Girish VS
Managing Editor of BFSI Vision

The Chimera of Expectations

I welcome you to another insightful offering from BFSI vision - the BFSI Vision C-SUITE Conversation. BFSI Vision C-SUITE Conversation is a theme based weekly offering from Knowsys Media. Every week we will bring you views and opinions from across a wide spectrum of users and technology professionals on one topic of interest to the BFSI community. For the inaugural issue we chose the reason we all are here – the customer.

The Indian customer is fast evolving – from the silent sufferer to a knowledgeable, demanding and exacting customer. Today, the customer expects her service provider – be it a bank, an insurance firm or a capital market entity – will provide her a quality experience, at the speed of thought, and the price of yesteryears. Every time she has a good customer experience, she uses it as a benchmark for all the other service providers. And every time she has a bad experience, she is more than willing to shout about in all social media platforms she has access to.


This cross pollination of expectations puts great pressure on the financial service provider to keep raising the bar constantly. The great white shining hope for the BFSI community is technology. Technology can help the financial institution offer cutting edge services at reasonable costs.

In this issue we spoke to a mix of technology service providers and financial institutions for their views on this ephemeral customer expectation.

And yes- we look forward to hearing from you about the issues you would like to read about.

Happy Reading.

Bridging the Service Gap

With consumers' awareness level on consistent rise, they know what they are getting, what they want and are even capable of directing the enterprises' towards their expectations. But this poses multiple challenges for customer focused enterprises. For any organization, customers are vital for their existence, customer service experience is must. Enterprises can broadly segregate customer service in two categories- adequate services and desired services. Adequate services is the level of service the customer will accept and desired services can be explained as the level of service the customer hopes to receive.

The key challenge remains is where to invest their money with a clear picture of what would be derived out of that investment. Second challenge is of the fast changing customer expectations turning a desired service into an adequate service. For example, the demand from customers to have the same secured experience of net banking to mobile banking was very quickly answered by RBI and many banks. With this shift of desired service transforming into adequate service, comes the third challenge of identifying a shift at an early stage and be able to act on it. One of the ways to keep pace with this shift is by using a Predictive service which is seeing fast adoption in these enterprises. These Predictive services work on analytics engine fed by information on customer background, behaviour and aspirations. Aspirations a key driver adds to the data collected by demographics or psychographics and help us define customer categories. With the use of the right tools, enterprises can get the right information and be able to put it to good use to address emerging customer shifts. Today technologies are available at hand making it easy to gather trends and helps enterprises prepare well before the shift.

In India's BFSI segment, there exists a demographic divide- on one side is the existing customer base used to traditional means of banking and on the other hand is the millennial generation- is all set to potentially form the bankable population which demands next-generation banking services. That's why in India Banks are still keeping a balance between both means of operations. On one hand we have branches operating in the nooks and corners and on the other hand we have mobile and IVR based banking services getting adopted. On one side is traditional voice based call centre and on the other we have banks moving to social to listen to customer voice. India probably has the widest omni-channel environment in the world of customer conversations. But we have adequate infrastructure and technological support to manage each of these conversations and have enterprises as well as their customers in the middle of conversation.

Sanjay Gupta
Aspect Software


Chet Kamat
Managing Director & CEO,
Oracle Financial Services Software

Mining the Customer Data

Given rapid change in how customers are accessing banking, creating the right customer experience is critical for success. The consumer wants the bank to understand who they are, what their needs could be, products or services proactively recommended to them that might make their life better, get it done quickly and easily and they want to be rewarded for any type of loyal patronage. This requires a more contextual and data driven banking.

Banks must find ways to leverage customer information and throw back some useful data points or results to customers. A new point of view or business model has evolved that has changed the customer relationship from just transactional to managing a lifecycle from the time that they buy a product or service through the servicing or "own" phase and then through the buying cycle as the relationship expands and the overall brand is established.

As customers start managing all their bank transactions through online and mobile banking, the need to visit a bank branch will keep going down. The branches we need in future are going to be very different from the traditional ones, they will focus on cross selling. These branches are just going to be 'Point of Sales' branches. They will be smaller, but much more efficient.

With Oracle's comprehensive solutions covering, channels, analytics and customer experience banks can make a direct and real time connection with the customers by tailoring the products, offers, recommended products to each particular customer based on information known about them historically and what is known about them directly in their current interaction.

Globalisation of Customer Service Quality

Telecom and E-commerce are setting the benchmarks for customer service –Response of financial service sector

BFSI sector has recognized the shifts in the consumer expectation ecosystem brought about by other sectors. The cognizance of the fact that:

The rise in consumer awareness and sophistication (in terms of their outlook towards customer service experience), along with the
blurring boundaries between online and offline world.

Consumer's involvement and maturity has been increasing and will start trending towards global levels. This will have to be tackled with a fundamental shift from the conventional customer service models. Segmentation and customer centricity are becoming key capabilities. From the Insurance point of view, this has to be brought about across the policy lifecycle. At Liberty Videocon General Insurance, we are striving to use our robust analytical framework to understand customer's expectations and delivering on the same and experiencing some early traction with our customer survey scores. We have defined critical customer touchpoints as "moments of truth" and ensuring our systems and processes are structured keeping customer's expectation in mind. This has helped in recording some key customer preferences and using smart analytics to analyze customer transactions & interactions on a continuous basis. We have seen a considerable difference in customer expectations within different demographics like zone, age, line of business and so on. The real challenge remains our ability to contact the end policy holder directly wherein industries like telecom and others have a considerable edge. However, serious efforts are on to improve the contact ability.

On meeting the newer challenges of business models in the face of rapidly evolving customer preferences

This is a continuous challenge with the way customer's expectations are evolving at present times than before. The primary reasons being evolved exposure across other industries. The key enabler is to keep a proactive connect with the customer to understand those expectations before they become a need and create a strong culture of being adaptable. At Liberty Videocon, we have invested in scalable systems and processes which can be tweaked as per requirements to deliver. The key sustainable competitive advantage would be to deliver on ever changing customer needs, resolving customer's issues and delivering on promises. Some research has indicated that Indian customer is willing to pay a premium for better services, this is a sign of an evolved customer. The real challenge is the ability to reach out to the customer at various intervals for cross sell and up sell opportunities. More customer information like demographics, change in life stage etc. help in a great deal to pitch for a customized product or service which increases the success rate.

Puneet Pasricha
Country Head - Operations & Customer Service Liberty Videocon General Insurance Company Limited


Aditya Sharma
Head – Direct Marketing, Web Sales,
Digital Marketing , Travel and Retail Lines,
Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.

When Digitalization Takes Over

An industry that has no tangible products to act as a determinant of the satisfaction levels of the customer is entirely dependent on ensuring that at no point is there a drop in the quality of services provided. As per the usual trend observed, customers are twice as likely to switch service providers upon receiving poor service by a company as compared to switching due to the price of products. Such an observation is then a clear indicator that customers need an easy to access platform whenever they wish to use it.

Today, there is a visible rise in digitalization across industries everywhere considering that a substantial part of the country's population is becoming technologically sound. This increase in awareness makes the digital platform a perfect solution to facilitate customers in a way that allows them to approach their service provider whenever they need. Not only this is a perfect grievance redressal mechanism, but this platform also provides the customer with more convenient and cost effective solutions when it comes to purchasing a policy. Another upside with this platform is that it offers customers the dual benefit of better priced products as well as the option of seamless servicing, thus addressing two of the major concerns that are often faced by the customer. Today in the online space, insurers offer some easy to purchase products under home, health, travel, amongst other areas of insurance. The online purchase procedure is secure, quick and convenient. It involves minimal documents and also answers any queries pertaining to the product on click of a button.

When looking at reasons that influence customers to switch service providers, pricing of products is often a crucial factor. For that reason, customers are being introduced to facilities that enable them to reach the insurer whenever required. At the same time, giving customers the leeway to carry out certain processes on their own allows them the benefit of working at their ease on a round-the-clock basis.

Moreover, when looking at the need for end-to-end solutions for customers, the digital medium is the way forward, especially when it comes to customer retention. Right from the initial stages of policy issuance to registering a claim or even renewing a policy, the digital platform allows the customer every such function at the click of a button. These days, customers can stay updated on the status of their policy, grievance request, or any claim related detail on a real-time basis. This is becoming increasingly possible and common through the updates shared by insurers through mediums such as SMS and e-mails alerts at every stage of their policy. Amongst other unique services that can be availed by them, a convenient option available is easy access through a dedicated customer portal or application. For instance a Bajaj Allianz motor or health customer can reach out to the Company using the popular mobile messaging platform – Whatsapp in case of any motor insurance related queries.

Today, the customer is also no longer bound to direct dependence on the insurance company or the channel partner for policy or claims services related issues. They are empowered by the service provider through various social media platforms, besides being offered a range of mobile phone applications and being accessible through the use of other gadgets.

The constant need to maintain customer satisfaction, teamed with a stable attempt to innovate is the need of the hour. Not only do round-the-clock services capacitate customer satisfaction, but can help protect the customer base too, especially looking at the way customer needs and preferences are rapidly evolving.

Reading the Customers Mind

Our objective is to create solutions which introduce efficiency, accountability and predictability in the system. We are focused and would continue to focus on predicted services which we see as a huge value proposition to the client.

Predicted customer care revolves around the ability to understand the customer's needs whereby deliverables are measurable. The key determinants would be:

  • - Delivering accurate solutions to meet the customer's needs
  • - Well-structured documentation
  • - Timely execution and response time in case of problems
Customer Service in the financial services space is extremely critical as it involves sensitive customer data as well as transaction related data. Unfortunately the importance of CRM's has been severely undervalued and undermined and being used by large organizations and that too selectively. As an organizational philosophy, we believe in being future ready hence we make sure that we are in a position to cater to all customer needs, present as well as future.

Broking Houses need to be extremely proactive in today's competitive business environment. There have to be alternative approaches towards customer acquisition and retention. A few examples of an alternative approach or a value added approach could be:

  • - Newsletters
  • - System for transaction facilitation and response

Today's business environment necessitates that a 24X7 customer services capability is made available. This is no longer an add on but a necessity which can significantly improve customer retention Convenience, Value and service are the key tenets of any service driven industry though the value of product innovation cannot be undermined and it often proves to be the differentiator in a crowded segment wherein everyone is offering the same set of service standards. Broking houses have to complement their services by introducing value added service offerings for customers whereby their low margins are offset and at the same time customer retention is enhanced.

A healthy product/ service mix and impeccable service delivery are un-comprisable. Lower pricing can play a role in customer acquisition but good service is what keeps them with you. A vast majority of firms are not. Unfortunately there is a belief that "We have been doing it for so long and we can continue to do so". Most firms fail to take cognizance of the fact that the business environment has changed; customer preferences and service expectation have undergone a huge shift and what was once considered a service luxury is now a necessity.

Technology has provided the means to cross link businesses across domains. This offers an excellent avenue for firms to cross sell and up sell related service offerings. The idea is to achieve as much share of the customer's wallet as possible.

Bhavin Shah
Founder & Managing Partner,
Easy Access Business Solutions


Rajiv Rambhia
Business Head,
Magnum Wealth Pvt. Ltd.

Serving the Market of One

Financial institutions not only need to manage empowered customers who expect a seamless, relevant, and personalized experience every time, but also need to generate cross-sell or up-sell opportunities from these interactions in order to maximize their marketing investment. And have to give personalize service with transparency and investment benefits for the future.

Recognising and overcoming the common pitfalls associated with growth is essential if your business is to continue to grow and thrive. Crucially, you need to ensure that the steps you take today don't themselves create additional problems for the future. Effective leadership will help you make the most of the opportunities, creating sustainable growth for the future