#Digital transformation

Customer pathway takes center stage in digital revolution

Jan 22, 2021 - 6 min read
Badr Argane, Service center director MEA at Sopra Banking Software

In the last decade, the world has undergone a major digital transformation driven by the emergence of new technologies. This shift has gradually established itself in Moroccan society and revolutionized user behavior. Through new functions, innovative methods, communication and commerce, this digitization has also brought new challenges to the fore, especially in the banking sector. In the current circumstances created by the pandemic, Morocco and the entire MEA region (Middle East and Africa) has been directly affected by its consumers’ behavioral evolution. This unprecedented situation has forced banks to rethink their strategies, and is encouraging the development of a fully digital customer pathway.

Understanding the onboarding process

When a customer begins working with a bank, the financial institution will often highlight security, compliance and risk issues, without really taking customer experience into account. These initial interactions involving the collection of key information and contact details are nevertheless a crucial phase, as they help the consumer evaluate the establishment’s digital maturity. As a result, and in an effort to develop a more digital approach, the traditional integration process has been replaced by “onboarding.” This streamlined process provides the customer with an enjoyable experience while ensuring they are taken care of within minutes. Onboarding also helps to synchronize various channels to unify the customer experience and breaks from the usual ties between physical and digital processes through a highly developed, personal and fun pathway. What’s more, the new pathway respects all regulatory constraints imposed by local authorities.

The onboarding phase is therefore a decisive step in a relationship between a customer and their bank. It can even be a major key to success if the bank has digital technology that can guarantee the quality and security of collected data, while also saving considerable time. However, despite strong potential, it has taken several years to introduce onboarding to Morocco, as the proposition had to be sufficiently mature and complete before it was fully adopted.

Customers at the heart of new developments

Over the last seven years, Moroccan banks have undergone a digital metamorphosis. Initially, financial institutions had a relatively restricted perception of the customer relationship, which was mainly focused on concluding agreements. Consumer data were therefore seen as secondary to those inherent to sales, which made the operational approach quite limited in terms of lifecycle management and further sales opportunities within the bank. The customer-centric concept did not arrive until later, and placed the customer at the heart of all new and existing strategies. By adopting this method, banks were able to align their product and offer development with consumers’ actual needs in an effort to create a loyal customer base. However, with the boom in digital demand, these challenges have become even bigger, leading to the total dematerialization of consumer banking services. Unsurprisingly, so-called fully online banks are therefore already under development in Morocco and the MEA region in general.

This strategy has been supported by memorandum N° 1DSB2020 of April 23, 2020, introduced by Bank al Maghrib, designed to reinforce policies against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Article 20 of the memorandum stipulates that the remote opening of accounts – especially digitally – should be subject to the same conditions as accounts opened in person. As a result, banks are obliged to equip themselves with an array of tools and reliable, secure technological solutions enabling them to:

  • Ensure the same conditions as with a physical presence and verify the customer’s identity
  • Remotely verify the authenticity of documents
  • Carry out checks to lower the risk of fraud linked to technology

Bank Al-Maghrib is also uncompromising in its measures to protect personal data.

It is therefore becoming crucial for banks to use technological accelerators if they want to create added value through automatically extracting, classifying, validating and exploiting data. Nevertheless, rapid data processing is pointless if security standards are not respected. A range of measures have in fact been applied, including biometry, facial recognition and electronic signature verification.

Another step toward the future

Over time, the customer pathway has become a holy grail for banking institutions, as they continue to develop their digital product and services. However, this progress does require a real readjustment of resources to meet new customer expectations. Online onboarding, whose functions include facilitating banking mobility and dematerializing means of payment, is therefore an indispensable tool combining performance and security.

This banking transformation has inevitably been accelerated by a targeted client study drawing on all socio-professional categories in Morocco. Financial institutions used customized marketing campaigns to determine actual consumer needs in order to provide effective, bespoke offerings. This approach was helped considerably by the centralization of data, which guaranteed an improvement in overall visibility, while also highlighting sales opportunities.

The digital metamorphosis observed over the last few years in Morocco and across the MEA region has inspired banking institutions to put the customer at the heart of their strategy, adapting their actions to the latest trends. The onboarding process has proved to be essential in reinforcing trust and proximity between consumers and banks, with a view to building a solid and sustainable, long-term relationship.