Humanizing Businesses- How Can Technology Help?

By Sathish Chandran, President and Global Head, Demand Fulfilment Group, SunTec Business Solutions
Karthik Tadepalli, GM, Commercial Deposits and Pricing, Commonwealth Bank of Australia

For several years now, the world has been on a digital first trajectory. The pandemic accelerated the pace of digitization further. Amidst this largely digital business landscape, what does humanization of business look like and how can organizations achieve this even as they continue their technology adoption journey? SunTec Confluence 2022 saw a fireside chat between Sathish Chandran, President and Global Head, Demand Fulfilment Group, SunTec Business Solutions and Karthik Tadepalli, GM, Commercial Deposits and Pricing, Commonwealth Bank of Australia on “Humanizing Businesses – How Can Technology Help?”

Digitization is key for banks to thrive in an increasingly competitive and risky market environment. Automating processes can help save time, money and resources that would have otherwise been required to run them. But despite this, it is important for them to remember that customers still want some human interaction. And above all, they want banks to know what they need, understand their requirements, and offer them custom-built solutions. Banks must adopt a customer centric, relationship-based strategy, or in other words, treat them as a segment of one. If they don’t, they run the risk of commoditizing themselves, which would make them replaceable in the eyes of the customer. To be honest, this is not new. Decades ago, when people shopped at the neighborhood kirana stores, the store owner usually knew each customer, knew which brands they liked, knew what they might need and even knew how to make recommendations based on their likes and dislikes. Banks in this digital era are being held to the same standards of personal attention and they have reams of data to help them deliver this personalization.

Banking right now is at an interesting juncture with the emergence of innovative models like open banking, embedded banking, and ecosystems. All these new models put the customer at the heart of banking and offer a hyper-personalized, value-driven, and relationship-based experience. Each of these also leverages data for driving an enhanced customer experience. Banks, with the reams of customer data in their systems have an advantage with such models if they can leverage data well for actionable insights. Each of these models offer banks significant growth opportunities and they must now focus on deploying advanced data technologies like AI to use data to understand even unstated customer requirements and develop not just personalized products and services but also engagement models that incorporate the right degree of automation and human interaction.

Of course, with large volumes of data in play, there are questions of security and privacy. Where do banks draw the line between using data to better serve customers and intrusion into their private lives. The important thing to remember here is that the banking space is one of the most tightly regulated ones in the world. Regulations and standards pertaining to data privacy and protection are mandatory and non-compliance can have serious financial consequences as well impact reputation and brand. Banks today take data privacy seriously and are also implementing cutting-edge technology-based security solutions to safeguard customer information.

The biggest challenge before banks today comes in the form of big tech companies who are making inroads into financial services, especially payments. Traditional banks have their task cut out for them.

They must use data to understand their customers better and meet their requirements with hyper personalized offerings. They must be transparent with their business practices and must strike a balance between automation and human interaction. The focus right now is on the customers and their needs. And any bank that can ensure the financial well-being of their customers has an edge in the market. Most traditional banks still enjoy significant customer trust, and now is the time to build on it with relationship-based practices targeted to a segment of one. To achieve this, banks must now turn their attention to digitizing their back-end processes since most have fully digitized their front ends. An end-to-end digitized banking ecosystem can make the best use of data for a humanized and customer-centric strategy.

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