In the second part of our interview with Joy Macknight, transaction banking and technology editor at The Banker, we explore how banks are using technology to bring the customer to the center of everything they do.
In our first installment, Joy told us about the challenges of silos in banking and how they lead to a fragmented customer journey. Today we focus on the solutions.
Hi Joy, what are some of the ways banks are tackling these challenges?
I recently wrote a feature on voice recognition technology and a lot of banks are looking to use the technology to immediately identify someone. A lot of them are looking at using it with their high end client base first — it’s about being able to identify them on the phone immediately.
One Slovakian bank was using it for their call center, to give their mobile agents immediate access to what they have been looking at. So you can give agents everything they need to go in and sell to the client, without wasting time.
Using the same voice recognition in their call centers, they can identify them while they are talking instead of asking “what’s your name, where do you live” and so on.
The banks are trying to link up the different information points about customers, so it no longer sits in siloes within the bank. Instead of one person for mortgages, one for savings etc, whatever entry point the customer hits, they have a full view of them.
What’s the biggest remaining challenge to achieving this more joined up view?
Banks talk a lot about breaking down internal silos but are making slow progress. It’s often about cross-communication within the bank itself.
All the data is stored in different silos, which cannot speak to each other. Many systems are old, the information is in different formats — and the pressure on margins and profitability makes it more difficult to invest and create a way to join the dots.
How long do you think it will take them to tackle this challenge?
Well again, they are under a lot of pressure from the fintech community and the new banks who don’t have to deal with that legacy setup. The newcomers have up-to-date tech and are looking at many problems in a new way, so the incumbent banks are under real pressure to respond.
I think they are trying to do it — and it won’t take them that long. In the next couple of years, I expect they will start to really build that view of their customer.
This pressure of the fintech community on the traditional banks is important because it’s reinventing the customer experience and the banks are having to step up their game. In some cases, banks are partnering with fintech or opening their own innovation labs and talking much more about customer centricity. Banks have to start reinventing their own business to thrive.