Corner OfficeCXO Bytes

How Indian Public Sector Banks Can Improve Customer Experience

customer experience

There have been significant upheavals in all aspects of our lives in the past two years. Hybrid, remote work has become a norm, and digital has become an integral part of our lives. Given the rapidly changing customer sentiments and needs, online/mobile access for banking services has become a necessity. It has become critical for Indian public sector banks to weave digital across all aspects of their services to improve customer experience across all touchpoints. To retain their market share and/or grow their business, they need to go the digital way. Without a significant revamp of their digital transformation strategy, they may continue to face rejection by millennial consumers. In another ten years or so, they stand the risk of becoming irrelevant.

Opportunities for a Digital Facelift

  • Customer acquisition is one area where a lot of changes are happening to improve customer experience. Minimal form-filling, video KYC, online Aadhaar API verification, instant PG integration for account funding, quick a/c confirmation, and automated welcome kit generation can significantly improve the customer experience. Some banks have even worked out API integration to push credit card information to Apple/Google wallets so consumers can transact even without a physical card.
  • Customer service has immense scope of improvement. It is still very hard for consumers to register a complaint/service request on the bank portals and get a good experience for—confirmation of issue, timely resolution/call, update on status, and follow-up till closure. As a result of the poor service experience, the perception of customer un-friendliness stays and hurts the bank business.
  • While some banks have integrated video KYC on the account opening side, they have not done the same for dormant accounts revival. Account holders have to visit the bank/branch to get this simple task done. If joint holders are living in separate cities, this is a herculean task for consumers. As a result, the older customers have to run around to get dormant accounts activated. This could easily be improved by leveraging modern technologies for account opening.
  • Getting through to the service line/call centers of PSU banks is next to impossible. Even though they have invested in call centers and improved their customer care services, the perception remains (due to poor quality experience). Perhaps it is time for PSU banks to integrate social listening channels and mobile/web-based helpdesk systems for building pro-active customer success teams to improve the service perception.


How Can Banks Fix Their “Customer Experience” Metric The Right Way

The first point to note is that digitization does not equal digital transformation. If banks lift and shift a set of business processes, workflows, and their associated paper forms (down to the “field for admin use only”), they have only just achieved digitization of paper-based processes and nothing more. There were no concrete steps taken to make the customer experience more seamless, shorten the turnaround time, and bring “delight” into the overall customer journey, which could compel them to become brand advocates.

Customer Experience Touchpoints for Transformation

  • For true customer experience transformation, banks must “re-design customer experiences and journeys” and reduce unnecessary forms fields being asked for, complicated steps of data, and file uploads. Instead, they need to re-work the end-to-end process automation to achieve a smooth journey. For example, if a bank already has the KYC data on record, they do not need to ask for the same details for a new loan application/credit card request. Banks can offer pre-filled forms for changes to the account. This sends out a powerful message – the bank knows the customer and respects their time.
  • Next, banks must evaluate all verification steps and optimize the same by planning integration with online services/APIs, leveraging data held in the bank’s CRM and core systems to avoid asking for duplicate verification checks, and bias the system towards minimalism on user entry. Nothing improves CX as much as a system that works as “expected” by the consumer.
  • Thirdly, banks must accept that consumers have gone multi-channel in their access and usage. And they expect service provider applications to work seamlessly with high consistency and similarity across devices. For applications that may take a few minutes to complete, they may even abandon the form filling process for some time and expect to pick up the same on another device at another time. Systems that are resilient, offers save-and-resume, and work-as-expected will be rewarded with customer loyalty, references, and high ratings. At the same time, those that are brittle, look-and-feel different across access channels will be shunned.
  • Banks must also test the portal applications across all browsers and major devices for functionality, stability, speed under peak loads, and fix the gaps. A huge downer for CX is high wait times, sluggish performance, and buggy interfaces. This is especially true for document/image upload capability – consumers want upfront information of file size/type, limitations, and instant notification of success/failures so they can retry or acknowledge successful doc upload. Consumers expect flawless performance, and when a bug is found, a graceful mechanism to report the bug and see a quick resolution. Meet these expectations, and one can see the changes in consumer adoption behavior and positive business outcome over time.
  • To improve customer service, leading banks and financial services have adopted intelligent AI-based chatbots to offer highly personalized, scalable, and friendly service levels to consumers. Technology here promises to reduce the human performance gaps and alleviate pain points of service quality – a chatbot serves both PSU bank and private bank consumers the same way!
  • One major reason for poor customer services is that most banks have separate systems for different products and services and don’t have a 360-degree view of their customers. Some of the leading enterprises have added intelligent RPA-based robots to integrate disparate systems and offer consumers a very high-quality experience at the time of raising a complaint/issue. The RPA also helps quickly build a case file for agents to address customer needs on priority and within SLA.
  • And finally, there should be a roadmap & plan to evolve and improve the application based on user analytics, usage patterns, user feedback, and analysis of journeys that deliver business outcomes versus paths that lead to failure/abandonment. A portal application that seems to “learn” from the past weaknesses and appears to fix the same gets higher ratings from digital-savvy consumers who notice the changes and quickly appreciate the same across their business and social circles.

Using Low-Code Platforms to Improve Customer Experience in 2022

Leading consultants in customer experience research have often defined CX as

CX = Customer expectation / Customer experience

The numerator is set by the exposure to the digital-first world and the latest consumer app experiences. This keeps going up all the time as leading internet companies push the boundary of experience.

The denominator is up to the banks to improve and deliver against. Fix the CX, and the ability to compete in this digital-first and fully digital economy grows significantly. CX builds word-of-mouth customer loyalty and reduces customer acquisition costs dramatically.

If a bank’s web portal applications/mobile applications are developed using traditional code-heavy frameworks, it takes a significant effort to revamp even simple changes such as adding integrations, testing capability, CI/CD DevOps, analytics, and more.

A low code platform that offers rapid application development and deployment capabilities will be a huge asset for banks looking to revamp CX in 2022. Low code platforms have portal builder via drag-n-drop and definition of objects, web-services integrations for external APIs, in-built analytics, event logging, and multi-channel capability. Banks can significantly accelerate their application modernization with low code platforms and achieve faster PMF (product-market fitment) and value fitment by being able to experiment and evolve applications faster.


Leave a Response