Praveen Paulose, MD & CEO, Celusion Technologies

Born in 1978 in Mumbai, Praveen completed his schooling from St. Mary’s High School, Mt. Abu(Boarding School in Rajasthan).He completed his Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science from D.Y. Patil College of Engineering, Mumbai. After a brief period of employment, he became a first generation entrepreneur when he started Celusion Technologies.The idea was based on the premise that they could build great software but today their software is changing the way people look at finance.

 

In today’s complex business landscape, no business entity can afford to depend on a single channel for its customer acquisition for that would be a sure recipe for disaster. Financial institutions would do well to explore the maximum channels available and build their presence in each, interlinking them through a digital strategy. This multi-pronged approach will help to optimize the business from each channel

Why is an Omnichannel approach more effective?

The maximum lead conversion rate if you limit yourself to digital channels only may not be more than 10%. It is important to look beyond digital as the next set of prospective customers may not be comfortable with only a single digital approach. So it is important to leverage the physical network as well to be able to maximize reach. Remember, if the approach doesn’t meet the customer needs it needs to be changed and institutions need to have the flexibility to switch between channels and train their employees accordingly.

It is often noticed that customers are less willing to transact through digital channels for complex products and they prefer to have human contact. To convert these leads, telesales or the physical sales force will have to step in to complete the transaction and onboard customers. Similarly, even employees want to have a consistent experience whether they are working from home, at the bank or in the field. So it is critical to have a strategy that encompasses all channels and takes into account the needs of all stakeholders in the ecosystem – customers, partners and employees.

It is also critical that the software platform you use for this, must have the ability to include all stakeholders making it an ecosystem, all onto 1 single platform.

Benefits for customers, employees and partners

Digital technology has made it convenient to offer an excellent customer experience. With the use of Artificial Intelligence, OCR is used to extract data from scanned documents and autofill the forms with 99.5% accuracy. eKYC fetches details from registries, government databases and banks to complete the verification process quickly and efficiently. This enables customer onboarding in 15 minutes in a seamless manner on a single platform.

Employees have customer information at their fingertips helping them create a personalized experience. The due diligence process is automated helping employees to have a hassle-free experience.

How can an entity build a successful omnichannel strategy?

Let us explore this approach under different heads for better understanding.

Digital and Digitization

The entity should have a multi-channel digital strategy in place covering web, mobile, chat and social media. Digitisation should be undertaken across branches to have a consistent experience across channels. Systems should not operate in silos; they should be interconnected and speak to each other.

Redesign sales process

The digital sales and marketing channel should be used to improve sales. Any half-filled or incomplete forms should be completed using telesales or branch staff. This will help to convert leads into sales, thereby increasing the conversion ratio. Sales analytics that is readily available should be used to assess the performance of the channels, and optimize the process further.

Plan for high volumes

It is critical to plan for the future and ensure system readiness to handle high volumes of transactions. The objective should be to have the integrated system in a way that even if the volume goes up multi-fold, it should be able to support it, to ensure business continuity and growth. 

Analytics and actions

The first step towards the analysis of data is to measure it accurately. Analysis of available data will provide actionable insights to assess the performance of different channels and take corrective actions. Using a sales analytics tool will give a snapshot of channel-wise performance across products/ geographies/customer profiles. This will help to decide which channels to focus on for optimum performance. Another important piece of information could be the half-filled or incomplete forms on the digital platform. These could be assigned to telesales/ branch sales teams for completion and onboarding. Analysis of employee/ team performance would be a great input for improvement and incentivization.

Always on 24/7

The convenience of having an omnichannel approach is that your products are accessible to customers round the clock without being bogged down by banking hours/holidays. This widens the acquisition time window and allows customers to drop in whenever they have a need. 24/7 availability helps entities to manage work shifts and provide real-time notifications.

Build for partnerships

The availability of open APIs will allow access to partners to consume data as per their needs. Partner portals can be set up to onboard partners and help them calculate their commissions and payouts in real-time.

Security and fraud

Any institution dealing with data has to focus on data security and have in-built mechanisms to detect fraud. It is of utmost importance to build secure systems that are difficult to breach keeping customer data safe. Similarly, systems should have capabilities to monitor transactions and detect frauds as soon as they occur.

Keeping pace with the New Normal

There are several real-life examples of financial entities that have coped well with the pandemic due to their digital transition. These entities have managed to deliver 10x-20x of their regular output because of the ease of using digital platforms combined with an efficient back office. If the data flow is managed efficiently, it makes it easier to complete customer onboarding faster and fill up gaps with manual intervention wherever the need arises.

A proactive omnichannel approach helps financial entities to manage their operations across channels to maximize customer acquisition while keeping the employees and partners relaxed and functioning optimally. When the power of technology is harnessed pragmatically and combined with existing network strengths, the results are bound to be manifold.

Two main outcomes of the COVID pandemic that will stay long after the world returns to normal are the –

  • Increased comfort level of customers in using digital options for financial transactions
  • Inclination of businesses to continue with a hybrid workforce that combines in-office and remote working.

The benefits of these have been clearly experienced during the pandemic and they would continue to be part of the new normal. This makes it even more critical for entities to examine their omnichannel strategy and make full use of digitisation to build a robust infrastructure across business channels that makes it a win-win-win for customers, employees and partners.

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