Customers have new and significant needs and expectations in their private and professional lives. Digital Banking aims to cater for those needs, and embodies the fast, general, in-depth and necessary evolution of a bank’s relationship with its customers. With the constant pressure of technological advances and web-based competitors, this relationship has entered into a period of long-lasting transformation that will deeply change banks’ organisation, processes, information technology and strategies for many years to come.

As technology becomes ever-more powerful and widespread, the way customers use it in their private lives is changing fast. Their expectations are high:

  • Mobile: accessing services at any time, from anywhere, using any type of mobile device
  • Instantaneous: receiving immediate responses to multiple questions
  • Interactive: accessing every kind of social network, mixing private and professional relationships, with known and unknown contacts, sharing opinions and personal information
  • Ubiquitous: no longer having to be physically present to carry out a task.

These new uses, and the new expectations that derive from them, are now sliding inexorably from the private to the professional sphere: the same expectations of immediate availability, relevance etc. are now expected from a customer’s bank manager.

Additionally, major digital players are raising the level of customer expectations and regularly turn new usages into the new ‘norm’:

  • Ease-of-use, with simple navigation and excellent delivery, such as Amazon and Apple Stores
  • Confidence, with secure service and the protection of personal data such as PayPal
  • Value, with personalised and relevant advice such as LinkedIn

Lastly, people are spending more time online: more than 5 hours per day connected to their phone, tablet, PC or watch. This trend is likely to continue and increase, with the arrival of connected clothing, vehicles, furniture and homes, and the personal chip.

All banking clients now expect a relationship that integrates these requirements and new standards.

A digital bank is therefore a bank that knows how to change quickly to take into account its customers new uses, by using all of the technologies required, and implementing its own reorganisation and changes in working methods.

Through its Digital Banking offer, Gfi works with its clients on the five major components of this transformation.

1. Rethinking the customer journey

Rethinking the journey followed by customers by understanding their point of view for each request and action they ask of their bank, whether they are in a branch, on the telephone, or on their mobile device. From the first expression of their need through to the completion of the operation, it has become essential to offer customers added value to meet their needs and sustain or develop an activity with them.

This regular and methodical work needs to be conducted through experimentation, use of new technologies and solutions designed by start-ups, as well as having to hand all the useful information gleaned from benchmarking competitors. It also means accepting the need to change processes that have worked perfectly well for many years.

These new customer journeys, which are at the heart of new FinTech offers, must enable the bank to offer the right service at the right time to the right person, and so offering a good customer experience. In this way, the bank is relevant, in context, responsive… and profitable.

2. Customising offers and services

Simply relying on a limited number of standard offers no longer meets the expectations of today’s bank customers. While there is little difference between banking products and services, increased added value for customers will derive from personalising the make-up of the offers, their pricing and their relationship channel.

Finer customer segmentation, a specific standard offer for each segment, making tailor-made commercial offers to a specific customer on a broad scale, are all factors that will enable the bank to offer an attractive customer experience – and thus increase bank revenue through:

  • Allocating the best salespeople to the best customers
  • Reducing loss of business
  • Increasing self-service offers with a low running cost

3. Increasing customer knowledge to improve confidence

The demand for customisation and relevance expected by customers today comes at a time when face-to-face contact, in the past used as an opportunity to gain precise information on a customer, has reduced considerably.

The implementation of BI and Big Data techniques brings bankers closer to their customers, which is probably just as important as identifying the needs that the latter has not yet expressed.

The challenge is to precisely identify the critical or significant issues so that the bank may mobilise its tools and expert knowledge to improve the situation. They may include:

  • Improving anticipation and detecting financial difficulties of mid-size corporate clients
  • Better identifying the key moments in a customer’s life (marriage, divorce, professional transfer, redundancy etc.)
  • Better targeting marketing campaigns
  • Offering mid-size corporate clients or retailers an analysis of their performance as compared to a panel of similar companies or on the characteristics of their clients having completed purchases recently

These BI techniques also contribute to increasing the safety of transactions and the detection of fraud attempts, thereby increasing confidence - which is absolutely essential if the bank is to play the role of trusted third party that holds all or part of the customer’s personal data, collected by an increasing number of connected devices, and guarantees their proper use by authorised third parties.

4. Fully digitising the services

Within the bank, adaptation is necessary and non-negotiable to enable digital transformation. This means generalising the digitisation of all services impacting customers:

  • Digital acquisition of all customer documentation
  • Paperless statements and interactive creation
  • Digital archiving
  • Electronic signature for service subscriptions

These are major projects that require significant investment in terms of information technology, process re-engineering and internal reorganisation. Yet, they remain absolutely necessary to gain in efficiency and productivity, especially considering competitors are already widely committed to this digital modernisation.

5. Supporting all employees

A company’s employees may make or break a bank’s successful digital transformation, just as much as the performance of new technological tools and information systems put in place.

Working with them to help them understand the need for change, its impacts, their importance for the company as well as for them and thus obtain their adherence to the project and their commitment to it, requires a long-term programme of change conduct, in particular on:

  • Becoming familiar with the digital field, with regular actions on key topics, such as themed study trips, meeting with web startups and major players, seminars and workshops dedicated to the digital field with hands-on usage of digital technologies, reverse mentoring programmes, training programmes and MOOCs
  • Innovation, with the implementation of a sustainable and high-performance mechanism for participatory innovation
  • Implementing new work methods, with the implementation of pilot projects and the roll-out of agile methods, DevOps and ITIL processes
  • Implementing new working methods, by designing employee courses and facilitating the usage of new digital tools (collaborative platforms to facilitate professional communication, interact with your colleagues, get the best out of a newsfeed, a Webzine to publish a team’s news, inform internal partners, build on successes, explain difficulties, conduct experiments (over 1 day to 1 week) on specific topics (for instance, redesign of a customer journey in a branch, using a small team, in a dedicated environment such as FalLab, in collaboration with start-ups)

Digital transformation projects within banks are vast. They will be successful only if the bank remains a significant player. It requires strong decisions, resources, and a corporate strategy. It is also the opportunity to make the entire company leap forward and give its customers, employees and partners, the desire to grow together.