“An Idea whose time has come!”   6 comments

I had just witnessed Germany’s ruthless public humiliation of Brazil in their own backyard. The next day, when I was in the middle of conjuring up replies against anticipated barb wire tweets and Schadenfreude comments; I heard a faint voice from the kitchen. My mother had given me a timely reminder to pay the fee for an exam.

Once I made myself presentable, I reluctantly stepped into the street to pave a visit to the nearby Brick and Mortar bank: A real No Go Zone for me. Since all my previous visits to banks had eaten my time, I took every step wondering what’s in store for me this time.

If you are watchful enough, you can easily spot some unmistakable signs about Indian banks no matter which part of India it is. Part of the façade of the building would be an ATM counter which if you would observe closely would have a dust bin at one corner overflowing with crushed receipts born out of numerous withdrawals. You would either have doubts regarding the real purpose served by the counter or marvel at the dual usage of the counter!

Facing the entrance or nearby would be a modicum of space aspiring to be a parking lot. It would have two sorts of people: the ones trying to get their vehicles out of the lot and the ones competing to occupy that space to do away with their vehicles momentarily. Braving the parking riddle if you step inside, the first sign which welcomes you would be a board bearing this gem of a quote by the Mahatma himself:

The All Important Person!

The All Important Person!

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

You see the irony don’t you? They abide by this golden rule proposed by Bapu only in violation!!

Every step which you make afterwards would familiarize you with the generosity of the bank, their tall claims, the impeccable service and the reasons why you should bank with them. The colorful posters plastered on the walls would scream the details at you no matter whichever side you turn. Information on Loans, Discounts, Offers and Services in all size and shape would parade across your eyes.

If you are valiant enough you would not bite the bait and march ahead curbing your temptations. Nevertheless, you would really need to send a search party to find the Citizen’s Charter or details on Grievance redressal. They would invariably be away from our eye line stuck somewhere in an obscure corner.

Walk in anytime and you can spot the Usual Suspects!

Walk in anytime and you can spot the Usual Suspects!

Banks breed inside them a microcosm of India. People from all walks of life could be witnessed no matter what time you step in. But there are some usual suspects. Amidst the hullabaloo you can easily spot these stereotypes no matter how many times you visit a nearby brick and mortar bank.

(i) The Guy who cannot remember the date and asks you (ii) The person who never brings his pen and lends it from others (iii) The little kid who thinks the bank is his play ground and runs amok (iv) The lone mother who runs after the kid to reprimand him (v) Anyone who asks your assistance to fill up a form (vi) A teen who texts incessantly and forgets to respond to the automated voice (vii) The fault finder who blames everything and everyone crossing his path (viii) A senior pro waiting desperately for his token no. to arrive (ix) And finally a guy who looks all at sea wondering whom to approach since every counter is full and everybody is engaged !

By the time I got hold of the challan and filled up the particulars, tokens had already crossed the 70s. Standing by a corner, I watched the numbers change on the tiny screen. When my token was just two numbers away from the counter, the man who ran it shut his shop inexplicably and took a break! The men ahead of me were aghast and registered their protests by questioning him piercingly.

This was the classic case of an immovable object meeting an unstoppable force: Both the camps were uncompromising. Show some respect was the refrain of the customers but they were ordered to stop breathing down the employee’s neck by his colleagues. When both parties were exhausted curtains were down on the shouting-match and normalcy returned. When I finally made the payment, it dawned upon me that I had already spent around 40 minutes for this single transaction!

When I walked back, I could see people who were there before me still waiting inside, impatiently, for various reasons. On my way home, I put on my thinking cap for a moment. Banks in India has done a tremendous job by serving the socio – economic objectives of the nation but the current model, based on Universal Banking, has reached its limits.

Obviously appalled at the time consuming affair, I was wondering if there ever will come a time when the banks in India will mainstream online banking. Because Banks have to transform themselves in accordance with the exigencies of time! As if on cue my cell phone beeped and I received an invite from one of my friends.

I felt as if someone answered my questions instantly. Upon reading the content, I realized that Kotak Mahindra has already blazed a trail by launching the world’s first SOCIALLY POWERED bank account. Considering that we are living in an age of instant gratification, whoever has christened KOTAK MAHINDRA’s new venture as “jifi” has hit the bull’s eye because we love to get things done in a jiffy!!

Blazing a trail! The World's first Socially Powered Bank Account is here !

Blazing a trail! The World’s first Socially Powered Bank Account is here !

One of the most visible aspects of our lives is that we have grown less accustomed to waiting and want to get things done here and now! Driving this phenomenon into epidemic magnitudes and making us dance to its tunes is the SOCIAL NETWORKING juggernaut. But the unsung heroes behind the huge success of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogster, Bebo and Linkedin et al. are: “We The People”.

Social Networking has heavily influenced our perspectives, our desires, the way we interact, share, communicate, and even play! It has brought us all together and closer to each other; à la Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam!Kotak Mahindra has understood the importance of combining Technology, Social networking and Banking and has conceived their brain child: “Kotak Mahindra jifi” and provided a novel way to bank through Social Banking!

First it was External Affairs ministry; the Planning Commission and a couple of others followed suit and now even the P.M.O. is their: on Twitter and Facebook to ease governance! As all the major industrial sectors around the world take to social networking  like moths to flame, it was a given that Banking sector too would join the bandwagon sooner or later. Kotak Mahindra deserves a pat on their back for testing the waters. After all, the best way to predict the future is to invent it! One can only imagine the resulting synergy when the two unite!

 

Empowering the people!

Creating a kind of Shared Awareness through SELFIES, TWEETS, POSTS and VIRAL VIDEOS!!

Since Social network is conducive to innovations and makes them look interesting, we take to them like fish to water because we feel it is CONVENIENT. And it is not rude for us to expect things in the real world to be as convenient as in the virtual world of social networks. Banking in the real world is tedious and inconvenient. It ranges from leaving the comforts of your home and braving the traffic to visit the nearest bank branch. Adding fuel to the fire is the endless queues and procedural difficulties which can be frustrating! Both the parties stand to lose.

It is not a surprise that Kotak Mahindra jifi offers a near fool proof solution to the glitches in the real world of banking by harnessing the power of Social Networking. The proof of the pudding is given below.

Smart Phones and apps are a match made in heaven and it is no secret that apps make life easier in the real world. Banking in real world could only let customers complete some transactions by consuming more time. The Kotak Mobile apps let you do the same but without killing your time. It lets you manage your account, make transactions and lets you pay your bills instantly. Customers can overview their account at their own will anywhere and anytime without breaking a sweat. All you need to do is just download the app and you can hit the ground running! The Kotak Mobile apps have the potential to put the Pass book to death bed!

The Kotak Mobile Apps lets you do more in less time!

The Kotak Mobile Apps lets you do more in less time!

The customized updates on discounts and info about offers through the Kotak Mobile apps are heaven sent because you no longer need to wake up from your evening siestas to attend a worthless promotional call from your bank offering you the wrong product at the wrong time!

We are living in the age of price rise where the prices for everything are heading north and our savings are heading south. The ubiquitous malls help nurture impulsive and compulsive shopper within us. Our senses are manipulated into spending and the aftereffect makes you feel guilty. The sins in your real world can be cleansed with able aid from the virtual world.

Kotak Money Watch: So that Money doesn't burn a hole in your pocket!

Kotak Money Watch: So that Money doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket!

The Kotak Money Watch is a one stop shop that will help you give a bird’s eye view of your personal finance. Armed with multitude of innovative features such as reports on your spending patterns, Profit and loss and adding multiple bills it lets you view and analyse your finances, and lets you connect with your online accounts. The Kotak Money Watch which can be accessed even through your mobile phones round the clock calculates your Income Tax automatically. Now, that’s what you call seamless integration!! Don’t you ever harbour second thoughts about the confidentiality of the data involved because all the above will materialize in an encrypted environment.

Kotak Mahindra jifi brings twitter to the fore!

Kotak Mahindra jifi brings Twitter to the fore!

The days of dialling customer care and waiting in the queue to speak to the representative are all set to be passé. Kotak Mahindra jifi brings “Larry the bird” into the thick of things. Instant updates, transaction history, net banking pins and cheque book requests et al are just a tweet away now! The Personalised Twitter Handle enables you to quickly forward your requests and get instant response from the bank!

As I learnt more and more about the features on offer, I was really getting excited! But what got me hooked was “the Refer a friend feature” which could see Kotak Mahindra jifi win the hearts and minds of the new generation. Till this point in time, I have never enthusiastically referred any of my friends to others since I derived no benefits out of it. Kotak Mahindra jifi has given me a valid reason to do that with enthusiasm now! I just need to rub off the jifi magic on my friends and relatives on Facebook and the rest will take care of itself.

Kotak Mahindra jifi's "Refer A Friend feature will bring in more youth to the camp!

Kotak Mahindra jifi’s “Refer A Friend feature will bring in more youth to its camp!

The Smart phones are already having an overwhelming impact on the Retail Banking scenario. Youth is gung-ho about the new way to shop and points for online transactions could see them do it more often. For the mall rats that prefer to touch, feel and smell things before they buy there is good news for them as well: “The Jifi Platinum Debit Card”, which is chip based, comes with high withdrawal limits at A.T.M. and added security at Point of Sale terminals.

The Real World banks are rigid in the sense that they are predictable. I was pleasantly surprised when I couldn’t spot a standard old school banking feature in the Kotak Mahindra jifi. The Minimum Balance feature was conspicuous by its absence. The trouble of tracking and maintaining monthly balances can be forgotten now. It helps reduce the complexity immensely. In the same breath Kotak Mahindra jifi tempts you to save since high interest rates are on offer on spare cash beyond 25,000 rupees which automatically turns into term deposits. It’s not like the take it or leave it approach; you can make your CHOICE!

A choice to stay balance free or to earn interest on your spare casth!

Kotak Mahindra jifi gives you a choice to stay Balance free or to earn interest on your spare cash!

The old world banking was sort of one way traffic with the Banks doing more than half the talking. With Social Banking around, the terrain transforms like never before. With Social Banking around Banks can do much more than their core functions now adding more value to the relationship. They can offer more custom made services which requires the Banks to keep customer’s preferences always at the back of their mind. This will help the Banking sector get rid of the rigidity which stymied them.

This will greatly help bring back the TRUST FACTOR into the equation. Alongside trust comes loyalty which could see the Bank becoming customer’s first choice. But the hardest part is retaining loyal customers. The Loyalty Club which is one of the features of Kotak Mahindra jifi does just that! I pinched myself to make sure whether I was still in one of my wild dreams when I learnt that every time you hit the like button or comment on Facebook I could earn points!! Moreover, these points are transferable too! That’s awesomatically cool!!

The Loyalty Club feature would help sustain the enthusiasm!

The Loyalty Club feature would help sustain the enthusiasm!

For a country like India which has a burgeoning population which is overwhelmingly youthful, Smart Phones, Internet connection and social networking will always be on the list of essential things which they can’t live without. The Budgets 2014 – 2015 speaks about building 100 smart cities and bringing Bullet trains to India. As infrastructure develops, internet penetration too will start spreading like wildfire bridging the digital divide in India by enabling affordable broadband connectivity and affordable smart phones! Social Banking could just be answer India has been searching for!

India is all set to grow !

India is the place to be in the 21st century! By 2020 we will be the youngest nation in the world driven by young minds!

 

The Omen’s are overwhelmingly in favor of Kotak Mahindra jifi. As India grows and smart cities develop, jifi can add more innovative services and serve more Indian cities in future. The Kotak Mahindra Jifi is here to stay! It has style as well as substance!

I reached home in a relaxed frame of Mind because I realized that the day is not far away when you can afford to forget the date, forget your pen or can text incessantly or talk loudly but still can complete a transaction in no time! I took to twitter to spread the message about the new kid on the block and the idea it brings along:

“The Idea of Social Banking powered by “Kotak Mahindra jifi” . It’s here to stay!

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This blog post is my entry for the contest “Explore Kotak Mahindra jifi: The World’s first socially powered bank account” conducted by IndiBlogger in association with Kotak Mahindra. For more details please visit: http://www.kotakjifi.com

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Image Courtesy: Kotak Mahindra jifi website (http://www.kotakjifi.com) and the Internet.

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Posted July 24, 2014 by Aneesh in INDIA, The Motley Crew

Tagged with , , , ,

6 responses to ““An Idea whose time has come!”

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  1. The initial comparison to present day banking was super duper 😉 .. Neatly written.. All the best to you too 🙂
    Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    Like

  2. Congratulations on winning 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well articulated post. Congrats for winning the contest.

    Like

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