At Santander Global Tech, the center of our activity and where we are focused is on the consumer.
? This principle is known as “Customer Centrity” and consists of knowing our customers, their tastes, their needs and adapting quickly to them.
One of the points with which we can give added value to our customers is multi-channeling, which is nothing more than having multiple points of interaction with the bank.
A bit of history
The older ones will remember something as anachronistic as the “bank book”… The younger ones will wonder what that is… well, it’s a little notebook where you write down the movements of your current account. Yes, something physical, on paper (that white thing made with cellulose).
Oh sure, and to make matters worse, something I didn’t say, is that you could only know how much money you had in your account by physically handing the passbook to the person at the cashier’s desk, which at that time was a counter, so he could update it for you with a printer. Watch out if you had a lot to update… you could feel the angry look every time he turned a page ?.
With this we can say that there was only one “channel” of communication with the bank to see your balance, your movements, make a transfer…. Can you imagine today having to go to a physical place during office hours to see the money you have left in your account or to make a simple transfer? ?
Then the ATM and the Internet appeared, so there was no longer a single way of interacting… multichannel banking was born and in my particular case I embraced it with great enthusiasm ? I quickly became an early adopter of online banking: after so much updating, let’s say that the cashier and I didn’t have a lot of feeling.
In today’s world, we could hardly think of not being able to see the status of our accounts from multiple sites:
- By web (on a computer, a mobile or a tablet, each one with a custom design).
- By APP, mobile or tablet.
- Even already due to PSD2 regulations and apification, through a third party TPP such as Fintonic or pay on Amazon with our account directly.
- Not forgetting… phone banking, chat bots, smartwatch, Whatsapp or through Alexa and Siri, and it keeps growing.
All this we tell for the retail customer (people “on the street” in banking terms) … but what about our non-retail customers? Large corporations, SMEs, freelancers?
And our other customers?
It seems that because they are clients with more “heavy” operations, we imagine them behind a desk with heavy applications running on their desktop computer at work… ?? Nothing could be further from the truth!
They are dynamic customers, who travel, and we must provide them with tools that facilitate their daily work… APPs, dynamic Webs and any other channel that facilitates their day-to-day work. If a retail customer has it, how can our other customers not have it?
Let’s remember that our cornerstone is our customers… we must take care of them… for them we always keep in mind our agile Customer Centricity philosophy.
From improvement to necessity
Multichannel has gone from being an added value to a customer need. Those who do not have it are out of the market.
Our customers need to have information immediately available and reliable, and for all our customers and through all available channels.
? Let’s imagine a day of some lively customer of a large corporation:
- 8:13: he consults the global position of his main accounts with his cell phone.
- 9:21: at his workstation he checks the scheduled transactions and reviews the reports.
- 10:32: he authorizes a transaction that travels through his ERP to our servers via Host-to-Host to pay his suppliers.
- 12:21: in a meeting with the customer may with his Tablet make an immediate online transfer (and sign it) to close a deal.
- 16:20: taking a plane to go to his London headquarters, check the result of his operations again with his cell phone.
Are there limits to multichannel?
Although it seems that all the options have already been exhausted, there are still others up their sleeves.
For example, the metaverse is already beginning to be implemented, which will be a copy of reality, something similar to the failed SecondLife (where you could “live” in an alternative reality) but with and interface with realistic physics through virtual reality and augmented reality.
If it continues to evolve, it could be another channel through which, by avatars, you can make inquiries or carry out operations in a virtual office.
We must also take into account all the new non-physical channels, cryptocurrencies and everything that the blockchain world offers us (smart contracts, for example), or new possible products using the channels already open to third parties, which facilitate the day-to-day life of customers (paying in a restaurant with friends and the cost shared out by consensus?)
And we still don’t know what the medium-term future holds… paying at stores by simply walking out the door with the product (we have been biometrically identified, there are already advances in this field)? Mental connections with the bank? ?
Therefore, there is only one way to go. At Santander Global Tech we keep an open and attentive mind and we will apply everything that can help our clients! ??
We always keep in mind our other agile principle: Fast reaction! (quickly identify opportunities, make decisions in an agile way and without fear of being wrong, and keep our mind open to new ideas).
Conclusions and best practices
When designing any product, at Santander Global Tech we must give our clients everything they need, and that includes multi-channeling.
To this end, we never forget when designing our product that it must have these characteristics:
- Multichannel: We must provide all the channels you need: Host to host, web, mobile, tablet, phone, mail, Whatsapp, chats with bots or if you need a new interface, invent it.
- Multi-device: you have to be able to use any device you use… mobile, tablet, computer, voice… to visualize data or get the answers you need or launch the operations you need.
- Intuitive and simple UI: let’s be inclusive, let’s remember that they are mostly financiers and in few occasions millenials familiar with technology. Just as we give all the possibilities, they must also be simple and intuitive for all ages and levels of technical knowledge.
- Ubiquitous: you must be able to perform any operation from anywhere you need.
To do this you have to design a good backend designed to support all channels. And flexible enough to support new channels.
We do not forget the 3-layer designs: presentation (channel), business (backend) and data.
In addition, you should use the latest web technologies such as Angular or React that facilitate adaptability to different devices and resolutions, native applications for mobile and specific channels for backoffices if necessary.
Not to forget the Virtual Assistants for phone support, email, whastapp or chat bots.
And all this, designed by our fantastic UX colleagues, experts in making interfaces intuitive and inclusive to achieve complete success.
And if it is going to be consumed from the Internet, to gain speed and cybersecurity, always put a CDN in front (e.g. IMPERVA or AKAMAI).
As a summary, let’s apply the slogan of one of the SCIB area bank’s products, Santander Cash Nexus: “Wherever you need to operate, we keep you connected”. ?
Santander Global Tech is the global technology company, part of Santander’s Technology and Operations (T&O) division. With more than 2,000 employees and based in Madrid, we work to make Santander an open platform for financial services.
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