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Digital channels are starting to eat up business from the hands of conventional banking channels like branches, field agents, agencies, field sales, etc. Is this happening for any particlar fault of the conventional channels? One could say – “Not Exactly”. Rather the banks, are exploring new opportunities through digital channels. The widespread successes of  e-commerce model & new digital businesses, have opened the possibilities for businesses to exploit the new digital habits of consumers.

Though the percentage of business coming from digital channels in banks is still comparatively low, banks are actively ramping up business targets for these new digital channels year on year. Where does it leave the conventional channels at? Across the banking industry, most of the business heads of conventional channels have started going for digital transformation initiatives. Undeniably, the conventional channels have a big network set up which has its strengths. The trust factor of buying complex product from an agent, who is around to explain things, cannot be replaced by a website. At least not yet.

The new enterprise digital software are actively offering mobile app based solutions for solving the digital transformation needs of the conventional channels. They are making day to day field or branch work smartphone friendly.

While banks are busy providing touch based devices to their operators, agents & staff – specially the customer facing and managerial staff – there is another shift that has started taking shape recently – Voice. Voice is all set to become the new way of interacting with devices.

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Voice will become the new digital and touch will become the new manual. Voice is the ultra unconventional trend entering the conventional ways of working.

So, it makes more sense for banks, who are still running their operations on paper, to actually start looking for voice enabled solutions.

How will this ultra unconventional way impact the conventional channels? Here are some of the very obvious tasks that will become clerical, hence redundant, and will be replaced by new voice-first apps or solutions.

 

1. First of all let’s just say it loud and clear for once and for all – Paper processes are dead!

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There shouldn’t be any debate left on this one. If you are looking at account opening forms, loan application forms, credit card application forms or application forms for onboarding customers for any of your products and services, you cannot use paper forms any more.

Enabling smart phone, tablet or web based application terminals is the the least you should be doing. Well, that’s not all. These terminals / devices should be connected to your enterprise approval workflow for processing the applications.

This is the new conventional. This the new baseline. All sales channels need to have connected digital interfaces whether it is branch, field sales, agency office or any other direct sales channel.

2. Voice based app navigation

One of the most cumbersome repetitive jobs of a new millenial digital worker will be app navigation. While today, for us, 30 seconds of app navigation might not add up to much of a time, it wouldn’t be the case in near future. Repetitively navigating to the same location in the app every few hours or minutes will be the new cumbersome task. It will become a clerical task.

Or, the other way round. After navigating to same location in a particlar manner, the operators of the apps will build a habit or a memory of how to use the app conveniently. And if you make an update or make a design change, the operators will find it frustrating. The nuisance to relearn the new way of navigation will earn resistance.

Overtime, the complexity of the apps will grow as more and more new features are added or as new updates and design changes happen in the apps. It will not make any sense to train the millenial workers again and again on these new features or changes. That model will simply be too expensive.

Solution. Voice command. The new millenial professionals will command the app to take them to the desired location in the app. There would be no need to memorize or learn how to nanvigate to various parts of the app. These professionals would just need to know what to say. For example, a sales agent can say “ET, take me to listing of new applications filed today”. Within a couple of second of this command, the app will open the required view. If due to some update the location of this view or navigation of this view has to change, it doesn’t impact the user at all. Smart! Isn’t it?

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3. Voice based search – Ask and ye shall be given!

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Searching an account, application or lead or status, this is going to be a cumbersome work for the millenial professional. Well, voice will come to their aid here too.

So the sales agent can say “ET, take me to application number 7065321”. The app will open up the application within a second.

Compare this to navigating to the search screen in the app and then typing the account number and then waiting for the result. While this might seem like ok thing to do today, not in a few years from now. It will not be ok to navigate back and forth and type things vs. just saying it out loud.

Touch will only be needed for entry of formatted data or as an exception or for making corrections – things that need some human attention.

 

4. Dictating Remarks

Typing remarks is cumbersome even today. People switching from typing and writing to touch devices, do not find touch based entry any easier.

Whenever you have a free text entry field, like remarks, the new age professionals will prefer voice. They will simply dictate the remarks to the voice assistant. And the voice assistant will type it out in the remarks field. Any corrections that the users would want to make, they will do it by touch based interactions. This is going to be a faster way of making free text entries.

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5. Finally. Initiating a process or operation using voice command

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Apps will become powerful in just couple of years. The users will be able to initiate a lot back end processes from the apps. And as that happens, the act of initiating these processes will also become a repetitive task. Initiating a process or operation through a voice command will be more convenient and sensible.

For example, submitting applications of the day in bulk. The millenial professional will command the app “ET, submit all the pending approval applications of today for approval to my manager”. Job done! You don’t need to navigate, search each application, select it and then press submit button. No that’s conventional. Voice command will make bulk operations easy.

Another example is, fetching information from back office systems. For example, the millenial professional will command the app to take the citizen id of the customer and based on credit scores fetched from credit bureau, email a soft offer to the customer. So he/she will say something like, “ET, generate a soft offer for this application and send the report to the customer through email” . Job Done! The voice assitant will figure out right steps to make it happen and at the end of it speak out the success or failure status as a voice notification.

Conclusion

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Conventional channels are not dead. They are up for transformation. The power of voice is set to revive these channels in delivering a high quality digital experience to the banking customers.

Imagine an agent who is more attentive to the customer rather than fiddling with the smart phone trying to figure out how to navigate to the right place. Rather we forsee a world where there are conversations between agent, customer and agent’s voice assistance. All of the information and operating power will be at the agent’s beck and call. The conventional way of banking is taking an unconvetional turn for good!

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