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Davor GAŠPARAC, Head of Division Group Corporates from Erste Group IT has shared his view on why is it important to truly analyse what your customers want and need in order to provide them with the best-fitted digital products.>/em>

What do you see as the biggest challenge in banking customer experience nowadays?

A decade or two ago, a typical customer came to a bank to open a giro and savings account, ask for a loan and then visited a branch a few times when in need for banking services. On the other hand, banks usually spammed customers with promo materials about new products and services hoping something might be interesting. These days, under pressure of FinTech and inspired by companies like Apple, banks are competing in providing “amazing customer experience” with their apps and competing who will offer more “digital products”. However, although things improved in last years, customers still have difficulties to understand financial products and are still overwhelmed with “digital offerings” they do not necessarily need. So, analysing clients’ needs and offering meaningful and useful assistance when a customer really needs it would be the biggest challenge I see.

How can banks improve customer engagement?

I am not sure banks should focus that much on customer engagement. Banks first need to understand customer needs better and be there when customer needs support – but nothing more. All industries are fighting for “more engagement” from clients, but I am not sure it is what clients need, and I am sure it is not what clients want.

What makes a digital transformation successful?

Digitalisation is usually an endeavour which aims to build “new ecosystems and platforms” as expensive consultants are teaching us, but it usually ends only in “digitalising” products and services – at best. Putting PDF forms on your new web page is not digitalisation. Digitalisation shall focus on finding new ways of solving clients’ problems, by integrating (sometimes existing) products and services into new offerings. Only when this mindset change is done, we can consider that digitalisation has started. If you manage to solve at least one client’s problem like that – you can consider yourself successful. But, do not aim on “total” digital transformation. Transformation shall not be a goal. It is just a tool.

What technology do you consider to have the biggest impact on the banking industry in the near future?

No single technology will have a big impact on banking by itself. One single technology does not change a lot and we should not search for a silver bullet technology. The key is in finding new ways of helping people and companies doing their finances. We can do miracles with existing technologies already, but we are too busy digitally transforming our products and services instead of trying to be more useful.

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