Future Digital Finance West 2017

December 04-December 05, 2017

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How RBC Is Using Video and Digital Advisory Tools to Bring Back Face-to-Face Interactions


Like in so many industries, digital transformation is totally changing the banking game. As customers increasingly rely on their personal electronic devices to handle their banking needs remotely, they are, naturally, relying less and less on the traditional brick-and-mortar branch. Of course, much 21st-century convenience has been engendered through the various digital solutions that financial institutions are making available to their customers. The downside, however, is the inevitable deterioration of personal relationships that customers have historically forged with their banks, due to the fact that face-to-face customer interactions have, in some cases, all but disappeared.

Of course, much 21st-century convenience has been engendered through the various digital solutions that financial institutions are making available to their customers. The downside, however, is the inevitable deterioration of personal relationships that customers have historically forged with their banks, due to the fact that face-to-face customer interactions have, in some cases, all but disappeared.

But the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is working on a number of initiatives to remedy this issue. The largest bank – and indeed the largest company – in Canada, with 80,000 employees working in 40 countries and serving some 16 million customers worldwide, RBC has always been an advocate of digital banking. They were the first bank in Canada to use voice authentication and offer a digital wallet. Now RBC is turning to another digital channel, video banking, to help nurture its key relationships with its many small business customers, and bring back some of those all-important face-to-face interactions—albeit that they occur online as opposed to in the flesh.

Building Face-to-Face Long-term Relationships – Online

RBC has partnered with Vidyo, a market leader in integrated video collaboration for businesses, to make this happen. The move makes RBC the first bank in Canada to offer immersive, remote video chat to small business customers across North America – for free. Customers can now converse face-to-face with their banker from anywhere on practically any device – be it a smartphone, tablet, Chromebook, or desktop computer.

Cathy Honor, Senior Vice President of Contact Centers at RBC, says that video banking is becoming increasingly important for today’s digital-savvy, millennial, small business customer.

“We are proud to be the first in our market to offer high-quality video chat for our small business clients,” explains Honor in a press release. “We understand that our customers want to build and maintain a personal, face-to-face long-term relationship with their banker based on trust, especially as they approach important financial decisions that can affect their business both in the short-term and in the future. For video conferencing to make sense for us, the solution needs to perform consistently, regardless of where our mobile customers are.”

Consistency, indeed, is where Vidyo shines. Quality is critical in order for a video banking service to be a success. Any freezing, lags, dropped calls, or resolution issues will simply not meet the demands of the modern customer. But Vidyo’s technology – already a firm favorite in telemedicine and even the US Department of Defense – is designed to ensure high-quality, clear, immersive video communications over even the lowest of bandwidth connections, making it precisely the solution that banks like RBC have been looking for.

Small business owners, of course, must use their time wisely – they need to be agile, nimble, mobile, and have the ability to complete tasks wherever they are and on-the-go. And this is precisely the appeal of the high-quality, reliable videoconferencing that RBC has enabled for its customers. Now, the traditional, in-person, local branch experience can be had from anywhere – at the office, on the road, in the coffee house, at home – as customers converse visually with their personal banking advisor at any time and on any device.

A Digitally-enabled Relationship Bank

One advisory service in particular that integrates live videoconferencing for RBC’s mutual funds clients comes in the form of a new tool called MyAdvisor. A product of RBC’s Toronto-based innovation lab, MyAdvisor connects clients to advisors online or on mobile, where both can view and adjust a dynamic “dashboard” displaying the client’s savings and investment goals, while a live video feed connects the two face-to-face – all in real-time.

“We wanted to launch a perfect marriage between a human and what digital can provide,” says Michael Walker, Head of Mutual Funds Distribution and RBC Financial Planning. “The tool automatically creates the dashboard, with the interactive toolkit, and video chat capabilities. But we found that our clients really want and appreciate the relationship and advice from specialists.”

(Image source: rbc.com)

MyAdvisor, a free tool, was piloted in March this year with four wealth management specialists available to assist 500 customers in Canada – RBC expects to pull in some 8,000 advisors for the rollout of the service by the end of 2017. While the aim is to add further automation to the tool in the future, Walker says that the human element will remain key, as it is already to RBC’s wealth management operation.

“This is proving to be a very powerful financial advice experience for our clients, as they manage their financial goals using our digital capabilities and our advisors’ expertise,” says Walker. “MyAdvisor demonstrates what being a digitally-enabled relationship bank is all about, combining the convenience of digital access and the personalized advice of our advisors.”

A Better Way to Communicate

High-quality, reliable, video banking services are an exceptional addition to RBC’s tailored approach to servicing its customers – and they’re garnering a positive response. According to Honor, the 24/7 access to advice and services is strengthening customer relationships and reducing call times at the RBC Contact Center. While still in the early stages of rollout, RBC plans to expand video banking into other areas, bringing that all-important human touch back to even more of its customers – a much needed relief, perhaps, in the age of digital transformation. Indeed, combined with RBC’s stature and reputation as a leading bank in Canada, the high-quality, secure, and dependable videoconferencing platform that Vidyo provides make it highly likely that other regional banks will soon follow in RBC’s footsteps.

The last word goes to Eran Westman, CEO of Vidyo. “Now is the time to better connect the world by video-enabling any application on virtually any device, with visually-stunning video chat becoming the most sustainable, most inclusive and most productive way to communicate. We are proud to help the Royal Bank of Canada, who is leading the pack in their industry, make life easier for their small business customers through beautiful, lifelike video chat that simply gets results.”

Hear RBC’s Elfreda Pitt Hetherington, Sr. Director, Applied Innovation & Development, Technology & Operations, at Future Digital Finance West 2017 this December.

Download the Future Digital Finance West 2017 Agenda to learn more.