Emerging Channels for Financial Interaction in Africa

Customer channels for interacting with Financial Institutions have evolved in the past several years. Customers now, more than ever have a myriad of options to interact with Financial Institutions. A multi-channel approach consisting of traditional face to face interaction, over the phone, online or using a mobile application are now accepted methods of engaging with Financial Institutions in Africa.

Innovation and technology adoption have accelerated customer expectations from Financial Institutions. Financial Institutions are expected deliver a digital experience that is more customer driven. What’s becoming more evident is the development of innovative new channels for engaging with customers. Financial Institutions have invested heavily in technology and other partnerships to create fluid, streamlined, integrated, seamless and personalized customer touch points that enhance customer interaction.

The Internet, Mobile financial services and Applications (Apps) have become a popular means for conducting financial transactions and interacting with Financials Institutions. These channels are now being augmented with the introduction of other channels such as Social media, Artificial Intelligence, Video, Cloud amongst others. These emerging channels officer a unique environment for financial interactions.

Although customers have embraced digital technologies at different degrees, more and more emerging channels are being introduced by Financial Institutions to enhance customer experience such as:

Social media: allows users access to a variety of financial services from within any social media or messaging platform. Some financial Institutions enable person-to-person lending schemes, through social media applications such as Facebook and WhatsApp. Other interactions include empowering individual investors to build and share investment strategies and portfolios with other investors.

Video: Video communications whether through website, immersive/high-definition video conferencing applications, YouTube, or mobile-based video is now possible. You can interact through video sessions with your financial adviser from any location.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): whether through a Chat bot or a virtual assistant, artificial intelligence allows users to perform various tasks using natural language, such as retrieve information and create transactions in the most natural way possible with speech or through text. Financial interactions through AI is powered by natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, artificial intelligence and application programme interface (API) capabilities.

Financial interaction is evolving in Africa. Whether it be Social media, Artificial Intelligence or Video, the landscape for customer experience is being driven by advancement in technology and innovation. This changing landscape of financial interaction does not necessarily mean that the traditional and legacy channels of engagement with Financial Institutions will go away.

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