Banking today is standing at the juncture of both economic threats and uncertainties due to advent of COVID pandemic. Corona a synonym of death has made the whole world come to standstill. While the former is based upon the hope of economic revival, latter is more evident from the on-going crisis and related setbacks. After a lapse of almost 5 months when we are constantly fighting with this unknown enemy the whole economy has halted and this has pushed the world decades back. At this juncture to cope up with the present unpredictably precarious situation digitalization is only way out. Banks are able to become one of the warriors of COVID with the help of digital transactions through mobile and interned banking. So for the bankers the PPT kit is usage of Mobile/Internet Banking.
Mobile banking has come a long way. Bankers are already opting this digital platform to reduce the cash transactions and to provide banking services 24 X 7. This innovative approach of banker’s has helped them in coping with this dangerous situation of social distancing during this pandemic. Innovation in this sector has grown in sophistication using advanced technologies such as tough and voice capabilities and machine learning algorithms. Banking sector as innovators focus on enabling customer to bank the way they want to with minimum limitation using mobile apps. If banks were not equipped with this digital platform with their wide spread in all the geographical area of India; imagine that situation and sufferings of common people in absence of banking services.
We appreciate the customers also who have rapidly adopted the technology in their daily live without resistance. This is also possible due to availability of inter-net and mobile penetration available at low cost. Banks are keeping abreast of their evolving needs and behaviors and have enabled access to a wide range of banking and financial services through different digital platform. Banks in India are putting in place robust foundation for digital infrastructure and are innovating using digital technologies across all channels to deliver the power of speed convenience to all segments of customers.
Banks and financial institutions now required to finally catch up to customer’s digital expectations during pandemic ! Customer’s lifestyle their habits are increasingly motivated and directed by the speed and simplicity of online services, the same is true of how they want to bank and this is the reason how the world is still on the wheel which are moving yet with the help of mobile banking. Today people expect instant access to online banking services that can help ensure they don’t miss out on life changing movements or ways to improve their live standards. Through services like mobile check deposit, hands – free – person – to person – payments or just having a banker to assist in customer service issues, financial institutions have been where their customers have needed them.
Government has also taken advantage of mobile or cash less financial services like anytime, anyplace banking regardless of what is going on in the world. DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) is a scheme launched by Government of India to transfer the benefits and subsidies of various social welfare schemes like LPG subsidy, MNREGA payments, Old Age Pension, Scholarships etc. directly in the bank account of the beneficiary. Apart from less human involvement the primary aim of this Direct Benefit Transfer program is to bring transparency and terminate pilferage from distribution of funds sponsored by Central Government of India. Data from RBI site on as on July, 20 of mobile banking transactions comprising of 219 banks are as under ::
Various calls for using digital payments to reduce social contact and contain Covid-19 outbreak. National Payment Corporation of India has also fast-tracked the onboarding system of UPI/UPI-QR to make it totally contactless and fully online, for both vendors and merchants. With this customers can use UPI to pay for essentials and transfer money digitally without the risk of physical contact.
The National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) has come out with a circular urging Indians to use digital payments, especially during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. This is to reduce social contact without the exchange of cash notes and coins, therefore reducing the chance of transmission of COVID-19. NPCI, along with banks and ecosystem partners, will help every citizen during the current lockdown period through robust digital payment infrastructure.
The transition for banks from routine day to day operations to remote setups has been so seamless that consumers haven’t noticed a single operational change. It’s a testament of the bankers that their customers are first and they are customer centric and that is what is driving their business to a new heights. Development of whole eco system of digital/mobile banking is key to success during the COVID-19 pandamic.
To cater to the fast changing expectation of the customers constant development of new products and services and enhancement, a dedicated focus on digital innovation is of prime importance. When COVID-19 grabbed the entire economy and shut the doors of many business, the self employed found them selfs able to work but with the threat of spread, found little to no interest in contracted payments. A barrier emerged for all those split rent payments, handyman work, monthly allowances and more. Cash suddenly did not work anywhere anymore. At that time it is felt that only 30% to 35% customers are digital enabled that too using only digital channels for banking.
Answer to this is ::
Banks thus need to have dedicated resources both people as well as infrastructure to form a responsive innovation amidst changing customer’s expectations and sea change in the competitive landscape.
To retrospect; with COVID-19 came a situation; which the customers are not ready for, a full seizure of people’s willingness for anything involving potential contact with the virus. Even tapping a door for opening posed a risk. For many it’s a time for adopting digital person to person payment system. In turn for the financial institutions and banks it’s an opportunity to educate customers about digital payment systems and mobile banking.
To fight against the pandemic people maintaining social distancing and they are getting away from family and friends, during the first phase of lockdown people were stuck where they had been and at that time this digital platform of payment has rescued them from very grave situation of financial crisis. Mobile banking had enabled family and friends to help their loved one out of difficult times without the need of any physical exchange. With the already deployed mobile banking services, which a large volume of customers were reluctant to use, has helped them out at their finger tips. In case of receiving physical cheques; customers suppose to reach to cheque deposit points i.e. branches and the staff required to handle the cheques by touching, and all such touch points will put all the bank staffs at risk with every transactions. So both bankers and customers were rise to the occasion and are opting for mobile payment and deposit systems.
COVID-19 “an Opportune Period For Adoption Of Digital Platform” :
Up till now even though the bankers are toiling a lot to educate the customers for adopting digital and mobile banking solution but customers are resistant and reluctant and hence there was huge foot fall in the branches.
Without a doubt we are living in a world ruled by digital services. Whether this was realized before or as a result of COVID-19, all sectors of industry are facing how our world truly turns. Virtual collaboration and innovation are our new reality. With these realization comes a greater responsibility for institutions to educate their users. The digital innovation practice has reached a critical mass, banks are shifting gears to create a stronger innovation culture via the internal social collaboration platform and adopting cutting edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Block Chain and Internet of Things (IOT) among others. Customers are taken into a new world of multi channel banking, where they can access services from home at the office or on he can go through mobile banking, SMS banking, phone banking, ATM and Net Banking.
Forced adoption comes with unique challenges, adoption albeit aided by necessity is frustrating for customers – change is hard and is always resisted. Strong customer service serves to make this new forced adoption a guided and eye opening opportunity for users. It turns the frustration of unknown processes into recognition of value adding services. This customer service goes beyond the expected hotline of password reset questions and empowers a relationship beyond Question & Answer.
Digital banking or mobile banking means banking 24 X 7 i.e customers banking in all hours. Increased growth of transaction during pandemic warrants an increased need for banks to be there for supporting the users at all hours. While this 24/7 support is needed these unprecedented time also come with dubgetary needs to reduce man hours, putting stress onto an already stressful situation. Institutions have been able to have exceptional services and support by employing low cost users. So successful banks or financial institutions have refocused their customer service team to provide tools and contents that helps their users complete digital services with ease. Vedio, guides and dedicated expert staff identify and deliver top notch support services to support adoption and continued use of these digital services and this will deepens the customers reliance on digital services across all industries.
With the foray of new technology and more importantly with the uncertainty due to COVID-19 pandemic the banking industry needs to quickly adapt and look forward towards customer elevation. Banks and FIs are required to do brain storming for retention of their customers. Managing investments for customers required to be simpler and faster. Customers can now easily access research reports both online and on mobile via apps, capitalize on investment opportunities quickly through net and mobile banking and track investments using investment tracking apps. The focus on making customers accomplish more comes with the assurance that the services are secure and protected.
Banks / FIs have set up a digital security infrastructure which works with other teams to monitor and set up new security enhancements. Some of the banks are also collaborating with Indian IT service providers in areas of voice enabled system for customers to open new accounts on the basis of Aadhaar authentications. Banks are also collaborating with IT service providers for e-Sign (digital signature) facility to help digitally signing the loan documents. This will help in faster approval process, lesser paper work and lesser paper storage space.
One of the area where banks are required to tap and especially during this COVID-19 pandemic is the remote or rural areas. In the present scenario when the streets starts to look like ghost towns but the inhabitants’ are in acute need of banking services banks are required to be their either through Vedio chats, SMS or Whatsapp services to cater to their financial needs.
As COVID-19 impacts the global economy it will still be crucial for most organization to ensure business continuity. Having said that communication and quickly adapting to the situation will play a key role in ensuring this goal is met. In these unsetting times as banks will have to take drastic measures to reduce travel and move to a more remote way of business, technology will play a crucial role to fill in the blanks. However these measures now will give us perspective about remote work place and how business goals can be achieved in challenging scenarios.
On line payments look more appealing as people fear cash could spread coronavirus. So mobile banking is actually the anti dot or anti virus to cope up with the financial health of the economy. Mobile banking app with outstanding functionality is an excellent tool to gain customer recognition. However, to make it a reality it’s not enough to introduce advanced mobile banking functionality but a bank should have a clear marketing strategy in mind and add features designed specifically for the target audience. There are several criteria which determise the effectiveness and efficiency of any application, however when it comes to banking applications the criteria could be narrowed down to eight factors :
- User friendliness of the application
- Content and functionalities
- Design and ergonomics
- Cyber security
- Advisory functions
- Applying for credit facilities
- Account closing (Retention capabilities)
Bank to peep into the glimpse of post corona virus era ::
The pandemic has accelerated the shift of digital banking by two years, the finance industry is required to grab this opportunity and turn it into boon. For holding hands of the borrower banks on the basis of government instructions has announced various forbearance with regard to loan holidays, reduced rate of interest, restructuring and relaxed income recognition criteria. So banks are a great help for the depositors and remitters.
Hand holding of customers at the verge of stress due to COVID-19 ::
Banks are the institutions which are having very well accepted and secured tool i.e digital/mobile banking. When earlier there was a global crisis due to subprime lending between 2007-2010 banks are instrumental for that to a great extent. During the COVID-19 crisis banks are actually proved as a savior. Banks are of great help to the customer in distress due to shortage of liquidity and helping them out digitally banks are actually instrumental in slowing the spread of CORONA VIRUS. Banks are proving them as real friend in need by giving consultation to their customers for managing debt, adjust budgets and make full use of new Government programs.
Banks were thinking of customer satisfaction in pre Covid era now banks are extending their hands of help with full clarify and transparency by supporting them through digital tools with which many customers are still not familiar.
Action plan for post Covid Era :
In this verge of crisis banks need to meaningfully re-design their customer agenda to meet urgent needs and to do so for the uncertain period likely to continue for some time. Before COVID-19, the banking industry was experiencing an unprecedented period of growth and prosperity. Despite increasing consumer expectations and increased competition from nontraditional financial institutions, most banks were strong banks. In a matter of only a few months, the world of banking has experienced a level of disruption that will change everything that had been the norm in financial services. There has not only been a major change in the way financial institutions conduct business, but in the way employees do their work and the way consumers manage their finances.
Banks and financial institutions should virtually use this time of disruption to consider reinventing themselves from the inside out. It is a time when banks need to better understand the way consumers expect their financial institution to support their financial needs. This includes the way banks use data, AI, technology and human resources to impact marketing, innovation and the digital delivery of products and services.
Presently some organizations may retrench and try to save costs because of the financial stress that results from the massive shutdowns caused by COVID-19. Other organizations will go beyond looking for efficiencies to create completely new business models that will impact all components of performance. Right now, there is an opportunity to reevaluate how technology, insight and analytics can accelerate the future growth and competitiveness of financial institutions globally. To move forward will require a new perspective from top management of financial institutions or banks regarding priorities and deployment of resources.
To better understand the impact of COVID-19 on financial services, and after analyzing the recent events which will have a long lasting impact on the future of marketing, innovation and digital delivery banks are required to come up with a new road map
- Banks to immediately take care of small traders and retail they can be groomed to use digital platforms, banks to provide extra support to borrowers is distress.
- In normal time many of the customers are reluctant in using digital banking, such customers are less satisfied also this is because such customers need to go through a learning process which they avoid to do and most banks unable to support them by educating them during their transmission journey. So in the current scenario of corona virus banks should redouble their efforts to smooth customer’s transition to digital.
- Full insight on future of customer’s behavior : banks must adopt effective approach with positive attitude and clear communication, segment specific campaign online coaching and advise to customers for how to carry out specific digital task along with simplified tutorials. Few foreign banks has already come out with an integrated digital corona virus program on banking service, wealth management services, tutorials and timely advisory content as well as non banking related services to prove to be a real friend in need for the customers.
Last but not the least the traditional payments eco-system expose countless people to the risk of a COVID-19 infection, someone with COVID-19 hands a cashier their credit card. The transaction is processed. You’re next. When the cashier hands you your credit card back, it may have viral matter smeared all over it. Then there’s the ATM touch screen. Debit cards, POS terminals with keypads etc. The folio cover in the restaurant with your bill and the pen they give you to sign the check.
Our age old payments system wasn’t ready for the digital era, and it is even less prepared for a infectious pandemic. In the typical day, someone may make a half dozen payments in the petrol pumps, lodging and boarding places, dry cleaners, grocery store, restaurants, etc. there is almost no traditional payment mechanism that doesn’t expose both parties — the payer and payee — to the risk of a COVID-19 infection. Millions of transactions every day. Millions of opportunities to spread everything from the common cold and influenza to more serious diseases … like the deadly coronavirus
This is not to say that mobile devices are, by themselves, free of germs by any means. There are so many articles in print media and TV as well how to disinfect the mobiles without harming to them. What makes them potentially more appealing from a COVID-19 viewpoint is that apps and mobile wallets allow consumers to make in-person payments without contact with another person.
They can “wave and pay” instead of handing and being handed cash, coins, or cards and P2P services like Paytm, Googelpay and PayPal’s can enable individuals to pay and reimburse each other without exchanging cash.
Consumers’ desire for all forms of contactless payment may start ramping up and more time is needed to assess the real and lasting impact on consumer behavior, this is an indication that the tipping point for contactless usage in may arrive faster than anticipated,
“In this moment in time, banks must increase awareness of the contactless feature among the customers and instead educate consumers about all benefits that contactless can offer. Responsible communication should prioritize those who are at the highest risk for infection.”
I hope the world finally be ready to adopt digital wallets now that their lives may depend on it?