonali Paul and Koustav Samanta

MELBOURNE/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices dropped on Friday, retreating further from 11-month highs hit last week, weighed down by worries that new pandemic restrictions in China will curb fuel demand in the world’s biggest oil importer.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped 53 cents, or 1%, to $52.60 a barrel at 0445 GMT, after slipping 18 cents on Thursday.

Brent crude futures fell 45 cents, or 0.8%, to $55.65 a barrel, erasing a 2 cent gain on Thursday.

Recovering fuel demand in China underpinned market gains late last year while the United States and Europe lagged, but that source of support is fading as a fresh wave of COVID-19 cases has sparked new restrictions to contain the spread.

“Indeed, investors are struggling to see through short-term pain for long-term gain heading into the weekend as COVID case counts in China are the most significant demand concern for traders,” Axi chief market strategist Stephen Innes said in a note.

The commercial hub of Shanghai reported its first locally transmitted cases in two months on Thursday, and Beijing is urging people not to travel during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, when tens of millions of urban workers typically head back to their villages.

A seasonal boost to China’s gasoline demand that is typically seen during the New Year holidays will be moderated by the tightened restrictions this year, consultancy FGE said in a note.

“We now have some data on vaccine rollouts, which show that acceptability is a bit on the low side, so pace of implementation may be slow… There may well be a bearish momentum developing (in oil markets),” said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta.

The market is awaiting official oil inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Friday, after industry data on Wednesday showed a surprise 2.6 million barrel increase in U.S. crude inventories last week compared with analysts’ forecasts for a 1.2 million barrel draw. [API/S]

(Reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Koustav Samanta in Singapore; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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