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How Kotak Mahindra is changing the conventional banking through #hashtags.

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Hashtag Banking

Hashtag Banking with Kotak

About the Company: 

Kotak Mahindra Bank is a private sector bank in India. It offers a wide range of banking and financial services for retail as well as corporate customers through a variety of channels. It was established in the year 1985 as Kotak Mahindra Finance Ltd. (KMFL) was primarily into bill discounting business. In 2003, KMFL got the banking licence from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which made KMFL to become the first non-banking finance company in India to be converted into a bank.

Business Objectives:

Kotak Mahindra Bank had the following objectives to achieve through digital marketing:

  1. They wanted to cater to the current young and dynamic generation of India.
  2. They did not wanted people to specially log on to their bank website or application for day to day banking services.
  3. They wanted to give an easy solution to its customers for banking which will also help them in saving time and cost through digitized channel.
  4. They wanted to be innovative and give a more convenient banking option to its customers.

Though the above-pointed objectives are somewhat interlinked the ultimate objective was to make highest use of the digital media platform and integrate its banking services in order to achieve more customer base and to save costs.

Strategy adopted by Kotak Mahindra:

Kotak Mahindra realized the value of going digital in the banking sector and they started working on re-defining the conventional banking rules and took help of the existing capabilities of digital marketing platform, the technology which is available, the customer insights that they had and the regulatory and the risk framework which needs to be followed. They married all these together and came up with a lot of innovative solutions for which they have won so many innovation awards and have also been recognized at the global level.

There are a lot of new initiatives taken by Kotak Mahindra Bank in order to achieve its objectives. Its’ Executive Vice President & Head – Digital Initiatives, Mr. Deepak Sharma, explains in an interview with ETCIO.com that how digital world has really transformed the conventional banking in today’s world.

They have started with Jifi and Jifi saver which is a new age digital account that offers anytime access and on-the-go transactions using #hashtags. They have a pre -defined list of hashtags which can be used to manage some of the banking services like recharging pre-paid mobile or DTH services, to know the account balance, last 3 transactions, access statement, cheque status enquiry, to locate nearest ATM/Branch, PIN regeneration, credit card information etc. There are altogether 21 different services which are being offered by Kotak Mahindra through #hashtag banking.
The only difference between the Jifi and Jifi saver is that Jifi is more of a non interest paying current account which does not require to maintain any balance and Jifi saver is a savings account which offers a 6% or 4% interest p.a. with a minimum balance requirement of INR 1,00,000 and INR 10,000 respectively.

Results achieved by Kotak Mahindra:

They have been able to cater to an emerging segment of customers who wants to do everything digitally. They have also realized that this emerging segment of customers are unconcerned with the location of the branch or ATM, and they know now that a large part of their banking can be done online through digital media platform.

Their #hashtag banking has proved that banking can be fun and they have also won accolades from various global agencies. There are 65,611 people already connected to Jifi and in another interview with Lighthouseinsights, Mr. Deepak Sharma claimed that “About 25 percent of our customers are using Twitter to bank with us, while about 50-60 percent bank using Facebook”.

They have also saved on a lot of infrastructure cost and manpower cost by reaching out to so many customers digitally. Though digital platform does require some investment but the overall investment is really less than the otherwise cost of managing the infrastructure and manpower for the bank. Kotak has relatively smaller network of branches and ATM’s and through Digital Platform they have somehow compensated that through the digital media platform. They have also saved a lot of cost as there are certain transactions which earlier used to happen through call centres, ATM’s or Branches are being migrated to digital platforms.

Mr. Deepak Sharma also adds in his interview to Lighthouseinsights, that about 10 percent of Kotak’s accounts are now opened online which increased from 6-7 percent from last year. This is a clear indication that people are more comfortable in doing online banking using this digital platform of theirs.

Learning:

Kotak Mahindra has been really innovating in changing the rules of the conventional banking. People in the past used to think that banking services are a pain and to get anything done one has to actually make the effort to go to a branch and do the formalities. With the help of digital media platform Kotak is making Banking fun for its customers by offering various banking or financial services through social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook where all the majority of the action is taking place.

This also ensures that they get a direct feedback from their customers from the social media platform which is also the biggest digital word of mouth platform and hence if everything is done in a correct manner they get a real-time appreciation of their services. This also helps them in constantly innovating their product to meet the requirements of their customers.

There is a long way to go for digital platform, with constant evolution of more and more functionalities the banking sector will also introduce more and more services which can be catered through these platforms.

Image Credits: Kotak

Sr. Manager - Revenue Management & Distribution at Citrus Hotels
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