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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Banks had to transform their customer approach as branches have been or are still closed down. We saw a necessity to be able to serve customers from distance with the help of technology. This has been indeed largely the case for the BFSI industry. Technology helps connect people with products & services they would have not been able to access otherwise. We call this accelerated shift to digital engagement due to the pandemic: The Pandemic Effect. The distancing rules and the no-touch principle has brought the necessity to rethink the offering of Products & Services via alternative digital-only channels.

From onboarding to loyalty, customer journeys have been re-designed with the use of Digital Channels. The notion of Customer Experience has now evolved into mostly a Digital Experience and the effectiveness of that Digital Experience with a direct impact in Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty.

Customer Behaviors Changing

There are many statistics reflecting the change of consumer behavior linked to the Pandemic. However, the most compelling ones specific to the MENA region, extracted from a recent research lead by EY, are the fact that 69% of consumers believe that the way they live their lives will significantly change in the long term. As we are getting used to new rules and habits with the Pandemic, our lives and behaviors are changing rapidly. The mandatory confinement did not put an end to shopping. We kept on shopping but more than ever online. 92% of consumers in the Middle East think this will continue even after Covid-19. Already widely utilized, the use of digital messaging apps has increased with 71% of consumers using chat applications such as Whatsapp, Botim, etc. The social distancing rules and the fear of physical contact have helped the booming of contactless payments in the UAE with 44% of businesses opting for contactless payments just during the pandemic.

Banks are not exempt from such changes in consumer behaviors and preferences. They face the need to adapt and plan for the consumer of tomorrow by inoculating trust and ensuring that their businesses have the necessary product portfolio, brand experience, and transparency.

As we no longer speak of just consumer experience but rather Digital Experience (or DX), Banks are bound to offer an effective digital engagement to deliver the best experience. They need to be present in channels the customers prefer and with that, let the customer chose the best channel or their preferred channel. They need to provide transparency and deliver the message from the right channels in order to avoid digital noise. From utilizing digital channels, we of course don’t mean to harass digitally the customers. By Knowing their Customer (or KYC) banks need to deliver hyper-personalized messages and offers to increase ROI and loyalty. But more importantly, they need to deliver such messages in the right moment in order to achieve higher satisfaction and loyalty.

Omnichannel is more important than ever

How can a Bank carry out an effective Digital Engagement for its customers? Here we talk about delivering what we like to call «the moment Marketing». Delivering the right content to the right customer from the right channel at the right moment. This is only possible with a combination of Data Unification which helps KYC, an Omnichannel Strategy to deliver consistency and seamlessness, and Automation in order to communicate at the very right moment.

Provided a bank successfully unifies the data, an Omnichannel strategy coupled with Marketing Automation can enable a successful Engagement and therefore create a seamless, unified and pleasant customer journey from onboarding all the way up to loyalty and even brand championing.

Let’s highlight a type of digital engagement several banks we work with have implemented during the confinement period to assist their customers and therefore increase customer satisfaction and retention in a very cost-effective way.

Careful about their cash disposal or cashflow these days, individuals either try to stay away from large spending unless they are of absolute necessity or seek additional financing via the increase of their credit card spending limit. With a simple omnichannel and cost-effective approach, a Financial Institution can make a huge difference in the lives of such individuals with just a few clicks and steps.

Omnichannel and Automation in Harmony

Here is a specific use case where automation comes to play in helping customers with their financing. This particular use-case comes across as a very efficient product to support and engage your customers.

We can imagine a Customer A who makes large spending with his/her credit card and reaches a certain threshold of his/her credit card limit.

Omnichannel AutomationSmartBank checks the total amount of transactions on Customer A’s credit card. With SmartMessage, we can design a workflow such as: if the customer’s card balance reaches a certain percentage of the total limit, the system can offer an increase on credit card limit or a specific loan at a customized interest rate, with payment deferral, all based on the Customer A’s creditworthiness.

As an example, the message can say “We would be delighted to help you with your spendings. We can increase your credit card limit to $10,000 or offer you a loan payable in 12 months with a special rate…”.

Chatbots can create opportunities

As a part of an omnichannel strategy, you may use chatbots and personalized video messages also to increase digital engagement with your customers. Currently, 1.4 Billion people are using chatbots all around the world. Around 80% of Chatbots can answer to the standard questions. 2.5 Billion customer service hours will be saved by the end of 2023 by using Chatbots. Last but not least, with Chatbots, companies can cut operational costs up to 30%.

We categorized the use of Chatbots in the Banking Industry into 3 groups.

The first one is for Streamline Everyday Tasks. Here your customers can use chatbots in order to:

Transfer money between accounts or to a third party. They can get account summary and account details and even view the current balance.

The second one is to Help Customers Find What They Need. Here, we can give examples such as:

Finding the nearest branch, ATMs. Viewing current foreign exchange rates or current interest rates.

And the last one is to Deliver Personalized Customer Experiences:

For this category, your customer can: Report lost or stolen cards. They can view past bank statements or even stop recurring or one-time payments

Personalized Video Messaging Trend

Personalized Video Messaging is also another trend that we would like to emphasize in our post. There is a 335% increase in engagement after integrating Personalized Video into marketing campaigns.

Personalized Vieo Push

We, as SmartMessage, can help you reach your customers by sending a personalized and animated video via email, SMS, or push notification, which can be customized with the customer’s total spending or credit limit and the loan details.

Let us help you engage with your customers better in these uncertain times. Feel free to contact us.