Thinking Out Loud

"Straight from the horse's mouth"
Oliver Bailey Co-Founder, Absurd

Why DBS' transformation is a great example of service-led design

My recent experiences in banking have been anything but simple. Which is why I’ve been following the progress of the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) with keen interest.

As somebody who deals with a number of different banks on a personal and business basis, and also having switched both business and credit accounts quite recently; I know what a painful experience it can be.

The problem is that I don’t want to think about my bank account.

"Live More. Bank Less"

I want it to be easy to setup and my money to be safe, accessible and quickly transferrable. DBS’s proposition “Live More. Bank Less” is exactly in line with how I want to deal with a bank (in that I don’t want to deal with a bank).

What is really impactful is how they’ve rolled out that value proposition. There are a lot of examples, I suggest you take a look at their platform yourself.

Some of those that stood out for me are:

  • They recently launched their Electricity Marketplace - a platform that makes it simple for customers to switch electricity providers from within their banking platform.
  • They are one of the first banks with a robotics programme; as they put it themselves, "Every day, financial organisations perform thousands of time-intensive business processes and manual tasks, which may contribute to rising operating expenses, low employee productivity, high error rates, and reduced speed-to-market.” - Not only will this create operating and cost efficiencies, but I know from personal experience that the pain points that come from dealing with banks is the time it takes for them to process information and the errors that can be made; if they can remove those pain points with robotics, then this is directly in line with their “live more” proposition.
  • Their launch of Digibank, a mobile-only proposition, in India allows customers to receive good rates of interest due to the cheaper operating costs; customer support is handled by AI and available 24/7.
  • In Singapore they have launched a free financial planning facility, where they sell no products and advise free of bias.  According to their research, 50% of customers do not plan or know how to plan, but 60% of them want to plan. Helping their customers plan now, means they don’t have to worry in the future.
  • Their platform has over 150 APIs available - they claim it is the largest open platform offered by any bank in the world.  By being able to integrate with various wallets, accounting platforms and payment methods; their platform availability becomes very easy to use and accessible for customers.

Everything they do is to affect the outcomes of the customer journey.  As a Service Design agency we advocate design thinking—taking a holistic view of a customer journey and the desired outcomes, within the context of human needs, business needs, technology and design, and designing products and services that positively affect those outcomes.

Digital customers are worth almost double that of traditional banking customers.

DBS are seeing a return on this approach. They’re quoting that digital customers (those engaging with their new service approach) are worth almost double that of traditional banking customers, with profitability three times higher, which is why this is a great example of transformation through design thinking. Development Bank of Singapore

You can learn more in the Bloomberg report from last month or in DBS’ newsroom.