27 October 2016
Standard Chartered Bank has a content delivery network that gives its Asian customers improved security in online transactions. Photo: Bloomberg
Standard Chartered Bank has a content delivery network that gives its Asian customers improved security in online transactions. Photo: Bloomberg

Protect and perform: Keys to omni-channel banking

Hong Kong’s smartphone penetration is among the highest in Asia Pacific. More than 70 percent of residents use smartphones, according to the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA).

In this environment, leading banks in Hong Kong are scrambling for a slice of an emerging mobile payments market. Recently, a leading local cash machine operator announced it is working to introduce an inter-bank solution for peer-to-peer and peer-to-merchant mobile and online payments.

Today’s banking customers handle the majority of their transactions across a variety of channels, including personal computers, smart phones and tablets.

Even in markets where financial services are still conducted in person, the internet is playing an increasingly crucial role in the personal banking decision-making process . This era of “omni-channel” banking presents many complexities and challenges to the financial industry.

The challenge for banks is to synthesize complex business processes and optimize management across multiple channels in an era of increasing customer connectivity.

For example, a customer could find out about a savings plan on his or her laptop and research savings plan on a mobile phone before visiting the brick-and-mortar office to make a purchase.

Banks need to ensure that brand, customer experience and banking information are consistent across all channels.

As customers increase their online interactions with banks, the importance of an integrated and seamless multichannel experience also increases.

A recent survey by Bain & Company found that customers who interact more with their banks, regardless of channel, are typically more loyal as they feel more engaged.

In this environment, the online banking customer experience becomes a key-differentiating factor for banks.

Using interactive elements like short videos, visitor prioritization and personalized banking adviser services, banking websites and apps are constantly looking for new ways to attract customers.

While these features enhance the customer interaction, however, they also increase stress on the site bandwidth.

As the industry moves towards the next phase of retail banking, it is crucial for banks to ensure that the IT infrastructure backbone is well-equipped with the capability to achieve optimization and to meet potential higher traffic volume.

Banks need to prepare themselves to provide a seamless multi-channel experience with quality, speed and security.

Consumers expect quality service to be delivered with speed as they become increasingly connected.

Based on studies conducted by Akamai, 40 percent of customers will wait no more than three seconds before abandoning a website.

Banks need to be equipped with the scalability necessary to efficiently handle peak periods – especially during festive periods such as Christmas and Lunar New Year when transactions across platforms increase sharply.

Another fundamental concern for online banking is security. The past year has seen major financial institutions crippled by malicious attacks, which have led to the loss of valuable information, decreased customer loyalty and other problems.

With the Asia-Pacific region accounting for the majority of attack traffic worldwide, it is more important than ever for banks to maintain customer satisfaction and confidence.

The ability to maintain website availability and performance during an attack differentiates one bank from another in terms of customer experience. Standard Chartered Bank’s recent content delivery network (CDN) deployment is an example of this.

The bank’s CDN service helped it increase secure online transaction performance in Europe and the Americas by 100 percent.

Customers in Asia enjoyed a 25 percent performance improvement on average.

Leveraging the expertise and industry leading solutions of CDN providers, the bank not only provided a fast and reliable experience to customers, it grew its online banking transaction volume while saving annual infrastructure and operations costs.

Instead of allowing technology to hinder business growth, it is important for banks to harness the potential of smart device penetration and efficiently reach out to customers across a variety of platforms.

Seamlessly integrating highly interactive channels across multiple channels provides access to valuable customer insights on targeted segments and geographies mined from available data.

A wealth of data is gleaned through customer interaction with integrated channels. Therefore, banks with an omni-channel presence will be well-equipped to provide a more personalized banking experience to customers.

Asia is poised to be the world’s second-largest wealth management market. In this environment, banks should leverage the rise of mobile device penetration to provide more personalized services for this growing market.

With the increased interaction that comes with mobile devices, more cybersecurity loopholes are also created, increasing customer vulnerability.

Alignment of organizational infrastructure is necessary for banks to ensure that both websites and web applications are protected from cyberattacks without compromising performance.

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Product Marketing Manager, Asia Pacific & Japan, Akamai Technologies

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