As banks concentrate efforts on building closer relationships with their customers, providing new media technology is one of the ways they can interact with their clients.
A survey conducted in May by Asian Banker Research, for communications systems specialist Avaya, revealed banks are selectively deploying interactive technology and new media, which includes interactive multi-touch tabletops, 3-D media/video wall, interactive touch screen and video teleconferencing with customer facing, and inter-branch communication. Innovative technologies and services include video enablement for customers, audio recording for capturing all conversations and analytic tools for optimising customer interactions.
Through using technology, banks can monitor and analyse customer behaviour simply by tracking their movements on a website. This gives banks the ability to cross-reference multiple points of customer behaviour, develop comprehensive customer profiles and establish two-way interaction with their clients.
Tobias Murer, Julius Baer's director, head of business management, says to improve services and communications with customers, the private banking firm overhauled its IT systems and hired additional technology staff. "While investment in technology in the private banking sector is rarely headline news, it is vitally important to have the best technology and skilled IT people to maintain systems in order to provide services to clients, and support to relationship managers, analysts and product specialists," Murer says.
"For every two additional relationship managers we employ, we probably need to employ at least one IT professional. It's not possible to grow a business or deliver a full service offering to the client without investing in technology."
While recognising the usefulness of interactive technology, Phoebe Wong, CITIC Bank International's executive general manager and head of retail banking, says customers like to receive information on two levels.
"Customers prefer information that is collated and easy to digest. They like the availability of basic information via the internet or delivered to mobile devices through SMS messaging. But for information that is more detailed and to make far-reaching decisions, they prefer talking face-to-face with our bank staff. After all, most people are busy and don't have the time to collate lots of information in electronic form," Wong says.
Stanislas Corporeau, Alcatel-Lucent's product marketing director, says new media solutions allow banks to connect customers to financial experts and provide them the with the information they need quickly. "Banks can increase their efficiency and, at the same time, provide customers with the services they are looking for," Corporeau says.
For example, different aspects of a customer's requirements and risk profile could be separated and handled by specialists within a bank.