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The door is open to a new way of banking for the digital generation

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Our post today has been contributed by JF Sullivan, CMO & EVP Enterprise at Xura who’s technology helps enterprises all over the world meet the needs of tomorrow’s multi-device, multi-services consumers.

Recent research from Deloitte suggests that ‘trust is the major banks’ biggest asset’. However, after enjoying many years of goodwill, banks have seen this trust eroding as customers have lost confidence in how their data is protected in an increasingly digital world. For this reason, therefore, banks are constantly looking for ways to restore consumer trust in their services.

April saw the beginning of a new age of banking for a “digital generation”, with the launch of Atom Bank, the first truly mobile-only bank.

Making use of features such as biometric authentication – using face and voice recognition in place of passwords – Atom Bank’s app is designed to appeal to consumers who use their mobile devices in practically every aspect of their lives, and who hardly ever interact with the big banks’ High Street branches.

 JF Sullivan of Xura
JF Sullivan of Xura

The challenger bank joins more established names including HSBC, Nationwide and First Direct in introducing biometric technology such as voice and fingerprint recognition for their online and telephone banking customers, cementing its place as the authentication method du jour. And with good reason; using biometrics instead of or alongside traditional passwords or one time codes when connecting to mobile banking apps not only increases the strength of authentication, but also makes the process simpler.

It’s not just about security; convenience is key too.

Improving the customer experience

According to KPMG, there is a real desire from over half of global banking customers for the integration of combined social, personalised and ‘human’ interactions into their bank’s mobile and online applications.

Accustomed to using messaging services such as FaceTime and WhatsApp, consumers are increasingly interested in replicating this experience when dealing with their bank.

Fortunately, recent advances in rich communication technology, such as WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) enabling banks to provide customers with an experience that suits their lifestyle.

WebRTC technology enables real-time, next-generation customer interactions such as video calling, instant messaging and the encrypted sharing of screens and files, all at the touch of a button. Features such as these can not only improve the functionality of a service, but also add the ‘human’ touch that consumers desire.

Combining this rich communication technology with sophisticated security features such as the biometric authentication techniques used by Atom Bank will enable customers to deal remotely with the appropriate bank staff without any need to ever visit a physical branch.

Putting the customer first

Using real-time communication technology puts context around the user at the core of the bank’s offering.

When a customer clicks to communicate with their bank and is authenticated, their chat, video or voice call can be routed straight to a member of branch staff who knows that customer’s circumstances. Should that member of staff be unavailable, the call can then be diverted to the bank’s agent in a call centre who will be able to access the customer’s transaction history or pull relevant contextual information from the customer’s mobile app or web screen. Doing so will allow any issues to be resolved quickly without requiring the customer to repeat any information.

Putting the customer and their information first in this way allows for faster call resolution as part of a more personalised service, and greater peace of mind for the customer. As a result, the bank enjoys substantial cost savings and increased customer loyalty.

Analysts estimate that over six billion devices will be WebRTC-capable by 2019 and, with more apps and services available than ever before for connecting and communicating with customers, it’s crucial that banks embrace the current digital revolution if they hope to improve customer loyalty and save on costs.

Integrating sophisticated biometric authentication techniques with rich communication technology such as WebRTC will support banks in their drive to improve the way they interact with their customers, enabling secure, intelligent, personalised two-way dialogues across any device.

Atom Bank has opened the door to new way of interacting with financial service providers, and it will be interesting to see how the market reacts, and how many banks will follow their lead.

Ewan is Founder and Editor of FinTech Profile and Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of mobile and FinTech industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.
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