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Combining tech and human interface for customer delight

Pralay Mondal | Updated on November 04, 2014 Published on November 04, 2014

Banks offer a mix of both worlds to woo clients

Banks, similar to all new-age companies, are catching up on all that’s new in the tech field. But does this translate into sounding a death knell for traditional servicing methods such as the human touch?

Despite the irrefutable contribution of technology in improving service quality and customer experience, the adoption of advanced technologies such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) by commercial banks in their customer care centres has left customers feeling aggrieved. Critics say a section of customers prefers physical interaction with bank executives to being serviced by an automated response system.

A direct interaction between customers and executives helps in not only forging a better relationship but also helps in customer satisfaction and consequently, enhanced customer loyalty. The five essential parameters of Service Quality, as per the SERVQUAL Model, are Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, Empathy and Responsiveness. Taking a cue, most modern commercial banks are constantly coming up with innovative offerings to cater to their customers’ needs – by creating a mix of traditional interaction and modern technology.

Innovative offerings

For instance, banks are now getting into video banking, which combines self-service with a face-to-face interaction between a customer and a customer care executive. Alongside, banks are also introducing RFID (radio-frequency identification) based branches that assist in recognising the customers on the basis of RFID chips inserted in their debit cards. Eliminating the need to carry cash or even cards by allowing users to pay via their mobile phones has been yet another innovative breakthrough.

Globally, there have been multiple options on mobile wallet and payment processes, where young customers can access banking services via social networking sites to make online payments. That technology is not anti-people is evident in how it has helped serve people and bring them closer. This had been made possible by a creative use of social networking channels by banks. A superior customer experience is the outcome of several pieces fitting into the bank’s bouquet of offerings. For what may seem to be a simple service such as cash-on-delivery, it needs to be constantly backed up by a combination of logistics, technology, IVR, phone/e-mail/chat support, and Point Of Sale terminals with the delivery boy. And, importantly, all of these supports need to work without a glitch every time a customer places an order, for a seamless experience.

User experience

Instead of deluging users with technology-heavy products, the focus has now changed towards shaping user experience. Thus banks are increasingly motivated to deliver products that are designed around how people naturally do things. The bottom-line is that user experience has, and is going to be the centre of all technology-led development. Thus, banks will strive to provide the best of the both worlds – by marrying technology with human interface.

The writer is Senior Group President, Retail Banking, Axis Bank

Published on November 04, 2014
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