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[August 11, 2014]


(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) BANKS in Malaysia today operate in an increasingly challenging environment. Rapid technological advancements, transient customer loyalty and increasing expectations have resulted in disparate channels becoming obsolete.

To prosper and gain a competitive advantage, banks must start moving towards omnichannel banking. Omnichannel banking provides a consistent and seamless experience across social, online, mobile, branch and video. As a result, customers are able to access their financial products and services where and when they are needed.

Through omnichannel banking, customers are in control of the channels they wish to use. They can begin an interaction using one channel (mobile banking) and end it in another (physical branch visit).

This will bring the industry closer to the promise of true contextual banking in which financial services become seamlessly embedded into the lives of individual and business customers.

Hyper-connected and hyper-personalised One of the easiest ways for banks in Malaysia to begin its advancement towards seamless and integrated omnichannel banking services is by relooking at their investment in the Wi-Fi network provided to customers visiting the branch.

By switching from the conventional Managed Service Provider and Wide Area Network (WAN) model to a Wi-Fi model where the bank directly controls the guest and customer network, banks will be able to create a real connection with their customers.

The wireless network can provide valuable marketing intelligence and analytics regarding the customer experience within the branch and this information can be used to improve branch efficiency while also ensuring the right products and services are offered to the right customers at the right time and place. The Cisco(R) Connected Mobile Experience (CMX), for example, detects when customers enter the branch, how much time they spend there, where they spend that time and analyse the wait periods at specific points in the branch.

Imagine if these insights can be expanded further. A customer who googles "properties for sale" using the Wi-Fi network at the branch while waiting to perform other transactions is presented with the opportunity to check his credit rating and mortgage eligibility without having to make further enquiries at the counter.

The same customer can then be assisted by a virtual remote expert who will take him through the loan application process via video and his application status can be communicated via a mobile application within the same day.

The possibilities are here today with the advent of the "Internet of Everything" - the connection of people, processes, data and things. To make this a reality, however, banks in Malaysia need to invest in a future-proof omnichannel banking infrastructure. This includes investing in technology that accommodates new interaction channels while ensuring seamless integration into existing core banking solutions and services. An omnichannel banking infrastructure needs to be able to enhance the customer experience by being intuitive, secure and hyper-personalised.

Bigger customer value with big data Financial institutions are also faced with the increasing volume, velocity and variety of data from multiple touchpoints. The ATM or credit cards, for example, provide banks with a wealth of information on the customers' financial health, spending habits, frequency and location of withdrawal and much more.

Likewise, the customers' e-commerce and mobile banking transactions provide financial institutions with information that can be analysed to improve business and customer interaction strategies.

Uncovering hidden patterns or unknown correlation in all available data and analysing them will enable the bank to be more effective in cross-selling and cross-offering its products and services.

For example, a bank that tracks healthy saving and spending habits for its retail banking customer from sensors attached to his ATM card, can offer the said customer relevant investment products and services. This will expand the bank's interaction with the said customer from basic banking to wealth management.

Omnichannel banking is a global phenomenon that customers in Malaysia are ready for. Banks that respond now, rather than wait for the "all-clear" signal, will be handsomely rewarded by attracting new generations of customers, retaining existing customers and avoiding disintermediation, while generating new revenue streams.

To learn more, visit: Albert Chai, country manager for Cisco, can be reached at (c) 2014 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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