RBC Rolls Out Video Banking in Canada

12 Dec 2016

Royal Bank (RBC), Canada's largest bank, is implementing remote video banking to make it easier for its business clients to make banking modern. It sounds trivial, but integrating communications into digital and mobile workflow is significant.

I regularly get queried on the latest and greatest technology trends in enterprise communications. Despite all the hype about chatbots and artificial intelligence, what I find most effective is simplification - the act of making business easier to do - including interaction.

Few industries have experienced as much disruption as the banking industry. I used to go to my bank regularly to get money, deposit money, manage accounts, order checks, and even get paperwork notarized. I used to know the name of the branch manager as well as most of the tellers. Today, I rarely go to the bank, and don't know any of the branch employee names. Based on the empty parking lots in front of the banks I think most of us are skipping branch visits.

The banking industry has experienced significant digitalization. Sometimes referred as digital transformation, this refers to the use of technology to streamline business processes. In banking we have seen automated payments, simplified money transfers, online check ordering, and mobile photos for check deposits. Bits are much easier to manage, streamline, move, and analyze than physical goods. Unfortunately, too often the customer relationship gets lost in the shuffle.

There's really very little reason to go to a bank branch any more. Most of the money goes in and out electronically. The credit card or mobile payment has replaced the need for most checks, and the majority of remaining checks are also processed electronically via online services such as Bill Pay.

RBC is taking action to rebuild face-to-face customer interactions with video banking. They have a limited deployment, but have plans to expand it to broader services. RBC is actually the first Canadian bank to offer remote video banking.

Banks are known for hiding from customers. They observe holidays like no other industry, keep short "banker's hours," and build inane phone trees. I've seen some banks introduce video in the branch, but that never made much sense to me.

RBC has a 24/7 contact center which appears to be bucking the "make customer interactions hard" trend. Despite the widespread talk of the importance of customer experience, I keep seeing evidence of the contrary. For example, emails from "DoNotReply" are a subtle form of "Talk to the Hand." Too often our loyalty is based on the inconvenience of switching rather than the old school, delightful experience. Now RBC is taking the next step by complementing its service center with video.

Video is a reasonably obvious extension of what's becoming a mobile-first customer relationship. Considering the ubiquity of broadband networks, browser-friendly video, and the fact that every single smartphone, tablet, laptop, and most PC desktops now have a video camera - why not use video? A face beats an auto attendant any day. RBC gets credit for being first in Canada, but realistically why isn't this a standard (banking) practice?

RBC used technology from Vidyo embedded into its existing Genesys-powered contact center. The powerful combination is a result of the Genesys AppFoundry program created in 2015. Vidyo was recently recognized as Partner of the Year at the annual Genesys customer conference last October. The program will benefit Genesys, Vidyo, and RBC's 16 million customers.

I'd like to say video interactions will soon be widespread, but I've been saying that for years. So instead I will celebrate one victory at a time. Here's looking at you, RBC.



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