Backbase Tour Johannesburg: Customer-first approach

Financial wellness is gaining momentum in the post-pandemic world. Retail Banks must enrich their customer experience with data-led insights to stay ahead of their competition.


This article is sponsored by Backbase

The future of banking will be defined by customer experiences that are similar to the services that users rely on for social and professional purposes. Vignesh Damodharan, senior product manager at Backbase said we now live in an era of platforms and banking will need to adjust to the customer’s preference for accessing products and services in that manner. 

Platforms such as Uber, Netflix and Amazon are built around the customer and also have a unified system as the key ingredient. 

Damodharan said there are three platforms that he thinks have exemplary features. “The first one is Apply Pay. It is instant, seamless and secure. All you have to do is tap your phone and the payment is done.” 

This ease of use has enabled Apple Pay to surpass Mastercard, processing six trillion transactions annually. Amazon is another example. “With one click buying, personalised recommendations and same-day delivery, it is no wonder that it is now one of the largest marketplaces in the world.” 

Wise, the third example, has reimagined international money transfers to make them easy, fast and cheaper. 

Damodharan observed that the retail banking sector is now rife with disruption, as traditional banks fend off competition from newer, technology-first entrants, including fintechs and larger players like Apple. 

These new players are all seeking to prise market share from the traditional providers and become the preferred platform for customer transactions with their “laser focus on customer needs and expectations”. 

Customers want a seamless experience when accessing financial services, Damodharan said. While traditional banks require an average of 30 steps and a few days to open an account, a similar process at a digital bank takes only six steps and a few hours. 

Customers also want the convenience of self-service as well as the assurance that there will be somebody they can talk to in order to resolve their issues when that is

“With a fragmented customer view and vertical silos, the traditional bank will not be able to meet these expectations and will not survive this era because they are not designed for it,” Damodharan predicted. “Instead, they need to put the customer at the centre and architect a journey based on their needs and expectations.”  

Backbase’s Engagement Banking Platform (EBP) offers banks the ability to host and deliver seamless services off a single spine. “It aggregates and orchestrates all a bank’s capabilities to provide a seamless customer experience. It is pre-integrated with open banking while also giving you the fintech power.” 

Muhammad Ameer Hasan, Solutions Engineer at Backbase demonstrated the capabilities of the platform to the audience. Among others, it is able to make an assessment of the customer’s spending, including a comparison with average spending in the customer’s income bracket, and suggest ways to cut expenditure and save money. 

Shameer Patel of I&M Bank explained that the bank’s digital transformation, aided by Backbase’s platform, had yielded tremendous results. The bank has been able to eliminate fragmentation, reduce costs and record increases in digital transactions and active customers.