Banks must adapt to new digital realities to thrive in the post-pandemic world

The digital future has arrived, and banks must have the infrastructure in place to cater to millennial expectations for online services. This is just one of the key findings in the latest Backbase report, “GCC Insights: A look at digital banking trends and shifting consumer habits in the region.” The study, which features responses from 2,016 bank customers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, reaffirms that Gulf Cooperation Council consumers want financial institutions to deliver more digital banking services.

Although banks in the region began their digital transformation journeys a few years ago, the Covid-19 pandemic reinforced the importance of this process and the limitations of traditional banking methods. Consumers are now fully accustomed to doing almost everything via online channels. Whether it’s shopping or using health and government services, customers now demand the convenience and ease of use that digital services deliver.

The report’s findings are based on Backbase’s “Digital Banking Appetite in the GCC” survey, which was conducted in 2021 in partnership with YouGov. One of the highlights is that 89% of those polled said they’re now more likely to opt for digital banking services rather than make a physical visit to a bank branch. Consumers replied that they prefer digital self-service banking services that are delivered with the same convenience as their ecommerce, entertainment, and transport solutions.

Perhaps more worryingly, 33% of respondents described their bank’s online offering of digital banking services as weak. Meanwhile, 82% said they would be persuaded to move to a different bank if it had a better, fully accessible online customer experience and self-service banking. This means that financial institutions must now take immediate action or face being left on the sidelines.

The Backbase Engagement Banking Platform can play a crucial role by creating a single, unified, and integrated system that removes barriers between different functions. Banks can use the platform to drive all their business streams from a single framework that includes retail, SME, corporate, and wealth management. It encompasses everything from digital sales to the most common daily banking tasks in a seamlessly designed user experience for both customers and employees.

The Backbase platform enables financial institutions to respond to changing customer and business trends far quicker than traditional, non-digital methods. It features over 50 engagement banking capabilities that are designed to cover the entire customer lifecycle, from onboarding and servicing to cross- and up-selling.

At its core, the platform powers two important solutions – Digital Sales and Digital Banking – and is built to drive conversions, minimize costs, deepen loyalty, and drive growth. But that’s not all it can do – it also serves to improve the experience of bank employees. For example, Backbase’s pre-built Employee App allows employees to communicate in real-time and collaborate more effectively with a control center, as well as a 360° customer view. This helps to create a personalized customer service at lower operating costs.

Credit unions can also benefit from the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform’s built-in Engagement App. It empowers these organizations by giving them full control of customer engagement across the entire financial life cycle. The app provides smart campaign tools, audiences and analytics, product recommendation nudges, and even user actions.

The platform gives operators the ability to increase engagement and user adoption – boosting revenue opportunities as a result. It’s been designed with an open architecture so financial institutions can take advantage of Backbase’s wider fintech ecosystem. Users can access our curated list of external partners or even select their own.

The debate on digital banking has ended. It’s clear that for financial institutions to succeed now and in the future, the online path is the only one to take. Customers are rightly demanding more convenient, seamless banking experiences that are in line with what they have become accustomed to with streaming and government services. Fortunately, Backbase has the expertise, technology, and experience to help banks successfully achieve their digital transformation goals.

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