Personal versus digital – is there a versus?

27-01-17 13:58 | Digital banking | The Digital Hub

In an increasingly digitalised world, in which the word “digitalisation” is used practically everywhere, it’s easy to get caught up in it all. Will everything be digital – will we stop being personal? Can we still be personal in a digital environment?

At Nordea, we are focusing on both – and at the same time. We understand what’s happening around us, and the changing demands imposed on us by customers. We are continuing with the personal approach, while at the same time developing a great deal in the digital environment. This is so that customers can get the absolute best out of both elements, at the same time. Because, it’s not a case of being either or – but both. Such is the world; both digital and personal at the same time. Technology even makes being more personal easier.

It is no longer a case of a technological revolution – that’s already happened (and is in full swing). Now, it’s more about how people can and want to adapt to the new normal. This requires a lot from people who work for a bank, and a great deal from customers. One thing that customers are quick to adapt to are digital meetings with us. A growing number of traditional industries are now realising the benefits of being able to meet experts anywhere and anytime – doctors, youth clinics, brokers, etc.

Driving developments in an industry is a bold decision. People are often afraid of new phenomena, and sometimes even laugh at them. It can appear intimidating, so fighting it off might feel easier than testing it out. We have to test it out because it’s relevant now, tomorrow and in a few years’ time. 

We are now building up an even more available business in which you can meet your advisor anytime, anywhere, so that we can also ensure that you meet an expert for your specific needs. Young people have a certain need for services and want to talk to somebody of the same age who understands them. Business owners and operators want to talk to an expert in banking for business, and high net worth individuals have other needs. These concepts are not bound to a physical location – advisors with specialist expertise can be anywhere in Sweden and meet customers through a personal e-meeting. Thanks to technological progress, a customer can live in a small town and have an advisor perfectly suited to the topic in question, who is physically located somewhere else.

While digital and personal approaches do not conflict, we have to be honest in that getting them to go hand in hand is challenging. Developing digital processes and creating smooth transactions and flows for customers does not mean the personal element is less important. The bank we are developing and building up now is of a different sort to the one we are used to – a bank that is not as strongly tied to physical locations. The trick is of course to remain personal; it’s for this reason that we are still present in many locations, meeting with people who do not want to switch to the new way of meeting us. It's your choice. We know that we’re not there yet, but that we will get there. For us, there is no “versus” in personal versus digital – both are important. 

/ Kristina Frid, Head of Branch Region West at Nordea in Sweden.

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