Banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other financial institutions in general have been leaders in embracing technology for core and back-office applications but have generally underperformed when it comes to retail banking and customer-facing applications. Things, however, are changing quickly. With the emergence of fintech, the massive adoption of smartphones, bank and insurance branches and offices are in the process of being transformed to meet the needs of today’s connected clients, prospects and employees. The savviest banks are improving the omni-channel financial services experience by balancing investments in modern physical footprint and digital capabilities, while ensuring the end-to-end system remains secure and private.
Today, banks and other financial institutions are starting to embrace the use of Wi-Fi both to engage with their prospects and customers as well as to help empower their staff and enable the digital branch. Note that in this blog, we use the terms banks and financial institutions interchangeably.
Specificities of the Financial Sector
Due to the sensitive nature of their business, financial institutions tend to be more conservative and cautious when introducing technologies into their environment and Wi-Fi is no exception. The specificities of the financial sector include:
- The security of the data being exchanged is of utmost importance which requires the highest level of encryption, typically implies segregation of internal and customer-facing networks as well as DNS-layer protection.
- Quality of service expectations are amongst the most demanding, calling for certain capabilities such as bandwidth and content filtering rules, and network redundancy.
- Banks tend to have both a large network of branches, as well as dense headquarters requiring flexible yet secure network topologies and efficient service capabilities on these large footprints.
- Banks demand very distinct levels of network access between the various stakeholders requiring tiered access for:
- Visitors / Guests / Prospects
- Partners / Consultants
- Employees: corporate access / with access to private SSID, and/or personal devices
- IoT devices, scanners, printers, digital displays, etc.
- Banks require a distinctly phased approach when it comes to implementing new technologies from lab, to pilot, to large-scale deployment and large-scale maintenance cycles (e.g. firmware upgrades). In such instances, a trusted MSP will be the perfect partner to provide you with a best of breed Wi-Fi solution and a first-class level of support and maintenance at all times.
Towards the Digital Branch
While there are many technologies involved in the digitalization of a branch, Wi-Fi plays a key enablement role as a backbone of digital technologies, and provides a series of benefits for visitors, clients and employees.
Benefits of Guest Wi-Fi for Clients, Visitors and Guests
- Better Experience in the Branch: With guest Wi-Fi, clients are encouraged to use their mobile devices, the branch’s tablets or kiosks to access important financial information, apply for new services and complete transactions so they can make the best use of their wait time. The introduction of new technology can include digital signage, kiosks, videos, sensors and location-based services.
- More Personalized Service: Banks and insurance branches can collect information about their customer’s journey in their location to provide a more personalized service and follow them throughout their visit. Financial institutions can send out targeted offers and surveys as their clients enter or leave the branch. They can also capitalize on their presence in the branch to inform them of its digital services.
Benefits of a Managed Private Wi-Fi for Both Bank Employees and Management
- Highest Security: When deploying and maintaining a wireless network, it’s critical for banks to ensure their networks adopt the best wireless practices including the latest security signatures, protocols and infrastructure. Outsourcing the deployment and management of their Wi-Fi ensures the network is always up and running, and continuously monitored against potential threats.
- Improved Branch Operations: Financial institutions are rethinking the role of the branch as a place to deliver high value interactions, specialized products & services, and expert advice. Banks can further choose to arm their employees with tablets or mobile devices, so they can better serve each customer with personalized info at their fingertips provided through the Wi-Fi network.
- Deeper Customer Knowledge: Banking and insurance both have customer demographics spanning all ages, genders, and consumer profiles. End user analytics help find commonalities among customers — such as preferred services and/or the days and times when they are most likely to stop in. That information can be fed into marketing, loyalty and operational applications for immediate or future action.
- Promote New Products and Services: Installing enterprise-grade Wi-Fi provides the financial institutions with promotional and marketing capabilities that aren’t available through traditional marketing mediums. Using a branded splash page, the bank can raise awareness of new products and services like credit card offers, mortgages or auto loans, retirement planning, investment and business banking, or provide educational product content to guests.
- Outsourcing Wi-Fi Infrastructure Management: It makes sense for large distributed enterprises such as banks or insurance companies to outsource the management of Wi-Fi across all their branches and offices to a provider operating at scale. This ensures the network is centrally managed and performing as required with zero involvement from the IT or branch staff. The MSP will also ensure the deployment and management of the network complies with the very stringent rules and processes of the institution.
As financial services providers reinvent their branches, modernize their office environments, and strive to deliver an omni-channel client experience, a reliable, protected, and high-performance Wi-Fi solution is essential to seamlessly and securely connect customers, prospects, employees, sensors and IoT devices.