In a recent conversation with CXOToday, Shalini Warrier, Executive Director, and Head – Retail, Federal Bank, shared how the bank has pioneered digitalisation in the BFSI space in India. She also shed light on how key applications like Oracle CRM Solution have benefitted Federal Bank and accelerated the development of their overall CX proposition.
- According to you how important is Customer Experience (CX) in the banking sector and how can banks prioritize CX and personalized experiences for their customers?
Banking at present is a highly commercialized service and increasingly the cost of switching between banks is reflecting a declining trend. Indepth customer research indicates that customers expect customized bespoke experiences and expect the convenience of an Uber or Swiggy, with the trust and safety that Banks provide. The real power of “one” that denotes a truly personalized experience for every customer will enable to increase in the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and that is only possible with the implementation of robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions with proper analytics.
Ever since the pandemic has hit us, the customer’s preferences have taken a shift and there has been a change in their attitude, behaviour, purchasing patterns, and to manage the remoteness, they’re going digital and we expect that will continue. With the kind of ease and convenience the shopping, food, or travel apps have provided to the consumers, the same is expected from Banks too. This has truly opened up massive opportunities for this industry as well. Banks too have realized the tremendous shift towards digitization in the ecosystem and its benefits, which can only be amplified by the rise in the number of tech advancements. Thus, it is extremely crucial to understand customers’ digital body language, priorities, and new buying behaviors in this new normal. To manage this core group, banks also need real-time intelligence to provide this kind of personalization.
- What are the key pillars of placing CX at the center of your strategy and how are you going about this?
At present scenario, the consumer is at the heart of banking and it is only legit if CX is placed at the core of business operations. Federal Bank has pioneered to embracing the concept of digitization in the entire BFSI space in India. We aim to be “the most admired Bank” which is completely driven digitally and our core strategy also revolves around customer delight which is a true reflection of our company philosophy. We believe our core strategy for CX is driven by three key pillars.
First is, “Digital at the fore, human at the core”- our core theme means to ensure to have all digital technologies that can fulfill our customers’ digital needs. Moreover, we value our relationship with our customers and want to provide the best support we can For that, just as an example, we have Digital Banking Ambassadors in all the major cities and Digital Angels in key branches.
Secondly, our key principle is “Light Branch, Heavy Distribution”. In the last few years, we were able to increase our physical distribution significantly. We haven’t really expanded our physical distribution since then, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t reached out to customers. The work that we are doing with Fintech companies is the most visible example of our Heavy Distribution strategy. In the coming years, we will involve branches too; however, the look and feel of these branches will be a little different to make them lighter in terms of activities but highly productive from a customer experience standpoint.
The third and last principle is the effective use of data. If we deeply understand this theory it is about more than just effective usage of data; rather it is about converting data to information and deriving insights from it. Our motive with this strategy is to provide a better experience to our existing valuable customers meanwhile also targeting new and potential customers by leveraging data-driven insights.
- To shape up the future of banking industry and grow in this sector, what would be the the role of new age digital technologies such as AI, Cloud, and SaaS?
We are observing the industry trends and emerging demands and there is no denying that digital technologies like AI, Cloud and SaaS have taken over the banking sector and these technology-driven applications have absolutely helped us raise the bar further. The global pandemic has even stirred up digitalization in the entire ecosystem more than ever and the pace at which technology disruption is happening since the last two years is extremely fascinating. Banks have been able to meet customers’ requirements in much more different ways and places and technologies are potentially uplifting the health of India’s banking sector.
Keeping the current trends in mind and the increasing shift towards digitization, we expect the banking industry to evolve completely and technology to be the center of this transformation. These new-age advanced technologies have opened up ample opportunities for banks ranging from human resource management to streamlining financial processes and of course customer experience as we speak. Even FinTechs are also recognizing the merits of these technologies and are already banking on it. This is expected to multiply in the coming years.
- Tell us about your partnership with Oracle to implement a seamless CX experience?
We had identified a gap in our ability to provide integrated sales, service, and marketing experiences to customers, and meet or rather, exceed, customer expectations. This accelerated the development of our entire CX proposition with Oracle. As I explained earlier, one of our principles is the “Effective use of data” and Oracle’s CRM solution (delivered through our implementation partner, Infosys) fits well into it. To talk about its applicability, we recently launched our credit cards, and during this phase of the launch, we focused on providing pre-approved credit cards to existing customers. Here with the help of a massive amount of analytics, we were able to identify the right set of customers who would be eligible for each of our three credit card variants. We introduced offers to them using the email and SMS marketing capabilities from the Oracle CX solution. As part of this process, the customer receives an email/SMS, clicks on the link, and with just three clicks, the virtual credit card is delivered to his Mobile Banking app, which he can use immediately for e-commerce purchase. This is just one example of what I know for certain will be many more examples of how we are delivering a seamless CX experience using our partnership with Oracle and Infosys.