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In banking, it’s the digital/traditional mix

Ike Suarez | Nov. 15, 2013
SunGard report advisory to SEA and Mideast banks is to integrate the two kinds of platforms for customer satisfaction and loyalty

It noted that 85 percent of respondents kept their savings in their primary banks and this did not involve much interaction. But products such as checking accounts, which demanded high levels of interaction, and therefore, convenience, were sought for in other providers.

The report further said banks in these emerging economies would also have to ensure consistency as more than one third of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the consistency of services they received through different channels.

"For digital channels in particular, whether accessed online, via mobile, smart phone, or tablet, the ability for customers to interact with a consistent, user-friendly and familiar interface is paramount," said the report.

By offering a consistent service across all platforms, banks could engender trust, confidence in and loyalty to their products and services.

Technology Trends

Noted by the report was that 94 percent of respondents had home Internet connectivity. Digital devices they owned were the following: Internet capable smart phones, 74 percent, iPods and similar devices, 42 percent, traditional cell phones, 27 percent, laptop PCs, 82 percent, and desktop PCs, 59 percent.

Digital banking channels they sought were the following: Internet banking, 70 percent, transaction alerts, 54 percent, and mobile banking, 50 percent.

Only 15 percent who did mobile banking expressed satisfaction with the service. In Southeast Asia, 60 percent of respondents were this service's users; the Middle East, less than 50 percent.

Internet banking was rated by 55 percent of respondents as having the greatest room for improvement while mobile banking rated as such from 45 percent of respondents.


Meanwhile, 18 percent of respondents said they would like to receive banking updates via Facebook. At the same time, 50 percent of them would post details of a good or bad experience with a company on Facebook and 21 percent of them would tweet about it.

Banks would therefore have to monitor these sites, because of their possible impact on their brand image.

Channel Mix

The SunGard report said digital and mobile banking channels are less suited for more complex interactions such as loan applications and complaints.  These activities would require support of other branch or service channels.

"In developing digital strategies, today's banks must consider and support the whole channel mix, not just its digital elements," advised the report.

Branch Experience

In regard to this, it noted that "the branch experience is seen by customers as one of the top three areas that a bank needs to improve."  Top reasons given for using bank branches were to get help/advice, 58 percent, safety/security concerns, 36 percent, and in-person contact preference, 35 percent.

These percentages offered banks in Southeast Asia and the Middle East opportunities to make their branches centers for excellence for financial advice and support.  Doing so would leverage the key strength of branches to deliver face-to-face advice, a practice now done in North America and Europe.


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