corporate banking

Transforming the Corporate Banking Journey

The fight for banking customers is increasingly being fought in the battleground of customer experience. Customers are pegging their expectations against the experience provided by Amazon, Google, Uber and many other digital businesses. 1Corporate banking clients are no different; a frictionless, omnichannel banking experience is a top ask, alongside integrated, customized solutions, innovative products, and superior advisory services.

The problem however, is that most corporate banks haven’t responded to this call as they should. As a result, the corporate banking customer experience lags its retail peer by a fair distance. Corporate banks continue to use old world processes, paper and pen, and traditional methods of communication, especially face-to-face meetings arranged by relationship managers.  

While they may have their reasons – 2the complexity of corporate banking products and processes, and devastating impact of failure are behind the resistance to change – corporate banks cannot afford to hold back any longer. A recent customer satisfaction survey of about 1,750 U.S. consumers placed direct-to-consumer banks, which are typically digital-only entities, at the top of the rankings. 3With barely any physical presence, these banks owe their success almost entirely to the quality of experience.

At Sibos 2019 this year, we look to explore the impacts of technology in financial services, and what it takes to thrive in these transformational times. Few would disagree that corporate banking, one of the most profitable lines of business, is also one of the areas ripe for transformation in banking.

4An experience is nothing but a sum of the journeys a customer goes through, as he consumes a product or interacts with a service provider. In a full-fledged corporate bank, there could be about 30 customer journeys, most of which can be transformed through the following measures:

Digitize the process: Corporate banks need to replace manual, paper-based activities with integrated digital processes. For example, rather than onboarding customers the conventional way over several weeks, they must employ an entirely digital process that includes digital signatures and documentation. This would not only eliminate most of the delay but also improve efficiency and accuracy.

Empower the customer: What corporate customers really want is to finance their business in the best way possible. While that could signal a need for advice occasionally, it is mainly a call for empowerment, and the ability to accomplish their banking tasks on their own without hassle, delay or interruption. Banks must respond by digitizing their customer journeys so that they culminate in truly omnichannel, self-service experiences.

Mind the context: The customer journey is enriched when it is customized to the every individual customer’s need and context. While this is a herculean pursuit in a retail banking scenario where the customer base can run into millions, it is quite feasible for corporate banks to plot a unique journey map for each of their customers, based on their industry, size, objectives and context.

Serve the need: The destination of every customer journey is a fulfilled need. So it stands to reason that a customized, contextualized customer journey should lead to customized, contextualized offerings that fulfill the need for which the journey was undertaken. This means that products and services should be designed to suit the requirements of individual industries – an aircraft manufacturer’s cash management needs are not the same as a retailer’s – market segments, and even corporations. If the corporate bank does not have the right product, it should source it from its partner ecosystem in the open banking economy. In that case, the customer journey will proceed outside the bank’s internal organization. And that’s another thing for corporate banks to consider while transforming the customer journey.