How data is driving KBank’s vision for the future
Suporn Sunthornrohit, First Senior Vice President of KBank’s Retail Business Division, spoke to Efma’s Anne-Laure Jozan about KBank’s future ambitions, and her first experience at an Efma event, the inaugural Retail Banking Forum in Cambodia.
How has your experience been so far at your first Efma event?
I particularly like all the sessions about sharing what has been done execution wise, so that people can understand from the lessons learnt. I also enjoyed the opening session from Michael Lor [Efma’s Senior Advisor for the Asia Pacific Region] in which he pointed out examples of other businesses, like in France where there is a bank that has an account that can be opened in just 9 minutes. When I saw their flow, I could reflect on my own organization and how we open accounts – the application form always comes first, and we don’t think about the customer experience. This is one of the main learnings I can take back to my organization and use to revisit our customer experience.
What is your background?
I worked in CRM for twenty years, in CRM data analytics and process improvements. Then I moved to KBank and my role now is in organization strategy and segment management, looking at retail banking segments. For example, Michael mentioned that we should not forget the senior generation. It’s not all about the millennials – we cannot overlook this segment. They might need more time and education but we can speed up implementation. When we have to prioritize, of course the younger generation comes first, but we don’t currently think about how senior people think, so it’s a good wake-up call.
What are KBank’s plans for development in terms of data, CRM, AI, etc.?
The first priority is data infrastructure. This is exactly what one of the sessions was saying about the importance of data collection. The bank is very good at keeping data if it’s for verification purposes, but not for marketing purposes. We have to close this data gap for the user, and the marketer. The second priority is about real time. We can wait for a month, but our customer can’t, so we have to improve the data infrastructure. Experts on new technology like AI will help us, but we have to let them in and help them understand what we are doing. If we bring in pure scientists, they don’t understand the business and it doesn’t work. One of the key challenges and changes for the bank is the culture – we have to change the mindset of the people.
How do these developments follow through to your branches?
We have been tracking the number of transactions happening in branch. Of course there is a downward trend in the number of transactions, however, we are now running an experiment of how we set up the branch. We have to rethink and be where customers are and not just build branches where we have land and let them come to us. Now we are trying to change the branch format – sometimes it will be self-service, sometimes it will be an educational bookshop with events and conferences and so on. We try to find out what is the suitable format for the specific bank and then we try to improve it from there.
What are KBank’s priorities for the next five years to come?
I think the first priority is that we need to change our culture. Second is of course technology. We have to go digital and we have to improve our customer experience across channels. Now, we are very good in the branch space, but with digital we are only half there so we have to make it complete. The last thing is the data infrastructure of the bank. Our mission is to become a data-driven bank.
In light of KBank’s partnership with UnionPay, how do you see KBank’s position in comparison to GAFA techs and the Chinese market?
The Chinese market is a big player in Asia. They are very good in technology as well as in terms of customer base. Whatever happens there is very experimental so we see it as a good opportunity to form partnerships.