By Ravi Pratap Singh , President & Head, Global Product Management-Nucleus Software Exports Limited
Headquartered in Noida, Nucleus Software Exports Limited (BSE: 531209, NSE: NUCLEUSEQ) is a provider of IT products and software solutions to the global BFSI. They have been developing solutions spanning Retail Banking to Corporate Banking, Cash Management and Internet Banking since 1986.
Knowing your customer, ensuring personalized service and most importantly, delivering the product/service by sensing the need (even before the customer realizes it) – these are the key elements in ensuring successful customer relationships. Therefore, customer loyalty (retention) is key to any business and it is no different in the BFSI sector, if not more relevant. With the multitude of competitive financial services companies, today's banking customer has too many choices. Buying decisions are taken quickly and impulsively and retaining them with differentiated offerings or prices is no longer a strategy. Even high degree of service quality is not enough.
Whenever we discuss customer delight and loyalty, I end up recalling my experience with a 'chai-wallah', Bittoo, who had his stall around the corner of our office. Each day he greeted us with his beaming smile, making us forget all our office woes. On some days, he would just hand over a packet of biscuits saying, "It will do you good today". Surprisingly, it always did but I am not a biscuit lover. For me, this is the science of customer delight.
Providing Real Time Experience
An increasingly mobile customer with very short attention span looks for instant gratification through a new level of customer experience. Increasing use of social media is also giving rise to an instant feedback process. Financial firms, globally, believe that the use of insight and analytics creates a competitive advantage. With a huge amount of structured and unstructured data available, banks need real-time business intelligence in the form of decision analytics that span these multiple information channels.
Hence, the entry of Big Data into the picture by banks is in anticipation of how these fundamental financial institutions can better understand customer behavior. In light of this, two critical technology components make up the foundation for creating such a customer experience, Data Analytics & Integrated sales channels.
On further elaboration, banks and financial institutions sit on critical data related to their customers. Analysis of this large collection of data can give deep insight into the customer's spending pattern, income growth, spending capability, investment appetite and the likes. The first challenge is the sheer size of data available which comes in terabytes. The second challenge is that it is lying around in different places across locations distributed through servers and databases. This is where Big Data and Analytics come in to enable collation and analysis. Consolidation is easier said than done. Even quality and consistency of data becomes a challenge. Typically, a large amount of cleaning and alignment is required to be done before using it for conclusions. High speed processing & analysis of large data is critical to success.
Analytics play a role in deciding the right time when the customer would be most ready to accept the offer. Real time analytics and technologies like CEP (Continuous Event Processing) analyze transactions and interactions as they happen to identify the right time to propose the offer to the customer. Examples of such point of times are when a loan matures or a larger than normal balance appears on the savings account.
Integrating the Sales Channels
The final selling experience is as important as deciding what to sell and when. Customers are finicky about where and when they wish to be approached for a sale. It should be at their convenience. Some customers would like less intimidating channels like the internet, mobile or ATM, others would prefer a sales person to meet personally and explain the offer.
There needs to be a rule engine which first decides the preferred channels and time of day based on either option declared by the individual customer or by analyzing his/her previous interactions. Once decided that offer should be available across the channels consistently, even here the ease with which the purchase is completed is critical. The channels must allow customers to close the buy decision right on the channel. For instance, the ATM throws a new deposit scheme to the customer at the moment he has received his annual bonus. What if he just needs to click a button and the transaction is completed. Integration of the real time analytics, sales channels and product processors is another key link in the chain to deliver a wow experience.
I feel mobility can play a significant role in making the final sales experience a delightful one. It makes the service far more accessible. Just imagine if the offer lands up on the mobile app and popped up as a notification. Customer can look into it at his/her own convenience (even on the move). The mobile app then allows the customer to simulate variations of the offer, inquire more details. Once the purchase decision is taken, s(he) executes the purchase from the mobile itself. All this time, the sales representative is only a "click" away.
Technology is the key in establishing excellent customer experience as it is consistent; it can treat millions of individuals with a personal touch. Taking tips from Bittoo, personalized news and social media activities can be shared with customers to establish a more than just a buyer-seller relationship. The opportunity for banks to use big data and decision analytics to create more valuable customer engagement is therefore, immense.