Bank has embarked an ambitious journey to unify the customer signals- Shalini Warrier

Bank has embarked an ambitious journey to unify the customer signals- Shalini Warrier

Shalini Warrier, Executive Director & Business Head- Retail, Federal Bank

The collaboration with Fintech Companies is helping the bank to acquire the millennial and GenZ customers who otherwise would never have walked into the bank branch and opened an account. To know more about increasing engagements in the banking industry, Shruti Jain of Elets News Network (ENN), talked with Shalini Warrier, Executive Director & Business Head- Retail, Federal Bank.

Q. How will cloud-based ERP, automation, and cognitive innovation continue apace, & create opportunities for financial services?

Ans: All of the above are sure winners when it comes to financial services. BFSI is continually evaluating options that can help to enhance customer delight, while at the same time ensuring risks (particularly cyber security risks) are mitigated & costs are optimised. In that context, any cloud based services offer promise as they deliver ability to enhance scale while ensuring costs are optimised. ERP ensures workflow automation & thereby deliver higher customer delight. Innovation is an imperative need; today’s customers would like the speed and agility of a Swiggy with the assurance & security of a bank. Having said that, for BFSI to take advantage of these opportunities, it is imperative that our people develop skills of agility and collaboration.

Q. Technology has made it possible for banks and credit unions to connect customer data across every possible touchpoint. How is customer experience being transformed?

Ans: The digital world today is experiencing a phenomenon called inter-operability where in the customer is the owner of the data and as per his wish, the data must flow. This interoperability has two aspects to it, inter and intra.

When the data flow happens seamlessly between different industries or companies it is the inter-operability in its true sense. This is now handled by the likes of open banking, Account Aggregator, India Stack and upcoming ones such as ONDC and more such private ecosystems between different banks and organisations to enable use case specific data sharing such as IBBIC etc.

There is also an important and usually always an underdog intra operability aspect which is much less fancy but equally important. In today’s environment, there are numerous touchpoints for a customer to connect with an organisation and if each touch point is a silo, then the customer experience takes a hit. Thankfully, due to the recent advancements, we now have the capacity to process the data either real time or near real-time depending on a case- to-case basis, from multiple channels; use it as fodder for AI/ML models and get the degree of outputs which have not been possible before.

As an example, a customer places a request through the call centre & at the next moment, could log in to mobile banking to check the status thereof. Update of a request through channel 1 should be communicated to the customer through channel 2 or 3 or 3rd party channels such as WhatsApp since in a world of instant gratification where the customer is spoiled for choices, you can’t afford to ask the customer to come back to the same channel to get the update.

We have been active in both these domains being one of the first bank in country to, go live on the Account Aggregator ecosystem, have an open banking stack etc. We have also a state of the art of CRM solution to handle the intra operability side of the data sharing, coupled with an exhaustive suite of different models using ML/DL etc to exponentially enhance the usage of data else, without putting the data to use for helping the customers it is better archived to save some space.

When both these aspects are combined together, what you get is a great combination of inter and intra connected world with equally intricate challenges of data security and data privacy which in itself is such a behemoth that can eat your strategies for customer experience for a breakfast.

Q. How is the Federal bank creating a presence across all touchpoints to deliver exceptional omnichannel experiences that will drive increased engagement?

Ans: Bank has embarked an ambitious journey to unify the customer signals across all touch points of the bank. We have invested in state of art next generation CRM platform spread across sales, service, marketing and social media. Our CRM platform helps to consolidate all the customer interactions across all these touch points and provide a unique personalised experience to the customer.

Q. How is collaboration with fintechs enabling Federal Bank to expand their business potential? In what ways is it helping to reach out to certain segments & maximising the branch network?

Ans: The collaboration with Fintech Companies is helping the bank to acquire the millennial and GenZ customers who otherwise would never have walked into the bank branch and opened an account. As the millennials are looking for personalised user experience and features, Fintechs with their cutting edge tech and analytics, are able to provide a millennial friendly user experience while riding on the banking know how of the bank.

The liability partnerships are independent of branch networks while the presence of the branch continues to build more trust in customers and helps branches to get more clients. Our door step gold loan partnership is the one that utilises the branch network to the optimum where customers are given gold loans at the door step while the assets are managed by the nearest branch.

Q. What are your preparations for tokenisation? How is it going to impact the future banking prospects?

Ans: While tokenisation adds an extra layer of security to users sensitive data to prevent cyber- attacks and online frauds, its full potential can only be realised when all industry stake holders have implemented the required infrastructure and are ready to process the transactions in a secured manner. The role of Bank is limited to acceptance of card on file transactions, there would be some disruptions in the ecosystem as any new change will cause some friction in such massive payment system built over time. We are ready to process tokenised transactions and are complied with providing user interface to manage the tokenised cards and set the limits as per RBI guidelines.

Also Read | Digital at the Fore, Human at the core, Our Motto at Federal Bank: Shalini Warrier, Executive Director, Federal Bank

The preparation/readiness of each and every player is important as the whole process is so interconnected and sequential that even if one entity involved in the transaction fails to implement, the transaction cannot effectively happen. Post the new timeline stipulated by RBI, the success rates will have initial impact which will in turn impact all the stake holders involved in the ecosystem including Banks. Currently card tokenisation is not mandatory, and customers can choose to enter the full card details and complete the transaction.

As digital becoming the most convenient and favoured platforms for purchases and availing services, more customers will start tokenising the cards and RBI’s focus to build a strong and robust ecosystem, would become effective.

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