Andrea Benito
Middle East Editor

How Middle Eastern Banks are creating hyper-personalized digital banking experiences

Aug 02, 20233 mins
mobile banking / online banking / FinTech / financial app
Credit: ipopba / Getty Images

In line with the global industry trends, financial institutions across the Middle East have found themselves in the midst of a digitally fueled revolution that is reshaping the industry as we know it and ushering in a new ecosystem. From migrating to cloud-based infrastructures to creating hyper-personalized customer experiences, financial institutions are rethinking their operations, infrastructure, security, and work models. During IDC Financial Services Congress that took place in Dubai, the concept was clear, digital-first is no longer a goal it’s a reality.

“You need to know what the customer needs, for example at  Commercial Bank of Dubai we launched almost 15 months ago our CBD card, with this card the customer can pick and choose what they want in it, even the plastic is personalized, but this is not about the product anymore, this is about the services you offer, we need to make sure the customer is engaged, build the relationship and build a complete channel experience for them, whether the customer go to the branch, call or use the internet,” says Thomas Cherian, CIO at Commercial Bank of Dubai.

The number of channels people use to contact their financial service providers has grown in recent years, especially in the wake of the pandemic. But despite the increasing use of these digital channels, it seems that people still prefer the human touch traditionally offered by their bank or insurance branch.

According to Sumat Kumar, Senior VP and Head of IT Applications support at RAK Bank, the company has a new motto “We are digital with a human touch”. The company does not want to be fully digital: “Of course we want to offer those digital experiences but there are still customers who want a human touch and not to depend on technology so we moved to customised to personalized.”

Another goal was moving to the cloud and getting rid of those legacy applications. “To deliver this hypersonalized customer experience we need to collect a lot of data, and we need to build the trust of the customer. We need to be transparent: what data are we collecting and how do we use it? There are a lot of legacy applications which are now on premise, we should move to the cloud, it’s the only option.” adds.

So, what is the state of the art in terms of offering a good customer experience? “There’s no one specific technology, but to start I will say it’s all about data, we need to make sure we have a strong solid data infrastructure where we all are able to collect data and monetize it, on top of that there’s AI where you try to see how unique experiences you can offer to customers,” says the CIO at Commercial Bank of Dubai,.

The fact is that banking relationships are won and lost based on overall digital experiences. Organizations that don’t hurry to give customers more financial tools to provide actionable advice are created by developing hyper-personalized experiences leveraging automation, AI, and modern platform technology present in today’s online and mobile banking solutions.

“If you look at retail commerce, the way these companies bring personalization is the next level, for example, delivery apps such as Careem or Talabat, these two apps are becoming super apps, both understand the customer and the data and offer personal experiences,” Thomas adds.