by Vaishnavi J Desai

How new focus areas will help Indian banks catch up with digitization in 2016

Jan 27, 2016
CIOFinancial Services IndustryiPad

Banks in 2016 have to focus on innovation and customer experience to match up to the expectations.

What’s more important than appeasing your customer? Especially at times when you have to roll out new products and solutions. As Indian banks have already started the journey towards a digitized future in 2015, it’s a no brainer that there have to be strategies to match up to customer expectations. Therefore, banks have to focus on customer experience and give innovation a higher priority in the budget.

“Banks will have to re-align resource strategy to continuously to innovate in this space. The CIO will have to have two teams: One running a sprint and other running the marathon. The sprint team will quickly ensure innovation and launch of new products, while the marathon team would work towards stabilization and scaling of bank systems,” says Asit Oberoi, group president and COO at YES BANK.

Also read: Steve Ellis, Wells Fargo reveals how innovation can take banking to the next level

In days to come, banks will have to understand that all the innovation may not happen within and hence it becomes important to scout for young startups and organizations that are continuously exploring these opportunities and building solutions in new areas. 

The CIO will have to have two teams: The sprint team will quickly ensure launch of new products, while the marathon team would work towards stabilization and scaling of bank systems.

Wells Fargo has gone a step ahead and formed an innovation group that will ease its shift to digital ecosystem. Steve Ellis, EVP, head of Innovation, Wells Fargo in an interview with said, “The innovation group was created with the idea to transform the banking experience of customers. Therefore, as a lot of solutions come into the picture we need a framework to connect things together and not individually.”

Focus on Customer Experience

Customer will have a lot of expectations from the banking sector in 2016. Banks should first and foremost concentrate on creating an omni-channel experience for the customer.

An omni-channel experience will ensure the bank doesn’t lose a customer, immaterial of the medium they chose to connect with. Take this scenario, for instance: A user sees a particular product of a bank on his desktop at home. En route to office, he checks more features of the product on his iPad, and calls up the customer care to enquire more about it. Later, he opts for the product from his phone.

Read more: Indian CEOs Want to Champion Digital Technologies

“To make this kind of scenario possible, banks should provide a customer-centric, omni-channel experience, where a user can pick up information from where he last left, irrespective of the device he uses,” says Shiv Kumar Bhasin, CTO, State Bank of India.

Customer experience has always been the key and we will see a significant increase in their expectations in 2016. Customers will become more impatient and service delivery will have to reach the highest levels of accuracy and swift turn-around time.

Customer retention will depend heavily on customer convenience and the spread of services available to them. Every aspect of customer interaction with banks and various touch points will have to be digitized and omnipresent. Bank will have to do away with standard responses, and one-size fit-all solutions.

“We plan to educate at least 40 percent of our customers based in Tier-1 cities on the bank’s digital products by the end of 2016. We will concentrate first on Tier-1 cities, and later we will move on to Tier-2 and-3 cities,” says M. A. Nayagam, GM-IT, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank.

He says corporate customers are ready, but customers from middle-class and lower-middle-class backgrounds have to be brought in to the fold. This is time-consuming and will take a few more years.