Banks are constantly trying to adapt new and innovative ways for providing easy and convenient banking for their customers, making sure they remain loyal and continue to use their services.  The customers of today, are well informed, aware and have good judgment about what they want, making it harder for banks to keep a competitive edge.

This motivates as well as challenges the banks to constantly try to find innovative and quick solutions for better customer experience so they can strength their relationship with the customers when they visit or call a bank.

Banks look into creating and adding value for the various customers they have, be it front office dealings, sales, insurance advise or simply deposit or withdrawal. The goal is to provide customers with easy and accessible service.

Banks face a broad spectrum of problems when trying to provide smooth service to customers, which range from all sorts of technological issues to optimization etc.  Banks need to find the right solutions for their services so they can provide customers with personalized services as well as lower costs for themselves.

Optimizing Channels

Banks often face the problem of not having enough staff to handle face -to -face customers and callers at the same time, decreasing productivity and negatively impacting customer cycle time and satisfaction.

Research shows that despite the fact that businesses offer toll numbers, online banking, emails, ATM’s and other solutions for customers,  they still choose to make call  in their local branches. This creates a lack of employee resource in the banks because they have to shift between phone calls and attending visits. The solution to this is to create an accessible and organized channel so customers can view all the required information themselves and get a quick service.

“When Cisco surveyed 5300 consumers across eight countries – Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Mexico, US and the UK – it found that one-third of them visited the branch frequently despite their use of alternative channels.”

Along with this the employees should also be given an optimized software data base system which they can access to retrieve customer information so they can handle the customer properly.  Tools like chatting/calling directly to an expert of the bank, no matter where they are, through the website can be a great solution to handle customers.

Optimized channels help the sales representatives pick up on potential clients by tracking their interaction with other channels of the bank and understanding their profile data. The collection of a customer’s profile can help the attending team categorize the customer, as high value or potential customer and direct them to the right person in the organization.

Optimized channels cut costs and increase productivity

Optimizing channels and routing the information in the correct direction, not only is an advantage for the customers but also the organization that benefits a great deal from it.

The positive affect is providing the customer with personalized service and letting him or her feel like they are in control to make their own decisions and can access their information from anywhere, makes the bank service more transparent and dependable. An optimized channel allows customers to be directed towards quick solutions, for e.g., transactions and all are transferred to self-service channels.

Adopting technological banking solutions

Different companies out there are providing banking solutions to help banks improve service and equip customers to be their own bankers and save time, by not having to wait in line or stay on hold on the phone. Leading solution providers like IBM and Cisco provide front office banking that brings together the hardware, software and services to create a multifaceted platform for customer care.

These solutions have become the edge of the customer service and provide competition to other organizations which are still trying to adopt these new methods of banking. Online solutions provide customers the leisure to be able to talk to an expert and get his or her opinion no matter where they are, either by a video kiosk in the bank branch. This makes the customer valued since his or her time is being respected and their needs are catered without any delay from the bank’s side.

Data utilization and mining

The biggest challenge that we see banks facing these days is of managing the abundance of data that is stored regarding the customers and their banking history. Stored information is channeled towards different departments of the bank where the information is processed and entered as the customer’s history.

This has multiple benefits; both for the customer as well as the bank itself. Having information about the customer allows the banks to rank the customer in a particular category depending on what service he or she is using from the bank, which in turn equips the bank to better understand the needs and wants of the customer and tailor the product  and service accordingly .

The banks on the other hand are able to evaluate customers that can be potentials for cross-selling and up-selling. It is known information that high profits are derived from deepening relationships with existing customers then building to make new ones.

When the sales team has done its research and collected enough data about the customer, they can be “sales ready” and try to offer an additional product or service to an existing customer, which naturally supplements increase in sales and produces higher revenues.

Personal touch

No matter how digitalized a bank may become, customers are always looking for a personal touch in their service, so they are confident that they are dealing with real people and not just computers.

Smart banks will be the banks that cache in on digitalization yet continue to provide a personal touch in their service so the customer remains satisfied and pleased. Where banks these days are struggling their way to their technological agility in order to beat competition, a bank can lead by providing both digitalization and personal touch; which is to have extensive coverage and staff strength.

Another method could be to replace old methods of interactions like frequently asked questions (FAQ) or forums, with live chats, that let the customer communicate with the bank and feel empowered to make decisions and have a bond with the organization, instead of having to sift to bundles of outdated and generic responses.

The bank must engage effectively with the consumer ensuring him or her that their needs are being looked after and their opinions matter. This kind of communication flow creates a strong sense of independence and authority in the mind of the consumer who feels he or she is dictating the rules and the bank is only responding to their needs.

This builds the trust and relationship between the consumer and the bank, bringing in higher profits for the future and a better position for the business.

Transforming the customer experience through digitalization

UAE’s leading bank, Mashreq launched ‘Mashreq Max’ an advanced banking experience that promises to “deliver the bank to the customers”, raising customer service to new heights.

The innovative banking products and services promise to deliver simplify the customers’ experiences and maximize their benefits. “Mashrek Max” the innovative service by Mashrek let its customers open its salary transfer account without evening going to the premises of the bank facility. This will be made possible by a Samsung Tab with preloaded banking services. The Mashreq Max tablet delivers three groups of power packed benefits – pre-approved Loans and Cards; lifestyle maximisers like Mashreq Flavours, Salaam Rewards and Shopping Discounts and time maximisers like the revolutionary Sanpp Mobile app, their own Personal Advisor and Home Budgeting tools.”

Ambar Brahmachary, Head of Marketing & Customer Experience added, “Mashreq Max provides a gamut of products and services like no other. It is a one-stop shop. We wanted to give something back to the customer for transferring their salary by opening an account with Mashreq. The entire objective of this product is to underscore Mashreq’s commitment towards the UAE customer in elevating the level of service in the industry.”

This clearly shows to us that banks are constantly trying to tap into new options and potentials to create banking services into an easy and accessible service that the customer can obtain at any point anywhere without any inconvenience. The easier and simpler it becomes to use a service the more customer support is earned.

 Farhad Irani, Head of Retail Banking, Mashreq said during the press conference, “At Mashreq my endeavor is to be best in class on three vectors – value proposition, service and profitability. Customers are intelligent and increasingly discerning. Customers respect a bank that respects their time. In this day and age of convergence and freedom of choice we believe Max is a true embodiment of bringing the Bank to the valued customer while he / she enjoys the hygiene benefits of a 24/ 7 relationship manager and branch banking support. Max leads UAE banking into the future by translating insights on what customers really need into a marvelous state of art technology enabled human experience. As customers progress on value, on convenience, on experience…so will Mashreq.”

Trying a right mix between all the above will allow your organization to offer exceptionally satisfying customer service and make you win the hearts of your customers since they will be getting the perfect mix of everything they want. Accessible, easy and real time banking that lets them manage their accounts, wealth and all other financial problems within minutes.