Banks remain poorly equipped to drive customer sales and acquisition via digital channels – according to new global retail banking study published last month by Misys and Efma. The majority of banks (87%) perform less than ten percent of sales via digital and for one in five banks, this figure falls to less than one percent of sales. In addition, only 12 percent of customer acquisition is conducted via digital channels, proving banks are failing to fully exploit online and mobile to engage customers. 40 percent of new customer acquisition is still conducted via the branch, according to the research. Globally, banks forecast that sales via digital channels will jump from 13 per cent on average today up to 75 percent in three years’ time. However, banks must overcome the biggest barriers to customer driven sales to achieve this significant migration to digital channels. 39 percent of banks cite culture and 26 percent blame technology barriers on their failure to achieve greater digital sales.
Vincent Bastid, CEO, Efma, said: “Paying lip service to digital banking is no longer an option. The ambitious plans to drive the majority of sales via digital channels are unachievable in the current technology environment. Banks must develop a strategic link between digital channels and their ability to support customer experiences that – crucially – result in sales outcomes. Those banks that flourish will be customer-focused institutions, founded on core software and systems that can deliver better customer experiences as well as increase sales, all via an omni-channel approach.” Core banking systems are the number one technology challenge, with 61 percent stating they are a barrier to optimising sales performance. Indeed, a third of banks view core systems as incapable of meeting the demands of the sales process, with 12 percent referring to their banks’ core system as ‘highly incapable’. Examining the business impact of technology issues facing sales teams, slow time to market with new products and services is causing the most pain. Banks are also frustrated by an inability to create customer-driven, personal products and services. Mark Yamin-Ali, Retail Banking Solution Lead, Misys, commented: “Banks’ neglect of customer service points to a huge missed opportunity to leverage new technologies in more sophisticated ways that not only enhance customer-relevant interactions but also drive bottom line impact. The real issue here is core banking – banks which focus only on digital to achieve customer-centricity will have a beautiful shop window, with outdated stock. Customer-centricity must be from channels to the core. And only with core modernisation, can banks reap the full benefits of digital innovation.” In spite of the lack of progress achieved, 48 percent of respondents believe ‘customer centricity’ is an overused term. Moreover, 75 percent state that banks have not concentrated efforts on improving customer services in recent years and remain focused on sales specific activities.