People, by nature, do not immediately trust nor utilize something that they do not understand. May it be a tool, a means to communicate or a means to transact, it is human nature to be skeptical. However, there are times when nature or an epic event happens that force people to either adapt or rely on something that they do not understand but are forced to. Case in point, the recent surge in contactless transactions.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, less than 30% of the 110 million population did contactless banking, while only 4% of the population did mobile transactions (payments). The Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) left much, if not, majority of the population locked inside their homes or in the places where they stay, resulting to the curtailment of certain liberties like physically going to a place to pay, buy or sell. In the nearly 90 days of being under ECQ, majority of the people begrudgingly took to contactless payments because there was no choice – and they liked it. The pandemic has forced Filipinos to adapt a digital lifestyle.
A leading bank in the Philippines reported more than a 100% uptake in terms of new client acquisitions digitally and there is no reason to doubt this figure. According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the number of InstaPay transactions from March until April was at 15.56 million, which was 3.9 million or 34.50 percent higher compared to figures during pre-ECQ months from January to February which was at 11.57 million.
Vulnerability and Opportunity
What this pandemic has shown the public is that a lot of financial institutions (FIs) got caught flatfooted: these FIs were simply not prepared to handle the situation that COVID-19 put their business in. They were also put in a situation wherein they were unprepared to provide digital, omni-channel touchpoints, leaving their customers without any alternative access to their finances.
Before the lockdown, customers were scampering to their banks to get cash so that they will have (hopefully) enough on-hand so that they can live (pay their bills, purchase goods, and send money to loved ones). If the bank or financial institution that these people are with had an omni-channel digital capability, they would have not scurried towards ATMs and banks as they will have had the means to transact via the touchpoint that is in their hands all the time during the lockdown period, which is their mobile phone.
The post COVID-19 “new normal” presents opportunities for businesses to pivot, moving away from their siloed existence and moving into an omni-channel ecosystem to stay relevant. This is most true for the financial services industry. Post-pandemic Filipinos will slide into a more digital
lifestyle, as the old norms of visiting physical touchpoints that will have groups of people visiting will become a worrying proposition.
Planning for recovery and adapting new platforms (that brings in omni-channel capabilities) for the new normal shows to customers that the business is serious about bouncing back. This will assure customers that the organization is stable, is reliable in times of crisis and is determined to be in business for a long time. By putting a serious effort into bouncing back, the customers may be inspired to bounce back themselves. For the business, omni-channel, supported by agile, will help the FI adapt to unexpected market forces or unanticipated events like the COVID-19.
COVID-19 Forces a Deep Dive
Before anything else, a financial institution must make a realization that it has to go digital and it needs to prepare itself to transform digitally. Banks really would need to go on digital transformation journey. If they do not, it will not be possible to scale up. Opting to go the omni-channel route means change and the FI needs a system in place to effectively deliver and manage change. The absence of this system will curtail efforts of the company to go digital such as launching an omni-channel platform.
In the months or years to come, convenience will not be driving customers and their banks to go digital through omni-channel platforms – necessity will and, as the customers put considerable pressure, FIs will need to adapt and do so quickly.
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing FIs to take a deep look into contactless banking for its customers through any channel that is available to the customer at anytime, anywhere. FIs are starting to diagnose their competencies and capabilities to go omni-channel. Businesses that have already have a solid footing in omni-channel prior to the pandemic hitting gives these businesses a definite edge but this health crisis has forced these early adopters to rethink and further improve their omni-channel competencies. The rest will now start to play catch-up.
This pandemic will drive the world into implementing an omni-channel environment, where individual touchpoints will invisibly meld, giving customers a seamless experience – whether to shop or to do banking. Freed from constrictions of siloed touchpoints, customers will look more at FIs that can provide them with better service through any channel that is available to the customer anytime and anywhere. The expectations of customers have now radically shifted.
While FIs will acknowledge this change or the needed change, delivering this customer experience
will largely depend on the platform they will use – it has to be consistent and seamless, where in the customer experience is the same no matter the channel. Therefore, the imperative of a sound omni-channel strategy is far more reaching that just having a website or a mobile app – their.
Change Has to Start Now
Now that the country and the rest of the world slowly tries to carefully get back on their feet, FIs need to do a rapid assessment of the current capabilities of the organization if it can implement an omni-channel solution. Executing an omni-channel solution simplifies and enriches the experience of customers with the brand. It will bring about closer relationships between the brand and the customer. It will also improve margins and generate more customer loyalty. Diversification of the channels can also reduce risk, plus it can improve employee efficiency because (the once) “siloed” employees can now be “omni-employees”. Further, omni-channel will provide new sales channels for the brand that gives targeted marketing and moment-specific marketing capabilities to the business.
FIs are now in a pressure test to come up with strategies to reshape its customer service delivery landscape through omni-channel, as implementing an omni-channel solution will be an imperative strategic move for these institutions in the months to come. Geniusto can help FIs with their strategic decisions as we have the competencies and platforms that can accelerate the digital transformation of FIs
Our experience in omni-channel solutions and platforms will provide consistency to a financial institution across the five main areas that they need to focus on which are: strategy, competency, technology and data, staff and organization, and procedures. We can provide an FI with a solution and a platform that gives a multi-dimensional view for customer insight, communications, marketing, partnerships, channel service and product and service distribution. We can assist FIs to formulate the best transformation roadmap that will allow the business to leverage omni-channel capabilities. Through our digital transformation roadmap and using our omni-channel solutions and platforms, FIs can reach a better position for its brand and business in the “new normal” marketplace.