Trends and developments in communication platforms for financial institutions were discussed at the 2-day Mobile and Banking Workshop hosted by Infobip in Marrakech, Morocco earlier this month, with over 60 participants from Francophone African countries gathered for a series of round tables, presentations and discussions.
Experts from Mali, Congo, Morocco, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Benin, Gabon, and Madagascar created a dynamic knowledge exchange platform, offering unique perspective on mobile communications and solutions in banking environments.
The challenges facing banks and financial institutions in Africa are unique as they are significant, from the availability of banking and mobile services, to the levels of technical literacy and access to mobile devices. While the core banking systems and consumer-facing services are comparable to emerging markets worldwide, each country, or even each bank has its own set of specific requirements.
The gap between the more affluent, mostly urban customers, with access to mobile data networks and smartphones, and the rural areas lacking those capabilities presents the banks with the need for diverse communication channels, and implementing such a variety is a technology challenge in itself.
Banks in Africa have often been the pioneers and agents of mobile innovation, but even then they were motivated by consumers as mobile users who are the ones that ultimately drive change, making enterprises, telecoms and specialist companies realign and adapt.
In such an ecosystem, multi-channel communication solutions are a matter of growing interest. Products and communications specialists in banks increasingly look at how to best combine channels to reach and engage customers across devices, while at the same time addressing their preferences and habits. Both telecoms and internet technologies are required to properly execute a multi-channel communications strategy and the convergence of both can reduce the rollout times and increase the efficiency of banking services.
Smooth transitions between messaging, voice, app notifications and email, possible levels of automation, smooth integration of online and offline channels, are emerging as major concerns. In some instances, implementation of multi-channel capability is seen as a matter of upgrading the existing messaging systems.
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