The need for banks in SEA to embrace multi-channel banking: interview

Nurdianah Md Nur

JR Wong of GMC Software Technology
JR Wong, ASEAN general manager at GMC Software Technology.

Banks today are increasingly leveraging their digital channels as a means of interacting with their tech-savvy customers. According to a report by consulting firm McKinsey & Company, mobile and Internet banking have seen a growth of 35 percent in the last three years while bank visits have declined by 27 percent. JR Wong, ASEAN general manager at GMC Software Technology explains the importance of having a multi-channel approach. He also shares his thoughts on the need for brand consistency while providing different channels for customers to interact via the device of their choice.

Q: Are banks in Southeast Asia embracing multi-channel banking? Are they placing more emphasis on a particular channel?
Wong: Banks in Southeast Asia need to embrace multi-channel banking. It is no longer a question of whether they will but rather when they will as this is driven by customers' choice. Just recently, the chief executive of DBS said that banks in this region have to embrace digital banking to ensure long-term survival. Digital has been redefined over the years and it is no longer defined by the hardware, software or the platforms we use. So, banks will have to focus on delivering and improving customer experience on both mobile and internet channels. Having said that, mobile is certainly experiencing stronger growth in this region.

According to a report by Accenture, 60 percent of the people in Thailand said they would be happy to do all their Internet surfing on their mobile devices and 65 percent of the people in Indonesia expressed the same sentiment. The worldwide figure for that is just 31 percent which shows a stronger appetite for the mobile platform in this region.

The good news is that this trend now opens a door for banks to add to traditional offerings with value-added services that address business customers' communication challenges. Such services can allow banks to present new opportunities to transform the customer experience and successfully address important market trends that will help them drive revenue.

For banks seeking ways to help their customers fulfil these new expectations, now is the right time to learn what technology is available to erase the technical barriers that block access to more detailed and personalised information and foster two-way dynamic communication.

Q: What challenges do banks in Southeast Asia, face when they adopt a multi-channel approach? How should they overcome these challenges?
Wong: One significant challenge that banks face is definitely communicating with their customers effectively. Not only do their customers have unique backgrounds and interests, they have preferred communication channels for different types of communication as well.  

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