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Digital Transformation: Tangerine Banks On It

Since Dimension Data published its 2015 "Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report" with the mandate "Go Digital or Die," the theme has been the subject of a No Jitter post, a Forrester study and several webinars, and most recently a breakout session at last week's G-Force conference, the annual customer, partner, analyst, and consultant event run by its partner, Genesys.

As is often the case with conference sessions, the most engaging and informative portion came in a case study presentation, here offered by Ian Cunningham, chief operating officer at Tangerine, a Canadian bank. Cunningham joked that he was the "proof point" on the session agenda, evidence that digital transformation is not a future dream state but a present reality for some.

Tangerine Bank began in 1997 as ING Direct Canada, part of Dutch multinational and financial services corporation ING Group and the first ING Direct operation in the world. ING Direct is the Group's brand for a branchless direct bank, offering services over the counter, Web, phone, ATM, or by mail. In 2012, Scotiabank bought ING Direct Canada and in 2014 rebranded it as Tangerine.

"It's fair to say Tangerine came into existence as a bank designed to leverage a digital approach," Cunningham said. "The threat of 'go digital or die' was never our issue. We were there to begin with. For us it's 'go digital faster.'"

With that early heritage, Tangerine's goal is to remain an innovator in online, mobile, and digital banking. Tangerine was the first Canadian bank with a mobile app, launched in 2010, and three years ago it became the first bank in Canada to offer remote check deposit via smartphone app.

Tangerine seeks to engage in continual digital transformation, always evolving the client experience and providing seamless interactions across all channels. Cunningham discussed some of the key elements Tangerine is using to deliver on that promise, including:

Voice Biometrics - Clients can authenticate themselves automatically over the phone using a stored voice pattern they've created. Then, the first sentence when they call into the contact center authenticates them to Tangerine agents without having to remember PINs or passwords.

Voice Portal -: On voice prompts, clients hear options only relevant to their banking relationship with Tangerine.

Co-Browsing - Clients can share their computer screens with Tangerine associates, eliminating the need for them to explain what they're seeing.

Secure Chat - Clients can chat securely with Tangerine associates from the bank's mobile app and website. Because the channel is secure, it's not just limited to general inquiries but rather clients can have text conversations about confidential banking matters. They can get get specific account details via chat, as well as use the channel to complete transactions. Tangerine began offering secure chat this January, becoming the first bank in Canada to do so.

Digital Onboarding - Regulatory and technical innovation have only recently advanced to the point where Tangerine can provide a completely check-less and seamless way to open an account from anywhere, on any device. The process is:

Social Media - Tangerine believes it was very early in understanding the importance of being active on social media, and the social awareness starts at the top. CEO Peter Aceto is known for working the bank's social media channels -- monitoring what's said, listening to clients, and orienting the entire organization to respond to feedback. Tangerine encourages its clients to use social media as well, seeing their feedback as a strength, not a threat.

"You don't just ordain transformation. You really have to live it, day by day, and plan for the worst, without causing disruption in your business," Cunningham said.

In nine months, Tangerine overhauled its contact center when a reasonable expectation would have been twice that long, according to IBM, its Genesys implementation partner.

Not a company to rest on its laurels, Tangerine is always working to understand and supply the experience for which customers are looking. Next up for Tangerine? Video chat is in pilot now, including a solution for facial recognition, using technology from Genesys AppFoundry partner Vidyo.

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