There is a lot going on in the changing world of customer and channels. To assist you keep up with these new developments we have pulled together some readable nuggets of relevant information that will interest the curious banker.
Over eight million British banking customers will soon embark on a journey that has been described as less likely than divorce – they will be transferring their business from one bank to another. The upheaval follows the impending transfer of customers and branches from Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland to new providers before the end 2013. The government has also sold Northern Rock customers and branches. The whole exercise is likely to disrupt established loyalties and create opportunities to capture new business. Worth watching.
Given the sheer number of people affected, the customer experience is sure to be a hot topic before, during and after migration. The impact on customers will depend on their combination of product holdings. No doubt some will take the view that "here comes a new bank, same as the old one." Others will have many questions. The way the banks handle this migration will either create an opportunity or deepen the customers' cynicism.
Facial, voice and fingerprint recognition technologies and mobile digital devices could be about to transform much of the retail banking landscape. They should, for example, change the way branches interact with customers. Overall they will offer a smoother, quicker and more bespoke customer experience. And potentially a more secure one, too.
NAB's new concept store in Melbourne's Docklands offers a taste of this kind of future. It features new high-tech ATMs and deposit machines, offers free WiFi, Ipads and special children’s areas and even introduces a special 'non-bank' scent. Video screens will display weather reports and community notices. Check it out.
According to Gartner's 2011 'Hype Cycle' on emerging technologies, near field communication (contactless payments to you and I) is at the 'Peak of Inflated Expectations'. It will not reach the mainstream for another five to 10 years. Gartner may or may not be right, but something is happening in the mobile space. PayPal alone processed US$4 billion in mobile transactions in 2011, up from $750 million the year before. Google and Apple are both developing contactless payment solutions. Square is making big progress with its mobile 'dongle' that turns a smartphone into a card terminal.
Commonwealth Bank has revealed that, just two months after its release, it has passed 110,000 downloads for its Kaching mobile payment app, making it the second most popular free finance app in Australia. To date, 85 percent of Kaching payments have been mobile to mobile.
Africa's not-so-sleepy giant, Nigeria, is looking to mobile payments to transform its largely cash-based economy. Only 25 million of the country's 84 million adults possess bank accounts, but there are 90 million active mobile phone accounts. Nigeria’s central bank is currently evaluating different mobile payments models, including bank-focused, bank-led and non-bank-led models. The objective is to leapfrog the physical expansion of bank branches and terminals. Nigeria's experience is going to be watched closely by banks, regulators and telcos in other developing countries.
In the UK, mobile virtual network operator GiffGaff has created a platform through which customers can deliver network support services to their peers. In exchange, participating customers receive airtime credits, cash via PayPal or charity donations. Customers also act as GiffGaff’s sales team, receiving rewards for signing up new accounts. The bottom line is lower customer support and sales costs and strong customer loyalty. Is there a lesson here for banks?
For more information on emerging trends in customer and channels, please contact us.