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Panelists

Angelo D'Alessandro

CEO & Founder

Bellaloves.me

Rod Boothby

Global Head of Identity-Digital Platform

Banco Santander

Rohit Arora

CEO & Co-founder

Biz2credit

Key Takeaways

Our panelists work with renowned banks on the Wall Street and provide the scoop to improve customer experience is a definite way.

  • Bring empathy and trust back into banking

    If banks expect the people to trust them with their money, then just a flashy UI or faster KYCs will not do the trick.
  • Communication channels more precise and direct

    Consumers do not want to fight with IVRs and AIs. Create systems that help consumers, as opposed to one that establishes the illusion of assistance.
  • Banks need a balance of digital and non-digital

    The COVID crisis has pushed the need for digitization, but these changes should occur at profitable spaces in the system that deems fit. Transactional data from clients will help determine what changes take priority.
  • Digitization needs to impact both the backend and the front end of touchpoints

    Customers will automatically see better results if you can use better APIs and data management tools. A glitch-free backend is more important than the colors of your mobile application.

In this video, Angelo D’alessandro (CEO and Founder, Bella Bank), Rod Boothby (Global Head of Identity, Santander), and Rohit Arora(CEO and Co-Founder Biz2Credit) discuss some pre-conceived notions about consumer experience in banking.

You can continue watching the video above or if you prefer reading, here’s a summary of the video chat – keep reading!

What is the Norm For An Ideal Consumer Experience  

No one wants to come back to the branch. – Rod Boothby.

The new norm of the consumer experience is the digital world itself. The banking sector has been slow to adapt to this change, but it is an ongoing struggle for many.

Especially after the pandemic, safety has become the overriding factor to digitization. Rohit Arora points out that banks that never had a digital application have now set aside resources to establish them. It’s here that Fintech companies have an upper hand.

“Some large core banking companies are not able to do simple tasks like updating their APIs,” says Rohit. With the Fintech wave touching the shores a few years before the pandemic, digital-first companies have had no trouble adapting to newer consumer experiences.

COVID19 has accelerated a ten-year digitalization process to a single year of resilience building. This divide in consumer experience is most evident in big-banks than new FinTech startups.

What We Need In Banking: The Bella Bank Model

The most fundamental way to explain impeccable customer experience: “When I need my bank, and my bank is there for me,” says Angelo D’Alessandro, co-founder of Bella Bank.

Before Bella bank, Angelo played a pivotal role in setting up Buddy Bank. The inspiration behind BuddyBank was to bring trust and empathy to the banking sector. The color of the card or the process of the KYC is not what defines a bank anymore. All banks offer attractive interest rates too. What most of them lack is the human touch—and Bella Bank (and BuddyBank) aim to fill that void.

Buddy Bank’s first step was to have 24×7 human operators, not AIs, ChatBots, or IVRs. Only a human can gauge emotions and the severity of the consumer’s needs.

In 2014, Rod Boothby Co-founded NPM, a platform used by 12 million developers. When Rod was inches away from gaining funding, the company had no bank account to place the funds. He reminisces the efficiency of “Silicon Valley Bank.” On hearing their predicament, an agent came to the VC’s office and set up the account.

Rod Boothby reaffirms the Bella Bank model of empathy and how it is an excellent way to win trust.

Digital does not need to replace humans; they need to help them. – Rohit Arora.

Are Banks Selling Products or Trying To Help Consumers?

Most banks compromise or lose consumer experience when the process gets more significant. If a consumer were to approach an established bank to seek a house loan, the experience could be average or awful. The number of steps and systems restrict quality service.

Small banks, however, have fewer consumers making it easier for them to confront every issue diligently.  

Rohit Arora justifies the debate further—he believes that it is not about “big banks or small banks.” The people behind the scenes, like managers and directors, define the bank. When banks want to empathize with the consumers—it is overwritten by a company policy.

Rohit states the example of Amazon “If you are unhappy with Amazon.com, you can send an email to Jeff Bezos, but that will never happen to a bank.”

Banks need to customize their message and make it sound friendly, rather than like a user-manual.

Banks can’t do the same thing for 400 years, and digital gives us the instruments to do things differently. – Angelo D’Alessandro

Offer Value To Consumers

To eliminate the divide between management and agents, the founder of WordPress spends a week in customer care. This exercise gives them room to decipher the value of a consumer and understand the concerns. BuddyBank also incorporated the same practice.

Buddy bank created a factor on the consumer data sheet called “LOVE DATA”. This field contained personal–interest-based information like the name of the pet, anniversary day, etc. These data points helped the operators with more “human” conversation starters; than reading off a script.

Rod Boothby and Santander took a different approach by creating a free educational application. The app presented information on better banking and ways to save money. Santander believed this practice helped eliminate doubts about the bank and better trust the services.  

Challenges of Banking in a Contactless World

There are primarily two challenges for any bank:

1. Millenials Do Not Want to Visit the Physical Branch

The mobile-phone generation does not want to be at the bank; they do not even want to make a phone call. Any bank that still needs physical KYC’s or non-digital consumer support will never win the younger client. And the youth, eventually, are those with better spending capacity.  

2. Battle With Government Regulations

Each country obeys regulation that governs the banking system. And this can pose a threat to the bank’s innate process. For example, some countries do not let you open a bank app. Consumers must visit the bank, meet a teller, and perform simple tasks like a KYC.  

Will More Information Help Make Better Consumer Experience?

Data might not always be a good thing, and all our speakers agree to this.

It is not about the volume of consumer data but the quality of data-points. The best way to protect customer privacy is by asking lesser questions, says Rod Boothby.

The more data banks collect, the bigger the vulnerability of the information.

Rohit believes that banks must collect higher amounts of Non-PIA (Privacy Impact Assessment) data. These can be information such as transaction rate, the number of accounts, etc. This information is not dangerous; but useful for banks to gauge their progress. 

Transactional data is bigger than consumer data. – Rohit Arora.

Customer experience is the single most important entity of any company. Providing a warm and approachable consumer support network is the best way to retain clients and win new ones. A product can stand out just with the support that backs it.