What must APAC banks do to improve their customer experience?

How can banks in the Asia-Pacific region deliver a better customer experience to their users?

Creating a strong customer experience needs to be a priority for all financial institutions in today’s environment. With consumers more likely than ever to move around between banks and price no longer a primary factor in decision-making for many people, being able to differentiate on the services and experience on offer will be the key to success in many cases.

Yet despite this, it seems many banks are not doing enough to build an effective omni-channel environment and deliver the high level of experience that today’s customers now demand – at least in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

This is according to a new report which warned maturity levels for omni-channel efforts in this part of the world remain low, which results in customers having to deal with inconsistent experiences.

APAC banks still in the early stages of development

This is the key finding of a recent report by International Data Corporation (IDC), which found that four-fifths (80 percent) of banks in this region are still delivering “inconsistent, unpredictable” customer experiences, as they are still in the early stages of developing an omni-channel strategy. As a result, these institutions are lagging behind their counterparts elsewhere in the world when it comes to strengthening their offerings.

Nearly half of banks (46.4 percent) still only take an ad-hoc approach to their omni-channel strategies, resulting in a ‘shallow’ customer experience, IDC found. A further 36.5 percent only have an opportunistic approach that leads to an ‘enriched’ experience.

At the other end of the scale, just 6.8 percent are able to offer an ‘amplified’ experience through a managed strategy, while just 0.7 percent of APAC banks have a fully optimized approach.

The need to focus on omni-channel

This could be hugely problematic for many banks, as shifting customer trends in the APAC region mean that offering these services is no longer optional, but essential. The report stated: “Customers today are engaging in a myriad of omni-experiences involving social interactions, work relationships and commerce, all enabled by personal and business digital interfaces.”

IDC Financial Insights estimates that 86 percent of customers in Asia-Pacific will be active on digital channels by 2020, with 15 percent of these interacting exclusively via these channels – up from five percent in 2015.

“Omni-experience is in the top three priorities of the banking sector in Asia-Pacific,” said Sneha Kapoor, senior research manager at IDC Financial Insights. “There is a large opportunity that can be captured by investing in digital transformation and creating superior customer engagement. Customers today expect banks to deliver easy, convenient and consistent interactions across multiple channels.”

Meeting the demands

So what must banks in the region do to ensure they’re able to meet the growing needs of their customer base? While investing in digital transformation is clearly essential if omni-channel initiatives are to succeed, projects may well be doomed to fail unless banks can clearly assess their current capabilities, identify areas where they could strengthen their offerings and start a dialog that involves business, digital and technology executives about goals and actions relative to such transformations.

IDC noted that banks that are able to successfully disrupt legacy ways of doing business and consistently meet their target customer needs will be able to grow loyalty across their entire ecosystem, including customers, employees, and partners.

Written by Jack Dougal

Jack Dougal

Jack Dougal is Banking.com's resident news reporter. He writes regular blogs covering the latest stories and key developments in the global financial services industry.

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