Banking upon digital: IndusInd Bank’s innovations to redefine customer experience
In an interaction with Express Computer, Sudhakar Ramasubramanian, Chief Digital Officer, IndusInd Bank, explains the shift in customers’ banking patterns and how IndusInd Bank’s digital channels, coupled with omni-channel initiatives, are ensuring a seamless banking experience for customers
From an organisation perspective, what was your preparedness to tackle the crisis, in terms of digital practices and workforce culture?
IndusInd Bank has a history of introducing first-of-its-kind banking solutions. The ability to innovate, coupled with our suite of digital solutions helped our customers tide over these tough times. Soon after the lockdown was announced, we were able to provide our customers with a fully paperless process of opening a savings as well as a fixed deposits (FD) account.
In keeping with the vision of constant innovation, IndusInd Bank was also amongst the first banks in the country to launch the video KYC service for its customers who wished to open savings accounts, fixed deposits, or order a credit card online. Our highly rated mobile banking application with over 100 services continues to be a preferred mode of undertaking digital transactions for our customers. Additionally, we have built several new channels our customers to choose from such as WhatsApp, IndusAssist Chatbot, Alexa Banking, etc.
Recent developments also include:
- Integration with the state-of-the-art CRM Next platform, which offers an omni-channel servicing layer for seamless customer experience and delivery
- Launching of a new corporate website which offers a whole new experience to our customers and has been built on the pillars of an intuitive user interface, discoverability as well as rich and deep product insights
- IndusAssist, our AI based chatbot is a channel which is available 24×7 for responding and resolving customer queries without any human intervention
To ensure that majority of our workforce could stay safe and be productively deployed, the bank has taken several initiatives to enable a secure technology environment and invested in video conference solutions for them to work from home as well as and a cloud-based dialler solution for outbound sales teams. With regard to banking operations, IndusInd Bank as an organisation responded exceedingly well amidst the crisis, with branches, contact centres, ATMs remaining fully operational, and catering to financial needs of our customers. We are constantly monitoring the situation and will continue to take all possible steps to safeguard the valued interests of our customers and our employees.
What has been the impact of Covid-19 crisis on your customer behaviour and needs?
We have seen a clear shift in customer preference towards digital channels for fulfilling all requirements – right from opening an account to remote on-boarding to digital payments and e-servicing. Shifting to digital channels has been a natural progression for our clients as we have seen a significant traction not only in the mobile banking channel, but also in AEPS based transactions in rural areas and in WhatsApp channels for service related requirements.
How has the change in banking habits of customers translated for IndusInd Bank’s digital platforms?
Digital transactions stand at 86 per cent by volume in June 2020 vis-à-vis 84 per cent by volume at the end of March 2020. Whereas, digital account opening has been at over 2x during between April and June, vis-à-vis January to March. Alsoo, digital deposits – both from existing customers and new customers – with volumes being over 4x during from April to June, vis-à-vis January to March.
What’s the significance of emerging technologies in ensuring personalised services and customer experiences and what are IndusInd Bank’s steps in this direction?
The bank ensures that the customer’s needs are of utmost importance. While ensuring data privacy, we have invested in state-of-the art data analytics and campaign management architecture that enables us to identify customer needs through non-personal data driven approach and reach the right products to the customers at the right time. We are also partnering with AI/ML based technology solution providers to ensure better servicing of customer needs in a personalised manner. This includes pre-approving clients for loans and credit cards so that they can avail them seamlessly via digital means in minutes when they need them. We also analyse transaction patterns of client and educate them on the most convenient ways to meet their transactional needs through the right channel like mobile, net banking, WhatsApp or video banking as well as on getting the most out of their savings. Our upgrade programme endeavours to match clients with products and services that are in line with their requirements and lifestyle. We also use data analytics extensively to enable our employees to have meaningful conversations with clients.
In the present times, how is the need for omni-channel customer engagement such as WhatsApp banking and how are customers embracing these services?
Social media is helping the bank understand and service its customers, especially the millennials in a much more focussed manner. We were one of the first banks to launch a full-fledged WhatsApp Banking proposition for our customers; this latest innovative addition to our ‘OnTheGo’ Social Banking platform provides customers with a host of information regarding their transactions, account balance, loan related information, customised offers, rewards points as well booking an FD online, amongst many others. We see healthy early trends on WA Banking uptake.
In a ‘new normal’ scenario, do you expect a ‘Phygital’ banking environment with more emphasis on online channels?
We have already seen this shift happening over last the few quarters with customers preferring our digital channels – this is reflected in share of digital transactions growing in terms of the overall bank transactions. With the launch of the fully digital savings and FD account opening journeys as well as the emphasis on video KYC, we will now see this shift becoming more pertinent across the customer lifecycle.
In addition, our on-the-ground phygital offering has also been a big success. We have ushered in the most convenient cash-in, cash-out points in rural areas which is coupled with a friendly neighbourhood guide, who caters to the customer’s financial needs. This innovation has been done through Bharat Financial Inclusion, a 100 per cent subsidiary of IndusInd Bank and is called a ‘Bharat Money Store’.
Bharat Money Store offers the convenience of facilitating deposits and withdrawals for the rural population based in remote locations of the country. With the help of a Bharat Money Store, rural villagers can now walk into their nearest Kirana store to make basic financial transactions like repaying loans, depositing money, withdrawing cash, making utility and other kinds of bill payments. Bharat Money Stores are actively supporting government’s efforts at encouraging the usage of the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) model by enabling withdrawal at their neighborhood shop for over four lakh beneficiaries in Karnataka, Odisha, Maharashtra and Bihar.
What are the key areas – technologies, platforms, services – that you will be focusing on?
We will continue to work on our core digital banking channels like net and mobile banking in our endeavour to improve and enhance our digital offerings, while scaling up on emerging channels like WhatsApp Banking.