FASTforward: Serving Your Customer in a Real-Time, Multichannel Model

General sessions are done for the conference, but there’s still some interesting breakout sessions. I’ve moved to the financial services track to hear Ilkka Korkiakoski, a VP at TietoEnator (a European IT services firm) talk about the challenges for the financial services industry as it moves to real-time multichannel customer interaction. Korkiakoski was previously with the OP Bank Group, so he understands this not just from the vendor side, but from the customer side as well; TietoEnator prides themselves on their depth of vertical experience in banking and other specific industries.

He started with a perspective on what’s happening in the financial services industry, particularly in Europe:

  • Consumer behavior is fundamentally changing
  • The expected response time of a request is now minutes, not days
  • The number of customer requests and transactions sent to the back office is 10x that of 1998
  • The “Business to Consumer” model will die, and be replaced with “Consumer to Business”
  • There has been a shift in strategy within banks from product leadership (1995-2000) to operational excellence (2000-2005) to customer intimacy (2005-now)

The first generation of digital services were created for the digital immigrants, whereas the second generation of digital services are being created for digital natives: those young enough that web technology has always been a part of their life. The first generation included (at the time) innovative — for the time — services such as self service and online access to information and services while still maintaining silos by channel, whereas the second generation will mix business and social components and destroy the barriers between channels for a multichannel consumer experience. To support this, the people within the bank must adapt, and new tools must be created.

Looking at the high-level trends:

  • Digital service penetration: basic banking services continue moving to digital channels
  • Customer retention: each interaction counts and service experience will be a critical differentiation factor
  • Industrialization: growing digitalization and complexity of products and services drive industrialization
  • Regulation puts pressure on margins: many initiatives, including SEPA, Basel II, MiFiD, IFRS, Solvency II and SOX
  • Industry consolidation: a lot of issues related to integration, economies of scale and differentiation
  • Service and product innovations: smaller segments, new types of offerings and bundling will grow rapidly

Moving on to look at opportunities for enterprise search in financial services:

  • Customer knowledge, to augment the information in a CRM system
  • Sales and customer service desktops, to assist with answering queries
  • Service experience in real-time multichannel processes, to supplement the structured data offered to a customer
  • Market and business intelligence
  • Regulatory and compliance
  • Fraud detection, where search and rules combine in complex event processing

Electronic banking has evolved from the basic ATMs of the early 1980s to web banking in the mid 1990s to personalized services in the early 2000s to interactive multichannel services today. As Europe moved to its reliance on internet banking — over 80% of retail transactions are conducted online, with the remainder split between in-branch and the call center — a single platform is required to support the multiple channels, such that the same information and functionality is available regardless of whether the customer is interacting with the bank on the web, in person or over the phone.

The result for the web-based user interaction is a customized portal view that includes supporting information personalized for that customer via contextual search, in addition to the expected structured transactional data.

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