The way that customers interact with their banks is changing.
Their interactions are no longer limited to business hours on weekdays — instead, account holders want to be able to access their information whenever and however they want, at all hours of the day.
“Users want to transfer money, set a fraud alert, and check their statements without ever having to walk into the branch, and without being constrained by hours and bank holidays,” said Andre Kannemeyer, CTO at Duxbury Networking, the distributors of Versa Networks solutions.
“They are no longer using physical cash for transactions, but instead they rely on digital transactions through cards, PayPal, and Apple Wallet, which largely eliminates the need for cash withdrawal services at branches and ATMs.”
As banks move towards the digital era, and as consumers shift towards digital methods for their financial transactions, Versa Networks’ SD-branch can support and enhance the customer experience at a branch’s physical location.
“The consumers are going more mobile, and they’re more digital,” said Nick Lippis, co-founder and co-chairman of ONUG (Open Networking User Group).
“Cash dispensing, withdrawals and payments, are all going mobile. The physical cash marketplace isn’t really that exciting. All the action is in digital payments.”
Combining digital and human experiences in banking
This has resulted in banks transforming how they use their branches.
While customers still need to do certain tasks in-person for the sake of identification and the documentation — such as signing a loan or picking up a cashier’s check — the majority of bank interactions no longer require a human behind them.
This means that banks need to offer a combination of digital and human experiences. Branches can enhance interactions that customers cannot get off a mobile app by augmenting tech-enabled services.
“One example of this is video banking. A branch office may not have the foot traffic to fully support a full-time specialist for a certain type of loan. Video conferencing means a branch manager can contact an expert on-demand and provide customers with the resources they need within the branch,” said Kannemeyer.
Another example is cardless banking, which uses facial recognition and other biometric forms of authentication.
Customers who do need cash are able to enhance their experience since their transactions are completed more smoothly.
According to PwC’s 2020 Retail Banking Report, 61% of bankers say a customer-centric business model is “very important,”.
Banks are building that model through the digital experiences and services mentioned above.
SD-branch enables those experiences through efficient application support and low latency support.
SD-branch allows for a bank’s network operators to see which applications are drawing in the most user interactions, and which services are resonating with their customers through single-pane-of-glass network visibility.
They can then refine consumer intent and deliver the services to them that matter the most.
“The traditional retail banking branch experiences are really quite lacklustre,” said Kannemeyer.
“We want people to have a similar quality experience as they would have in Starbucks or Exclusive Books, for instance. It’s all about improving the quality of the experience behind an app. So, we need to know the intent of that person’s interest and make that app responsive to that person’s intent.”
SD-branch can support the bandwidth-heavy applications that are making up the digital bank experience, such as smart ATMs and video conferencing.
Its software-defined architecture allows operators to spin up and scale new applications quickly.
Low barriers of entry for new applications
This gives the network a dynamism that can keep up with the rapidly-changing digital landscape, Kannemeyer pointed out.
“It lowers the barrier of entry for new applications to be rolled out into those branch offices,” he continued.
“That’s the key value that gets delivered, by separating that kind of physical and virtual infrastructure. Branch managers are not relying upon a service provider to actually fire up connectivity which could take months — they can do it literally in seconds.”
By introducing flexibility, visibility, and control over the network, SD-branch supports a customer experience that transcends the traditional bank branch structure.
“It’s a system that combines a digital and personal experience, and meets their banking needs through availability and intent,” said Kannemeyer.
This article was published in partnership with Duxbury Networking.