Keeping the spirit of innovation alive

Guest Column: Anil Ramachandran, EVP & Head – Marketing and Retail Unsecured Assets, IndusInd Bank, says the marketers’ goal is to be an integral part of this reinvention of business models

e4m by Anil Ramachandran
Updated: Aug 14, 2020 8:58 AM
Anil Ramachandran

The situation that the world finds itself in is unprecedented. The world is already a different place now, and as we get out of this situation, however much time it may take, the changes will manifest itself even more. The business challenge that faces most marketers is both on the demand and on the supply side. The questions that arise in every marketer’s mind is, how do I spur demand? And how do I fulfil the demand that either already exists or has been generated? The key therefore is to change business models that will align to the new reality.

The marketers’ goal therefore is to be an integral part of this reinvention of the business models. Businesses have to return to earlier momentum, and this can happen only if the delivery of all services (or goods) can be made to all customers at all times. Finding that business model, within the new operating paradigm will really be the key for all marketers whichever industry they might be in.

This means that as a bank, we have to build on the strong innovations and digitalisation platforms that we already have, and to constantly remain focused on innovating and finding simple but robust solutions. The single-minded objective is that we should continue to provide banking solutions that simplify banking and fulfils EVERY customer’s banking requirement in a convenient, simple and speedy manner. The new brick and mortar are the customers’ homes. Fulfilling their banking needs with the press of a button, the simplicity of a scan or with the touch of a screen, without ever taking away the safety and security of the customer, or the transaction is therefore what we do.

It, as always, is critical to be totally connected with the customer, and to be in sync with their needs and expectations in a dynamic and fast changing world.

Shift In Consumer Preferences
We have noticed a momentous shift in the manner in which brands are connecting, engaging and communicating with their consumers over the last few years. For our bank, the adoption of digital has been an integral part of our DNA and we have been focused on using digitisation and technology towards simplifying and making banking convenient for our customers.

Digitalisation is all encompassing and indeed a way of life for us. It is not just limited to sophisticated and “designed for easy navigation “customer-facing applications, but also how it integrates into our processes and workflows, ensuring that the customer ultimately has a seamless banking experience with our bank. This has to be done ensuring the highest levels of security and protection so that the customer is secure and protected while banking online. Customers are looking at adjusting to the new normal and their banking needs remain. Fulfilling those needs holistically, speedily and in a convenient manner is key.

Moving Beyond The Urban Areas
The process of digital transformation is not just restricted to the urban centres, who seek sophisticated banking solutions, but also manifests itself in rural and unbanked markets. Using technology to take banking to the unbanked, within the framework of simplicity, security and convenience has also been a specific focus area for us.

Moreover the process of communicating with existing customers and with potential ones has also evolved. Marketing and distribution and customer service therefore have become more interlinked. Digital transformation, therefore, has become a part of every process, every product and as an outcome, of everything that we do as an organisation. For business models that serve the rural populace, leveraging technology is key. Every kirana store in a remote outpost, for example, can serve banking needs as we have shown in in the Bharat Money kirana stores model.

Introducing Products Basis Customer Centricity
When you keep the customer at the centre of your product development thought process, you are inherently looking at creating products which try and address a typical problem or pain point faced by the customer, or introduce to her a new, simpler and better way of doing things. We have introduced many such products and services that cater to the dynamic and constantly evolving needs of our customers.

The launch of the ‘DUO’ Card, which is India’s ¬first Debit-cum-Credit Card, the ‘Nexxt’ Credit Card, which was the country’s ¬first interactive Credit Card with buttons and a battery, an integration of a ‘Video KYC’ platform for on-boarding savings account and credit card customers, launch of a first-of-its-kind assisted mobile application-based facility for opening current accounts in just a few hours, and more recently, revamping the corporate website to make it more user friendly are some of the key innovations that will redefine customer experience while shifting the ‘power of choice’ to the customer.

Building Strategies That Are Customer Friendly
At IndusInd Bank our philosophy has always been to offer an ‘omni-channel’ experience to our customers. In keeping with this vision, we have implemented both digital as well as brick and mortar models for connecting, transacting and staying engaged with our customers. These include our state-of-the-art digital channels (internet & mobile banking), our contact centres and the large branch and ATM network with over 4,600 touch points across the country.

This is in addition to social media channels and tools which we have put in place. We have seen a strong adoption of digital banking and therefore, the unflinching focus on digital has enhanced and simplified banking for all our customer segments. This could be a large corporate client, an MSME businessman, a customer in rural India or from one of our bustling cities. While their banking needs and requirements could be different, these needs should be fulfilled seamlessly and conveniently. That is what we are focused on. A true people’s bank is one which empowers every customer to fulfil their banking requirements at a channel of their choice at any time and as per their convenience.

Encouraging Innovation Within The Organisation
As an organisation we constantly encourage the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Every employee is encouraged to share thoughts and business ideas, and this has worked very well as it creates an environment that is culturally geared towards innovation. We have a structured approach towards discussing these ideas and arriving at concepts and ideas which we will pursue. We then focus on implementation of each of these initiatives with full commitment and vigour.

When ideas work, we are obviously pleased and if there is failure, we look at it as a learning and a time to shrug it off, and to head back, once again, to the drawing board. Learning from mistakes and recalibrating and re-energising is critical for this. Great ideas often come from the most unexpected places and it is key to keep the spirit of innovation alive.

(The author is Anil Ramachandran, EVP and Head – Marketing and Retail Unsecured Assets, IndusInd Bank.)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com. 

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