Very few people still book their flights through a travel agent. Yet we’re travelling more than ever before. We only visit a travel agent if we need special advice.
The relationship between clients and their bank is following a similar trend. More and more services can be provided via smartphone, tablet or PC in just a few clicks. The banking industry is experiencing its second digital revolution. Whereas 20 years ago internal processes were digitalized, now it’s the turn of customer contact.
“Paying, saving, investing and financing remain essential banking services. But the way we access these is changing rapidly,” explains Andreas Dietrich, Professor of Finance at Lucerne University. US internet giants paved the way in demonstrating how digital client retention works. For the banking sector, this poses a challenge. “UBS is a pioneer in the use of digital media. It’s leading the way in Switzerland,” says the professor. The Mobile Banking app, e-banking, the revamped website, and new services like the personal financial assistant present new ways to manage money.
In a culture inexorably moving towards a 24-hour society, ever fewer people want to be restricted by bank branch opening hours. So it’s practical to call up services as needed: you can check your credit card limits via smartphone, for example, or pay your bills from your laptop. For information or appointments, a call to the Customer Service Center is all it takes. But it’s best to speak to an advisor about complex matters such as financing.
As natural as looking up train times
“In future, simple services will probably be handled online. For complex services, clients will use a combination of channels,” believes Andreas Kubli, head of Multichannel Management & Digitization at UBS. But preferences are as varied as people themselves. “We all choose which channel to use when and how it suits us, creating more individuality and quality,” explains Christoph Frei, head of Sales and Segment Management Private Clients at UBS.
Most UBS clients have an e-banking agreement and can log in to mobile banking. Frei sees this as just the beginning: “In ten years from now, banking by smartphone will be as natural as using an app to check train times.”