Although Asia Pacific has long been recognized as a big name in the global financial services industry, in ASEAN there is more of a complex picture. Singapore is known as a financial services and logistics hub in the region, and the Philippines is famous for its contact center industry, but other ASEAN countries do not have that much of a financial services reputation - yet.
The rise of digital technology in the financial services sector presents ASEAN with a big opportunity. They have the chance to take digital tools that their citizens are already using and transform the way they offer their financial products and services for today and tomorrow. Consumers are ready: Try walking into any coffee shop, mall or public transport station in the region and not bumping into somebody walking along staring at their smartphone.
At the same time, ASEAN’s financial services companies can also benefit from the economies and efficiencies that digital technology brings. Profit margins are always a factor and digital can let companies offer services more cost-effectively for one thing.
Repositioning the customer expectation
This is one of the big elements of the advance of digital solutions in the financial services sector in my opinion. ASEAN has, like much of the Asia Pacific region, seen a shift in terms of the type of consumer we have today. They are much more sophisticated, have higher expectations, generally more disposable income and the middle class has expanded throughout the region. With that has come a demand for more sophisticated and more innovative services, and that approach very much applies to banks and other financial services providers.
In the financial services sector, digital technology presents the opportunity to enable all sorts of new ways of serving customers. Financial services customers now expect a far richer experience, and because of digital technology and multichannel communications through social media, they also expect greater interaction with providers.
Digital and reimagining the customer experience
The digital transformation imperative is to integrate data with technology to deliver simpler, smarter, faster and more effective customer experiences. This is where ASEAN financial services providers need to focus.
There has been an inevitable shift towards financial services companies becoming much more technology-powered companies. To stay ahead of the competition requires constant innovation and evolution, not standing still. ASEAN consumers expect mobile and online banking, they expect to be able to interact with their banks using multichannel communications. Financial services companies in ASEAN must concentrate on putting digital at the heart of their organizations – or risk being left behind.
Benefits now and in future
Another advantage of embracing digital within the financial services industry is that it has a positive impact on your overall operations, in addition to improving your customer offering. At Orange, we focus on the human side of projects we engage in. We promote the idea of digital technology with a human touch, and our customers appreciate it.
Over the next few years I expect to see the banks and financial services companies that thrive be those that most embrace digital technology and innovation. Those that recognize what customers expect, meet their demand for an enhanced customer experience and offer a more compelling proposition. The potential for digital technology in financial services customer service and operations is huge. Those who play to their strengths, harness digital technology successfully, understand and work with their customers, will be those that truly prosper.
To read more about how financial services companies can use digital transformation to innovate and stay competitive, please read a new PwC white paper, “Navigating the perfect storm: Digitally Transforming Customer Service and Operations in Financial Services”