For many people in Asia, doing business is not a pleasure – it’s a pain. There is a lot of paper, processes aren’t convenient and there is no such thing as seamless customer service. The reality is people don’t want to deal with banks unless they have to. This has become even more true in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, which led many customers to stop trusting the traditional banking system.
Now banks are looking to address this growing wave of distrust and negativity. They are starting to shift gears to become more customer-friendly. They are looking for ways to truly help customers address needs in their daily lives, while also improving the customer experience.
For many of these banks, fintech is driving the opportunity to change public perception. This is because fintech is giving banks the tools to move from a product view to a more customer-centric view of their business. But what exactly can fintech companies and partnerships offer traditional banks?
1. Help create a seamless banking system. Fintech companies can help banks implement solutions that connect all aspects of a customer’s interactions with a bank – making it easy for customers to access services, whether in person or online.
2. Provide targeted service offerings. Fintech companies can use data analytics to provide customers of a bank with targeted information on opportunities and incentives that matter to them; for example, by suggesting products or services that reflect what other, similar, consumers have used.
3. Target a wide variety of customers. Fintech companies can give banks the opportunity to cost effectively provide insights to all types of customers, not just high net worth clients. Advances in data analytics and robo-advisory are making wealth management more accessible to all. Banks that can integrate such fintech innovations into their organizations will be better able to meet the needs of a broader group of customers.
4. Address the basic needs of the unbanked and underbanked. While banks may not be able to set up branches in remote regions of Asia, they can use fintech to help address the simple yet critical needs of the unbanked and underbanked – a large and typically overlooked segment. Fintech can provide banks with easy and inexpensive mechanisms to reach these customers to give them more convenient options to make mobile payments or to remit money to family members in other countries.
5. Become customer-centric. For banks that have long focused on products, there is now an opportunity to build trust by focusing on the customer first – by speaking to customers about their specific needs, problems and desires with respect to wealth management. To do this effectively, banks need to focus on internal data analytics. This is where fintech can help. Banks can use fintech to mine their data and to understand who their customers are and what they want. This can, in turn, lead to better and more tailored banking offerings for all customers.
In a world where banks have become inherently distrusted, the banks that can use fintech to become more customer-centric will be better positioned to establish more trusted relationships based on their ability to provide seamless, convenient and customer-specific interactions with their customers.
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Jan Reinmueller heads the digital village and innovation ventures program at KPMG in Singapore. As the lead of innovation ventures, he is responsible for turning opportunities into customer-centric products and serves as an innovation partner for corporate clients. His focus is on maximising commercial impact and optimising time in bringing products to market. He drives innovation out of the digital lab by contextualising and commercializing startup innovations to address new market opportunities. Jan brings international experience and knowledge of markets in US, Europe, India and ASEAN.
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