The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) acts as a regulatory body for all scheduled banks in the country. It is the ultimate banking and monetary authority of India and is responsible to control the Indian banking system.
There are three main types of banks in India: Commercial Banks, Corporate Banks, and Development Banks. These are further classified into Nationalized and Private, Short-term and Long-term Credit Banks, and EXIM, Industrial and Agricultural Banks.
The growth of the Indian economy has given a rise to demand for innovative and customized products. This puts pressure on the banks to be more transparent and competitive to keep customers. Technological advancement has created faster mediums of solving queries more efficiently.
What is Retail Banking?
Retail banking offers financial services to individuals and small businesses. It deals with numerous low-value transactions and is also known as consumer or personal banking.
Retail banks offer services such as the opening of savings or current account, credit cards, debit cards, housing loans, ATM services, internet banking, mobile banking, automobile loans, education loans, investment, mortgages, insurance, and stockbroking.
While in wholesale banking the customers are often multinational companies, large corporations, government bodies, and financial institutions. These banks handle a small number of high-value transactions.
Top 5 Retail Banking Strategies
1. Product Innovation
The bank’s database stores customers’ demographic and financial information. This data helps banks in creating innovative personalized products for various segments and categories of customers belonging to different regions. Constant product innovation to meet the requirements of customers is beneficial. Some areas where the banks are launching new and personalized products are mutual funds, insurance, car loans, and securities, etc.
2. Quality of Service
Most retail banks offer similar services. If a customer discovers identical services offered by another bank with better quality and lower costs, they will switch over easily. Hence client’s experience and services offered by the bank matters the most. Banks must come up with personalized products at low costs that satisfy and retain customers, and help banks earn a profit.
3. Detailed Market Research
Banks can find untapped markets through thorough market research. They can pioneer products and services that others have not been implemented yet. This gives them leverage and provides a competitive edge.
4. Multiple Delivery and Contact Channels
Customers prefer multiple means of communication to contact their banks. Therefore, banks should provide high-quality service channels like mobile banking, internet banking, web chat services, telephone banking, etc.
5. Understanding Customer Sentiment through Cross-channel Analysis
Banks can gauge what their customers think about their brand and offerings through sentiment analysis. It provides them with insights to prepare for the upcoming changes required to keep up with changing trends. The social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, Reddit, etc. display real-time customer conversations. By analyzing, those banks can draw an accurate picture of their experiences.
The retail banking sector can implement more strategies such as using advanced technology that includes cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) software, skilled labor force, infrastructure outsourcing, strategic cost management, maximum delivery channels, and business process outsourcing, etc. This will help banks to improve their offerings and lead to increased revenue generation.
Retail Banking Strategies with relation to COVID-19
Agriculture, manufacturing, and service sectors have all been adversely affected because of COVID-19. A noticeable change in customer behavior has been recorded in the banking sector. A decrease in physical branch visits has resulted in an increased number of online transactions through internet banking, mobile banking, and wallet payments. Embracing digital banking by providing essential retail banking services through the internet can minimize its adverse effects on both banks and their customers.
Various proactive strategies that can continue serving customers, build trust, build your brand name and improve customer engagement are:
Engaging customers across multiple digital channels
It is the responsibility of the banks to sanitize their branches, ATMs, and other areas of their premises. Training their employees about taking hygienic measures for employees like temperature checks and the use of sanitizers is also vital. They should take special measures for social distancing of the customers who visit the branch.
Take early feedback from customers through surveys about what services they would like the bank to provide and how. A hassle-free deployment of such facilities helps and will result in improved offerings by banks.
Showing empathy and spreading awareness via personalized messages
Banks can create banners to make announcements regarding additional services provided by them. They can provide information related to the current situation and measures taken for the safety of the customers. Using digital channels to spread awareness will also help since the use of social media has increased considerably post COVID-19.
Educate customers about online banking
Less physical visits to banks means better health of customers since their exposure to getting affected by COVID-19 virus will reduce. Hence, banks should encourage their users to use digital banking channels like mobile applications and net banking. It is also important for banks to inform their users about security measures being taken and threats of using digital channels.
The Indian banking industry has significant potential for development. Its impact on the growth of GDP, rise in national income and per capita income has been tremendous. This has led to the expansion of the financial sector in India. Retail banking has emerged with innovative products. They provide key services to millions of people across the globe. Retail banks need to venture into untapped markets and approach their subjects with more creativity.