The presence of digital banking signifies rapid growth of advanced digital technologies in the banking industry in recent years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, adoption of digital channels has grown strongly and will continue to grow, providing an opportunity for banks to step up their digital transformation. The shift to digital services decreases the role of banks’ physical branches, but that does not mean that branches are not needed anymore. In fact, they are still much needed by certain segments of customers, such as older customers or those who value the “human touch” of bank branches.
To fulfill the needs of their customers, banks have provided various digital services, such as mobile banking, internet banking, SMS banking, phone banking, and call centres. The capabilities of internet banking services continue to grow every year and mobile banking is growing even faster. The capabilities of these two services are not only limited to transactions but have developed much more closely to banking services at branches – even buying mutual funds and applying for lending products can now be done using digital services.
Mobile banking is the fastest growing banking digital channel. At the 2020 Bank Service Excellence Monitor (BSEM) awards, BNI won the best mobile banking category (96.21%), beating its closest competitor by 1.13 points (BCA; 95.08%). The best internet banking category was won by BRI (90.26%) as it has the fastest transaction speeds over any other banks measured. Similarly, BCA came in second place in this category with a performance index of 87.64%.
SMS banking services are still being maintained by several banks because there are still customers who use it. It is most convenient for the users located in rural areas with limited internet connection. Also, account holders can use SMS banking facilities on any phone. It is not essential to have a smartphone to use SMS banking services, unlike mobile banking. The best SMS banking service this year was provided by PermataBank due to its excellent transaction speeds. Supporting SMS plain text and Java-based application, PermataBank achieved a near perfect performance index (99.46%).
Call centre services are crucial to the banking industry as a touchpoint where customers can quickly submit their complaints and seek answers or information. At BSEM 2020 study, we measured banking services as well as credit card services provided by banks through their call centres. BNI and Bank OCBC NISP achieved a perfect score in both services. Not only showing fast response time, the two banks also demonstrated adequate staff knowledge in understanding and helping their customers.
Lastly, phone banking services. Currently, there are less and less banks that provide this channel. Among the 21 banks assessed at BSEM 2020 study, less than a third own phone banking services – some have already utilised interactive voice response (IVR) technology, while others are still relying solely on their human agents. When the results are compared, phone banking IVRs performed better than phone banking officers – the use of technology was clearly able to provide more stable and faster services. BNI is excelling in this category (90.85%).
Overall, BNI secured the first place as provider of the best electronic banking services (93.62%). Following closely, in second place is BCA (93.37%), and BRI came in the third place (92.65%). The various digital services mentioned above will continue to grow, especially mobile banking and internet banking. In the future, the role of mobile banking will increase in replacing the role of branches in terms of transactions and administration. This is also supported by the growing number of millennials as customers who are more technologically literate.