The pandemic has created unprecedented global health, humanitarian, and economic crises. Now, as the world today experiences the sobering reality of COVID-19, governments, societies, institutions, and corporations are working together to deal with this situation while working toward what’s gradually becoming our “new normal.”
The ongoing consequences of COVID-19 for the global economy -- and the financial sector in particular – are largely unpredictable. However, banking industry earnings are expected to plummet in the short term since both interest and non-interest-based activities are expected to shrink.
Looking forward, banks need to focus on liquidity, long-term credit risk, and the well-being of their employees as well as the quality of their financial reporting and disclosures. However, at the same time, banks must change the way they have been operating up until this point.
Shifting to branchless banking by leveraging self-assisted channels
Banks now must take the lead in changing customer behaviors by driving them toward self-assisted channels. Retail branches need to dial back operations, limiting them to services that require physical activities, paperwork, and other in-person needs. The usage of mobile apps and the internet has gained momentum over the last decade, making the shift to serving customers via e-channels a valid option.
According to a McKinsey report, by 2023 India will increase its number of internet users by about 40 percent, totaling between 750 million and 800 million, as well as double its number of smartphone users, totaling between 650 million and 700 million. The report also states that the potential for India's internet subscriber base could reach 835 million by 2023.
This increased penetration of mobile devices and internet users has made banking processes cheaper to manage, quicker to execute, and faster to scale-up. In fact, this technology revolution can be leveraged to transition from branchless banking to a state of “banking for all.” As time passes, customers -- many of whom are increasingly wary of spending time in crowded public spaces -- will continue to seek opportunities conduct banking without physical interaction.
Accelerating digital transformation to modernize contact centers
The other area banks must focus on is modernizing their contact centers.
Banking systems typically consist of multiple applications, sub-systems, and core banking solutions. Oftentimes, the servicing platform supports core processes using a disjointed set of applications with complicated flows and mechanisms, resulting in an inconsistent user experience.
Agents manage these servicing activities using multiple systems and varying interfaces. Unfortunately, this setup affects end customer experiences due to slower service created by complex processes.
To improve customer experiences and prepare for the future, contact center modernization should be a part of a bank’s overall digital transformation strategy and initiatives. Prioritizing these initiatives will help deliver a competitive advantage while driving business value creation. By increasing the speed and quality of calls, banks can provide a seamless user experience and improved customer experience while increasing customer retention.
Banks can deploy intelligent AI assistants to deliver a conversational experience to users across channels, segregate assisted and self-assisted channels, and integrate channels with the servicing apps.
Apart from their contact centers, banks can also leverage AI, ML, and intelligent automation to reduce human efforts within banking operations. Examples of these processes include KYC / onboarding, account opening, retail and commercial landing, remittances, payment processing, and trade finance deals that involve a number of physical, scanned, and electronic documents such as email attachments (Word, PDF, images) and SWIFT messages. These processes require a significant amount of manual effort to process, validate, and enter the information into the systems for further processing. Most of these activities are often repetitive and prone to human errors as well.
It would be ideal to eliminate manual intervention, but if that’s not possible, efforts can be made to reduce it by deploying AI and automation solutions like deep text information extraction, image processing, and improved OCR and NLP capabilities equipped with powerful automation solutions.
The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in increased demand for remote work capabilities, which is also driving the need for AI and automation at an unprecedented rate and pace. Because of this, Wipro has looked into creating multiple capabilities – including our Remote Worker, Remote Digital Contact Center, Remote Continuous IT Compliance, and Virtual Health Assistant solutions -- that aid remote working with significantly higher productivity and engagement.