“We’re changing the way banking happens.”

Reinventing banking for the social era

Think a bank can’t be mobile and social? “Can’t” isn’t in Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s vocabulary. The CommBank “CAN” campaign—highlighting services ranging from mobile payments to apps for home buyers—is showing Australians what a modern bank can be.

CommBank’s social transformation isn’t about technology for technology’s sake. As the bank sees it, social media is a reflection of the current technology and how gregarious human beings are so they want to be part of the conversation.

Social technologies are helping build relationships between the bank and its customers that emulate the personal connections people once had with their local branch. The goal is to emulate that personal touch which reinforces trust and transparency.


Banking on social networks

With over 1,100 branches, CommBank’s 48,000 employees are widely distributed around the country. They’re also a very social group, so an employee social network like Chatter is a natural fit for internal collaboration. Since many branch employees don’t have their own dedicated computers, they are using their own devices to capture the narrative of the business and make every communication a social communication.

Externally, what started out as a social networking experiment quickly proved to be a pillar of the bank’s marketing strategy. With Facebook as their primary social network, the bank uses the Salesforce1 Platform to surface conversations and find opportunities to make the customer experience personal and relevant, quickly.

Making banking personal is no small task for a bank that serves half of the country’s citizens. But don’t tell CommBank they can’t pull it off. As a socially-connected business, CommBank can.

How do they get there ? (Forrester Case) – http://blogs.forrester.com/benjamin_ensor/12-02-29-learning_from_digital_innovation_at_commonwealth_bank_of_australia

here are a number of firms that we watch closely at Forrester because they stand out for sustained innovation. Behind the technology giants like Google and Apple, there are a number of established firms that are using technology to adapt rapidly and successfully to changing customer behaviour and needs. One of them is Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Over the past four to five years CommBank has introduced a series of digital innovations to serve its customers better including:

  • Finest Online. In the course of its “Finest Online” project from 2007 to 2009, Commonwealth Bank ofAustralia redesigned its NetBank Internet banking service with the objectives of building an excellent customer experience and driving online sales. The bank implemented new content and functionality to support the customer journey and integrated new secure site sales processes with in-person channels and the bank‘s multichannel customer relationship management (CRM) system. The two-year, cross-organizational project boosted online sales, increased customer satisfaction, and improved the bank‘s image. (Forrester clients can read our case study.)
  • Improved customer service across channels. Over the past few years, the bank has worked withPegasystems to use technologies like case management and predictive analytics to improve the bank’s overall flexibility to respond to customers’ changing needs and to improve a number of its processes, including how it handles customer complaints and how it delivers relevant messages to customers across multiple channels.
  • A property guide app for homebuyers. In early 2011, Commonwealth Bank of Australia introduced a mobile property guide application that combines mobile augmented reality with licensed information of actual property selling prices, closing dates and estimated current values to help homebuyers in their search. The bank is generating 1% of its overall mortgage leads through the app. (Forrester clients can read our case study.)Commbank's Kaching app makes it easy to make multiple types of payment from a mobile phone.
  • Kaching mobile payment app. Another recent innovation, Commbank’s “Kaching” mobile payment app, makes it easy to make multiple types of payment from an iPhone (see the picture to the right). What I like about the app is that it doesn’t just enable one type of mobile payment, it enables multiple types of payment including transfers between a customer’s own accounts, transfers to other accounts, bill payments through Australia’s BPay service, MasterCard PayPass payments at the point of sale (using an iCarte case, not an integrated NFC chip), payments to friends through email addresses and mobile numbers, and even payments through Facebook. Enabling so many payments through a mobile phone will encourage customers to learn the habit of using the phone to settle payments. That’s an important step towards providing a true mobile digital wallet, and much further than most other banks have gone. There’s a video here if you want to learn more.
  • Online video. As I wrote on this blog a few weeks ago, CommBank has also been one of the pioneers of online video in retail financial services, which it uses to educate customers and promote self-service with videos like this one and this one.

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