We have also created a unified online-offline experience. Our customers expect to have a seamless interaction with their bank and be addressed in the same manner across different channels, regardless of whether they are using an ATM or transacting online. Customers can choose to start a request online, such as account opening or acquiring an investment product, and complete it by meeting in person with an investment advisor at our branch.
Where do banks need to go next?
Despite these great strides, banks can and must do better. As organisations, we can be slow moving when it comes to experimenting with and implementing new trends -- which is understandable due to the risks involved.
It is increasingly important for banks to develop flexible test and learn capacity in customer facing technology. Apart from investing in the resources to develop and test new technologies, attitudes will have to move away from adherence to traditional channels and banks will need to exercise their ability to anticipate customer trends.
Ideally, banks would be able to significantly adapt their technology, innovation and digital development models to implement a more agile decision making and execution process to help improve the speed to customer for new initiatives.
A suggested model could be a capsule that contains researchers, technology implementation specialists, plus legal and compliance expertise. The capsule would be responsible for staying ahead of the consumer technology trend curve and, where necessary instigating, alterations, add-ons and innovations around a bank's current offerings to bring it in line with the expectations of customers and potential customers. Once the new initiative is launched it can be passed over to the operations team.
While every organisation is rushing to conquer the online experience, it is just as important to integrate the online experience with the offline world. An organisation should not treat an online customer like a stranger when they visit the retail outlet.
China is an extremely dynamic environment to work in and as such it is important to keep pace with change. Banks should continue to push internal boundaries in order to be able provide customer banking experiences that are simple, instant and personalised.
Ericson Chan is Chief Information Officer of Standard Chartered Bank (China) Limited
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