Apr 26, 2023
3 min read
This amusing yet thought-provoking video highlights the consequences of providing banking services online exclusively in English for customers in India who primarily speak other languages.
For many, the English-only terminology found on digital mediums can be confusing, leading to frustration and ultimately, a return to traditional banking methods.
To expand their reach and appeal to ALL customers, banks may need to reconsider their approach and adopt a more inclusive perspective.
Why Should Banks Prioritize Linguistic Diversity and Inclusivity Online?
In today’s world, when banks have evolved to be their customer’s lifestyle partners; offering banking services in multiple languages is not only a necessity but also a competitive advantage. It helps to build brand trust with customers and enhances the overall customer experience.
Moreover, promoting financial literacy in different languages can be another way to support, educate and attract prospective Indian language speakers. Many Indian language speakers do not understand financial terminologies or investment jargon and are therefore disinclined to invest their money. Providing educational resources in multiple Indian languages on digital mediums can help to demystify financial concepts and empower customers to make informed decisions.
Inclusive Banking: Examples of Services Banks Can Localize to Better Serve Non-English Speaking Customers
- Localizing banking websites and apps: India’s impressive economic growth has been largely driven by the evolution of its banking and financial sector, which is estimated to grow from USD 50 Billion in 2021 to USD 150 Billion in 2025. However, language diversity remains a significant roadblock to financial inclusivity, and effective localization of websites, apps, and all digital spaces is essential to reach non-English speaking users and foster digital financial inclusivity.
- Multilingual Customer Service – Voice & Chat Bots: Indian language bots allow non-English speaking customers to communicate in their preferred language, making the banking experience more comfortable and accessible. Providing localized digital banking support through a chatbot that services customers in the language of their preference can help banks increase market size, uncover new opportunities, gain a competitive edge, and improve cost-effectiveness while catering to a wide range of customer bases.
- e-KYC & Customer Onboarding in 22 Official Indian Languages: Being KYC compliant is critical to financial services. Customizing KYC verification processes to match the language preferences of customers can significantly impact customer loyalty and brand recognition. This is particularly true when utilizing paper-based, Aadhaar-based, digital, offline, video, and Central KYC channels. Localizing KYC verification processes to match customers’ language preferences can lead to numerous benefits for banks, such as an increased customer base, better customer retention, higher revenue, competitive edge, new opportunities, cost savings, and improved business outcomes. This approach enables banks to deliver a superior customer experience, resulting in more satisfied and loyal customers.
- Indian Language Localisation of WhatsApp for Banks: With Multilingual WhatsApp bots, banks can provide instant customer support, send notifications and alerts with a higher chance of being seen by customers, and market to a large number of users through direct messages in a language of a customer’s choice. Localizing WhatsApp bots in Indian languages benefits banks with consistency in terms of customer support and management, provides round-the-clock availability, end-to-end message encryption, and high deliverability and response rates that provide greater customer satisfaction rates among native language-speaking customers.
- Multilingual Search on Banking Platforms (Using Voice & Text): Multilingual search on a banking platform allows customers to search for a variety of information, such as account balances, transaction histories, banking products, and services, branch and ATM locations, foreign exchange rates, banking regulations and policies, help, and support resources, regardless of their language preferences. This feature enhances the customer experience by providing a personalized and localized banking experience, with increased accessibility, and improved efficiency, eventually leading to brand loyalty.
In conclusion, it is crucial that language barriers are removed in the banking sector as a prerequisite for financial inclusion. Banks can provide improved access to financial services, encourage financial literacy and enhance a more equitable society through the extension of multilingual banking services.