DIGITAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FORUM: BFSI MARKET
High profile operations, IT, and marketing executives from world-class banking, financial services, and insurance companies met on February 18, 2020 to February 19, 2020, in Berlin, Germany, to exchange latest thinking on digital customer experience, during the two-day event “Digital Customer Experience Forum: BFSI Market” organized by BIS GROUP, Business Forums, Conferences and Events Management Company.
By Forum Chair, Monika Maria Moehring, Professor at Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen, Germany.
Stirring up the business model
Personal, private, and corporate banking as well as insurance have long been founded on personal, branch-based, business models with solid opportunities for brand building, market penetration and manageable competition. Starting from telephone banking as a disruptor of face-to-face service, the financial services industry is in the age of internet and virtualisation undergoing a period of unprecedented disruption. Players within and outwith the industry have been coming up with a huge variety of blended and digital-only service propositions. Some of these new developments focus on delivering just one financial service to the client, whereas some want to provide a range of banking, insurance, and lifestyle experience.
This stirring up of the Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) sector by innovative organisations from startups to institutional development divisions makes it more important than ever for established organisations to focus on frictionless and relevant cross-channel customer experience.
Services in transition
The customer life cycle in personal, private, and corporate banking and insurance has been dramatically changing over the past two decades. Personal contact has become increasingly less, particularly for younger and more technically oriented clients. The sector has tried to address this change by implementing fancy user interfaces and, lately, “yet another app”. The first banking and insurance software was about obtaining basic information before going to a branch or contacting an agent anyway. Nowadays intelligent self service entails at least checking the account status, loan application, tailored insurance products, and advanced financial transactions.
A BFSI institution, however highly regarded their brand may be, would be left behind in the competition without providing these services to computers and mobile devices. Established forms of service patterns may have to be revised and adjusted to the digital age and decision processes accelerated from days to minutes. Available IT applications have to be made open to each other for a frictionless, loss-free, smooth transition from one service to another and from branch to non-branch interaction.
The employee paradoxon
Paradoxically, the branch personnel that may fear for their job security in the wake of these disruptive changes have to promote the use of digital services. At a time however, they are the ones who are to entice clients to make use of IT-based self services and to demonstrate or complement this use. Branches are increasingly converted into lavish “Apple store”-like cathedrals with arrangements of terminals, staff booths, seating areas, and brand identification potential. Particularly for non-millennial “digital immigrants”, these locations may facilitate the approach to app-based banking, blending it into superior on-site experience. Satisfied, dedicated, versatile, and informed banking and insurance personnel is thus key to enabling this blend.
Scattering the industry
The potential of the new technologies have significantly lowered the barrier to market entry. Moreover, the PSD2-directive of the European Union demands every banking and financial services application be accessible for 3rd party products. Thus, in the past two decades, BFSI have seen numerous start-ups world wide, addressing specialist applications such as identity checks and security, money transfer, portfolio management, blockchain-based insurance, and services for small and medium enterprises. Some of the start-ups have already entered dot com cemetery, whereas others are thriving as “unicorns” (valued at over 1 billion $) and posing a threat to the established players.
Traditional institutes implement their own innovation initiatives, often with no less ambitiously disruptive claims. Smaller but very prestigious banks, often with a regional focus, offer intelligent and witty solutions that are capable of winning their customer base all over.
Convergence of business models
The digital age has seen many everyday applications converge to clients’ convenience. Online banking, in the late 1990 seen as a business model quite different from retail banking, has soon merged into branch operations. Market consolidation in large banks, investment, and insurance companies have amalgamated their offerings. Through the opening of interfaces and standards with PSD2, new additional services enter the scene, from exclusive shopping clubs for long-standing customers to integrated in-app “butlers” facilitating travels and everyday lives. More progressive in-app innovations for customer wellbeing include customised home monitoring systems for banking customers’ elderly relatives still living at home.
Banks, financial services, and insurance will drive new developments that help maintain their high reputation from former branch experience. Which of these business models make everyday lives of clients more convenient will be decided by their acceptance in the near future.
We invite you to continue the discussion on the above mentioned topics during the upcoming conferences:
- Digital Risk: Managing Risk and Security in Digital Age (19-20 May 2020, London)
- Digital Identity and Access Management: BFSI Market (26-27 May 2020, London)
Looking forward to your valuable contributions to the discussion!