A New Landscape for Retail Banking: New report from Efma with Microsoft

Efma with Microsoft Corp. today released the sixth edition of […]

October 14, 2011

Efma with Microsoft Corp. today released the sixth edition of the Retail Banking Advisory Council (RBAC) report, entitled ‘A New Landscape for Retail Banking: Developing channels to enhance the customer experience’.

The report, which explores the latest trends in the retail banking industry, focused on developing channels to enhance the customer experience concentrated on three main areas:
• The development and integration of channels
• The enhancement and measurement of the customer experience
• The transformation and refinement of the sales process

The key topics of interest and issues currently facing the retail banking sector across these three areas were highlighted by the report, and include the following:

The development and integration of channels
• Banks are increasingly concerned about managing relationships with customers through direct channels. As very few customers are regular branch users, it is imperative that banks improve their ability to manage customers remotely and become less reliant on branches not just for service but in sales.
• In the meantime, branch formats will continue to change significantly, with many variations targeted towards different customer segments in increasingly diverse locations.
• Customers are demanding access to online banking through an increasing number of devices. These ‘self-directed customers’ want to choose how they interact online with their bank via PCs or mobile devices. Thus, the online channel must evolve from a service platform focused on transactions to a relationship-building platform – providing consistent mobile and browser experiences integrated into the fabric of social media.

The enhancement and measurement of the customer experience
• There are still strong regional differences in how customers utilise different channels across Europe but the pressure to reduce costs and therefore physical branch networks is growing.
• Banks need strong real-time business intelligence as well as social media listening capabilities to capture issues and opportunities which may emerge from existing customers as well as means to attract new customers. Banks need to be present in the lives of their customers at any time, in any place,

on any device and across any channel.
• A core issue for banks is getting the right balance between physical and non-physical relationship management. Banks have to become smarter in how they utilise their increasing number of non-branch contacts. Those banks that can manage remote customer relationships most effectively will be amongst the winners of the future.

Tony Emerson, Microsoft

The transformation and refinement of the sales process
• The pace of change is accelerating and with the increasing use of new channels such as social media and accelerated mobile banking development there is increasing pressure for banks to not only to develop a more integrated customer experience but also to reengineer the role of the branch.
• Large pan-European banks need to establish a core set of customer values, delivered in a consistent way across multiple countries.
Patrick Desmarès, Secretary General of Efma, commented: “With an increasing number of banks migrating from a product-centric to a customer-centric approach, the focus is still very much on providing a seamless and consistent customer service across all channels. Council member banks from across Europe are gradually increasing sales from non-branch channels but this will have to be significantly accelerated over the next few years if the cost to deliver and serve customers is to be reduced.”


Tony Emerson, EMEA Banking Director at Microsoft (picture), added: “Council members face the challenge of building stronger customer relationships and selling an increasing number of products through all channels while simultaneously reducing cost. In the future we will see considerable differences between banks in the way they achieve the highest levels of integrated customer experience across delivery channels. Banks that have already made the necessary investment in both technology and processes should be able to gain a sustainable competitive advantage over the next few years.”

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