Insights From The Blog
The Benefits of Virtual Reality in Banking
The banking world has always been dogged by a reputation of being a bit of a dinosaur amongst industries. Slow to move, and a bit spiky, they have been slow to evolve and, in some cases, it has caused them to die out completely, or at least get absorbed by other banks.
Before you start getting all maudlin about poor bankers – an oxymoron if ever there was one – just remember that the Board tends to give them ferocious targets to deliver on, and banking is regarded as one of the highest stress jobs to be in. Little wonder then, that banks are always looking for ways to increase productivity, increase security, and reduce wasted time. Many banks have understood the need to embrace technology, and have actively sought it out; the banks realise that Millennials and Gen Z are their up-and-coming clients, and these are market sectors who know all about the benefits of technology. Many of these groups routinely use AR/VR devices and can see the benefits; they just can’t see why many of the everyday institutions are not doing the same.
But technology for the sake of it is usually not well received, so sectors such as banking need to position themselves as market leaders with technology, and luckily there are a few ways in which they can genuinely do that.
- Connecting with a branch. Banking has been one of the main industries to get a bit of bad press about branch closures and the difficulties in actually talking to a person about either banking issues or just getting information. Banking initiated a huge experiment with call-centres and was amongst the first industries to start shipping out over the phone services to cheaper countries. The use of VR gives them the opportunity to pull that back and actually start to engage with their customers in a meaningful way again, albeit in a virtual world. High street offices are expensive to run, but not so with virtual environments and with the technology to support these now easy to set up and manage, inviting customers into a virtual interface is an easy and cheap win. Italian bank Widiba have already started dabbling with the use of virtual branches and are getting great feedback. Given low cost and increased interaction, this might just be the new normal in a few years.
- Training interface. Just as VR is an ideal tool to help banks interact with customers, it also is something that can help deliver training sessions. Banks thrive on having personnel who are well-trained and able to assist customers with their every need, however banks also undertake a lot of internal training in regard to fraud, which is a huge problem for the whole world of finance, and something that is highly kinetic in nature. It is always changing so identifying and combating it is something that is a constant struggle. VR is the perfect means of delivering training content without attendees having to leave their desks.
- Enhanced security. Some banks are already dabbling with the concept of connecting with customers via a VR interface to check that it is they who are carrying out a transaction. This can be completed quickly – possibly as little as under a minute – and gives the bank confidence that other forms of communication do not. VR is the kind of system which, if taken up en-mass by banks and their clients, could spell the end of much of the identity theft type of fraud.
VR has the potential to change banking behaviour and with it, customer perceptions of one of the oldest professions. Banks like to pitch themselves as caring entities but many times are found to be wanting. By grabbing the mantle of something as useful and far-reaching as VR, banks can show that they are listening for once.
You never know; your next meeting with your bank manager may well be in cyberspace.