For our third edition of our ‘5 Questions on Digital Innovation‘ (including social media, gamification, crowdsourcing), I interviewed Aman Narain, the Global Head of Online and Mobile Banking at Standard Chartered.
From the very first time I met my now friend Aman Narain – Global Head of Online & Mobile Banking at Standard Chartered in Singapore back in September 2008 (before the Retail Banking Innovations conference), I knew I had met someone special.
In my opinion, his team demonstrates the highest level of team spirit in the worldwide banking industry. And it shows in the many innovative products and services they launched over the last four years.
So not so long ago, I sent a few questions (ten to be exact) to Aman on Standard Chartered’s online, mobile and social media banking strategy and activity in 2012 and 2013.
Please find below his comprehensive response.
1. Could you please share with us your latest stats on Standard Chartered’s remote banking activity in APAC?
Sure. For starters we have recently crossed 2.5 milion Digitally Active customers (that’s across Online and Mobile) which is a nice milestone for us as a team having more than tripled this base since we started the journey four years back.
So more customers are using our channel than ever and they are using it with higher intensity. The best part is our how our customers are happy to advocate on our behalf by recommending us – our Net Promoter Scores (on logout) have never been higher.
Finally, we also just achieved our 1 millionth unique downloads of Breeze and Smartphone Banking apps. We are only just getting started there. So exciting times as always.
2. Talk us through your latest key initiatives and main achievements. Any exclusive info on a future project would be much appreciated.
We have been very focussed over the last year on helping monitize our digital channels and, in particular, driving sales through them. We have had some good success with the sale of credit cards online. We’re expecting to go from from almost zero cards sold online to least 100,000 sales this year – a nice achievement by my team.
We are also building our capabilities for the sales of personal loans. Additionally, we are also redesigning the user experience to make current and savings accounts opening online easier. Apart from sales, mobile and payments are the two big drivers of growth and innovation.
For our part, we continue to try and find creative ways to engage with our customers and staff for that matter. Some of these have been making our background screens on mobile apps change based on events or even the time of day and using crowdsourcing to get some of these designs as well as celebrate profound and sometime zany achievements.
We recently added a football on the screen with a gyroscope to manipulate it to celebrate our sponsorship of Liverpool Football Club. Do these have direct commercial benefits for us? No. What they do do is help us build a personality for our products and Brand.
Sometimes though gamification can have serious benefits. Internally, we run a global competition for staff called “Dash for Cash” which is a gamified way of getting markets to drive digitization and compete with each other by sharing and copying the best practices of each other all posted on a Facebook page and internal blog (see recent video to promote the competition).
We have also started to use a lot of animation and released a global channel migration cartoon series called “Mission Digitization” that makes our everyday staff the “Heroes” of the story – the “action heroes” concept has been a very novel and effective way to engage with our staff.
4. In your opinion, how important is it to capture and leverage the ‘Voice of the Customer’ for a large financial institution? Are big traditional banks like Standard Chartered equipped to do so today?
I think it is vital to capture the voice of the customer. But more importantly. it is what you do with the insights. I always tell my team to capture data but only if you can do something with it. We, as mentioned earlier, capture feedback when customers logout of their online experience in almost all of our markets. This feedback is in the form of a simple Net Promoter Score which we can track in real time across our markets and go into the detail periodically or if the score changes abruptly. There are also other mechanisms like the connectivity with the call centre for real time feedback which we are working on improving.
Finally I think any institution is equipped to tap into gamification, crowdsourcing and leverage their customers voices. The real question is how committed are they and how creative and adaptive are they to change and exploring new ways of doing things. At Standard Chartered, we have a high level of commitment from our CEO and the senior management team. As a team finding creative ways to address this is now part of our DNA. The challenge for us is being able to execute this effectively across the many markets in which we operate. .
5. Branch banking arguably reached a tipping point, not only in the US but all over the world. What’s the impact of mobile banking adoption on SC’s distribution strategy?
Your question is interesting because while Branch Banking is in a mature stage mobile is quite the opposite where I still think we are at the beginning of the beginning. I am not sure we can draw a big causality of the impact on branch banking by mobile yet. No doubt if and when mobile payments take off in a big way and people use cash less then there will be a even more profound impact.
However for now the biggest impact on branch banking has been on the lesser celebrated hero of distribution channels which is Online Banking. Still the most cost effective channel (even more than mobile) it has delivered big time in terms of taking non-value added transactions out of the branch and into your home or place of work. Building on top of that, mobile has certainly taken it one step further and put added convenience into the palm of your hand.
The impact for us is that we are focused on making the branch a place for complex transactions and advisory services instead of transactional needs which increasingly are being done online with greater speed and superior convenience for our customers many of whom live in cities with extended commuting times as well as busy schedules. This also allows us to capitalize on better space utilization in an environment where retail prices in the parts of the world we operate in continue to rise.
Online and mobile are also slowly starting to influence the experience in branch as well. We have a number of interactive tools like Needs Based Conversations for Priority Banking customers that are inspired by the web and delivered on tablets which Relationship Manager’s use and our new look websites which will roll out early next year will enable content that can be easily used in branches either on tablets or touch enabled plasma screens making content consistent but also seamless and real time delivered into the physical world from the digital world. I strongly believe the fusion of these two worlds or the “internet of everything” is a mega trend to watch beyond Banking.