Matt Phillips, VP, Head of Financial Services UK and Ireland, Diebold Nixdorf explores how the industry is continuing to shift as many organizations remodel for the future
The rise and rise of digital
For many consumers using banking services today, the look and feel of those services will be quite different to five years ago. Whilst we were already witnessing many trends playing out across the industry - such as digital, cloud, cash light branches and the migration of transactions - the advent of COVID-19 has undoubtedly accelerated some of these industry movements.
As the trend towards digitalization continues to pick up speed, many providers are looking to fast-forward innovation, but find themselves stuck on getting the balance right between investing in channels to drive customer experience and the ever more forensic cost management.
Are operations costing brands loyalty?
Banks have traditionally set their own innovation agendas, and have to some extent, been able to drive the implementation of new technology at their own pace. With the recent jump in all things digital, this is no longer the case and flexing to meet customer needs is not just a consideration, but the driving force behind remaining competitive.
In contrast, the pressure on banks to become more cost effective is hindering progress for some, with an out-weighted focus on operational efficiency evident at the expense of the customer. What we’re seeing now is that agility has never been more important. In order to effectively embrace the next wave of digital, banks must harmonize operations and customer experience by re-thinking what services they deliver, and crucially how they deliver them.
Collaboration is connecting the dots
In a post COVID-19 environment, banks have a unique opportunity to revisit their growth strategies, looking at how their customers’ needs have evolved and transitioned in line with the new normal and plan future innovation accordingly. This is creating ‘sweet spots’ for transformation at unprecedented levels and a shift towards collaboration in order to achieve this. From fintechs continuing to partner with traditional high street banks to augment digital offerings, or banks partnering with retailers to offer new, value-added services, the economies of scale and focus on service driven solutions can be a game changer.
Collaboration can also be a significant part of the jigsaw in helping to balance costs whilst maintaining and enhancing the customer service offering. For example, with the ongoing pandemic reducing the desire for in-person banking for some consumers, there has been a sizeable move towards not just pure digital, but also digitally-enabled self-service. This has left many banks with the challenge of delivering accessible self-service networks with high reliability and uptime, alongside the question of ‘how can I augment this channel for my customer?
As a result, many banks are looking towards technology partners to improve efficiencies and effectively run the self-service network as part of their business. Not only is this facilitating the delivery of enhanced services through the self-service channel - such as the ability to complete a transaction at the ATM just with your mobile phone, or to chat to an adviser through an integrated video service – but it is ensuring customers have access to the services they need at all times; something we’ve seen that has remained critically important, particularly during the pandemic.
Living the trends
The industry adoption of collaboration is enabling a mind shift towards simplification, and new ways of working. Bringing in the ability to be more nimble as an organization is driving business resiliency, as we see many organizations across multiple industries moving towards outsourcing or managed services models in all areas of business.
Opportunities for additional revenue streams, new customer acquisition and engagement are being uncovered through these new ways of working, with many recognizing they don’t have to be – and in some cases don’t have the capacity to be – experts in every part of what is an ever expanding and evolving financial services sector.
But growth isn’t always just about new business. It is often about capacity creation and finding opportunities to enhance existing customer experiences. With this in mind, focusing vital internal resources into value-added functions has never been more crucial to remain competitive. With many teams becoming increasingly lean in comparison to previous years, outsourcing is allowing organizations to drive this shift of internal resources to growth areas, whilst managing the costs to serve customers through each channel and embracing future innovation and technology.
With the customer now firmly in the driving seat, collaboration is creating new paths for culture, strategy and innovation; and it is this shift from a tactical to a strategic approach that will truly unlock the next wave of digitally enabled services and industry innovation.
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First appeared in Global Banking & Finance Review