Chris Rogers, Director, Market Development, Collinson Group
Given the rapid changes in customer demands and the disruption from FinTech startups, banks are increasingly forced to upgrade their technologies, services and business models, or risk losing relevance to customers.
According to a survey conducted by Collinson Group, affluent middle class consumers in Asia expect greater recognition and reward for their loyalty in today's competitive retail banking market. This expectation is particularly high in Singapore (66 percent), China (82 percent) and India (79 percent). The research found that not being rewarded for loyalty is the biggest frustration for Singaporean consumers, ahead of poor interest rates and charging unnecessary fees.
With that in mind, banks should redesign their standardised, transactional loyalty programmes which rely on traditional points-based rewards. According to Chris Rogers, Director, Market Development, Collinson Group, the future of loyalty programs is loyalty commerce, in which retail banks embrace modern e-commerce techniques to deliver relevant and motivating experiences and engagement across multiple devices and channels. In an exclusive interview with BankITAsia, he explains more on the need for such loyalty programmes, and provides other tips on how banks can futureproof themselves.
BankITAsia: Why are retail banks struggling to remain relevant to customers today? What is their biggest challenge?
Chris Rogers: The banking industry is undergoing perhaps the largest and most rapid transformation of our age. New digital players have stepped up their financial offerings, creating new customer demands and increased competition in the market. This, coupled with the rapid transformation of consumer attitudes and behaviors, demand retail banks to become more relevant to their customers. The digital trend is further amplified in Asia Pacific, which saw the largest absolute growth in Internet user numbers in 2015, up nearly 200 million according to We Are Social. Brands in Asia Pacific thus have no choice but to respond to the demands of these consumers for better Internet banking and mobile payment services.
As technology and increased competition challenge the traditional nature of the financial services sector and customer loyalty, banks struggle to retain their customers and risk losing them if they do not invest in enhancing digital experiences. Investment in digital channels not only drives efficiency, but reduces customer servicing costs as well. However, the challenge with digital is the need to recognise the differences in how consumers choose to interact with digital channels. Social media and mobile services encourage an 'always-on' attitude, which means that consumers not only expect fresh content from brands and reward programmes, but also demand that earning and accessing these rewards are simplified and immediate. If banks do not keep up with the dynamic digital landscape, consumers may be encouraged to place their loyalty with the new disruptive FinTech brands that appear relevant and contemporary.
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