India has been a land of change over the last decade. Everything about our lives has gone through a fundamental transformation. While people hail this as a telecom, transportation, IT revolution, in our view one sector that has been at the forefront of all this is the banking / finance sector. Well, YES, this transformation itself has been enabled by telecom and IT, but it has also been significantly enhanced by a social, cultural and service change.
Gone are the days when it took days to open an account, charges for every time you touched anything around the bank, hostile (not just unresponsive) staff wanting to do nothing. And the paradigm itself has changed. Banking is now no longer about service you get inside the bank.
Social media has opened numerous opportunities for the banking segment. There has been a sea shift in the overall consumer responsiveness driven by some of the following factors:
- More easily accessible services due to IT and mobile integration
- Free-flow competition from banks, digital wallets etc
- Digital wallet and easing government policies and regulation
- Proliferation of customers and the reduction of black money in the system
Banks have realized this and have been focused on large transformational campaigns around marketing themselves and standing out. The calls have been both efficiency based (functional) as well as relationship based (emotional). They have been interlinked with new capabilities and products that the bank offers.
While all this is true, we think the true social enablement of a bank hasn’t yet happened. While there have been some interesting campaigns and large scale ORM enablement by Axis, HDFC, ICICI, Yes Bank and others, there is huge scope in integrating online-offline in this sector. The actual transactions, the marketing campaigns, the ease of availing service, the in-bank experience and the mobile experience; it all need to come together as one cohesive story. Digital first is the need of the hour for the banking segment and offline to follow and represent the same story. The offline staff need to be empowered to become the champions of the brand (online, offline and in their customer experiences).