How has the pandemic impacted customer behaviour in the BFSI sector?

 - Sakshi Post

The pandemic brought with it many changes including restricted movement, social distancing, increased dependency on technology and impacted all aspects of life including businesses. The banking and financial sector was no exception and as Alok Bansal, Visionet Systems India's MD and Global Head of BFSI business says, "We are now irrevocably on the path to digital transformation and I don't think this change is temporary. I believe we can look at every situation in life as an opportunity to persevere and improve ourselves and this pandemic has truly galvanised the industry to rise above outmoded structures and be more future-forward."

According to Mr. Alok Bansal, changing customer expectations and behaviour have also impacted this transformation as more and more clients have now come to rely on digital banking, personal finance apps, online purchases, contactless payments and remote  consultations with financial experts. He says, "The industry has had to figure out the best ways to serve clients speedily and safely during this time. Pandemic or not, clients needed their loans to be processed, their mortgage plans to be fast tracked, and wanted prompt and reliable customer service even in the absence of systems that once depended on human interaction. Customers are now comfortable with the use of biometrics for identity verification and have come to use digital signatures and are gradually turning to chatbots for queries etc ."

Mr. Alok Bansal believes that even as things revert to the old normal, customers are now used to the convenience of digital transactions and will visit their banks in person only for very specific needs. He says, "The pandemic has made both the BFSI industry and the customers realise that digital transformation is not something that happens every few years but can be a part of everyday transactions. Today people pay their bills, buy groceries, order surprise gifts, do their banking online with absolute ease and I don't see this trend diminishing. " 

Digital transformation has however also brought with it many new challenges. Alok says, "Without cybersecurity, digital transformation is not sustainable. Everytime a client is defrauded and money is stolen from e-wallets and online banking platforms, a bank's goodwill and brand equity is also jeopardised. It is critical to protect the finances and the personal data of the client. New tools are now being developed to secure digital pathways against fraud and identity theft and employees are being upskilled to identify security breaches. New systems are being established to stringently monitor software and to audit transactions to check for anomalies. Artificial Intelligence (AI), and data analytics are now being extensively used to plug security gaps but cybersecurity is a work in progress and will need to evolve constantly to counter every new threat. The industry additionally must work towards financial inclusion to make sure that rural Indians do not stay underserved and disconnected from this digital revolution."

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