An Interview with Phoebe Wong


FST Media: What are your plans for the next 12 to 18 months?

Wong: The financial services industry is undergoing unprecedented changes with mobile, social and digital transformation. To integrate their developments into strategy is a balancing act. The business value has to be obtained together with customer value.

For the next 12 to 18 months, we will stay focused on deploying selective digital solutions that will enhance the customer experience with reasonable return on investment for the bank.

FST Media: What technology or innovation is proving to be the single biggest game changer for the banking industry?

Wong: As a business driver, technology is just an enabler. The biggest game changer is not the technology itself but the mentality and attitude of the people deploying it.

There will always be new innovation in the market. Ultimately, whether customers adopt these depends on whether there is real value and benefit. I am not disputing that mobile technology enables speedy and convenient service delivery that would create delightful customer experience. The key to deployment success is to deliver real value to the customers.

FST Media: How does Dah Sing Bank and Visa’s ‘Pay@Mobile’ service deliver value to the business and how will you measure its success?

Wong: ‘Pay@Mobile’ provides merchants with a convenient, simple and cost-efficient solution to accept credit card payment using a dongle and a mobile app. It is especially suitable for small-to-medium sized enterprises, mobile businesses or exhibitions.

FST Media: How does Dah Sing Bank’s partnership with Octopus Cards deliver innovative, integrated services to customers, and how will you expand on this success?

Wong: Dah Sing Bank has a long-held partnership with Octopus Cards and we have jointly launched many innovative products and services to customers with real value.

We were the first bank in Hong Kong to launch the credit card ‘Octopus Auto Add Value Service’ which provides customers with unparalleled convenience. We also launched the first cash card with Octopus function which offers customers a card with standby cash and payment convenience.

FST Media: What is Dah Sing Bank’s mobile payments strategy? How will the bank adapt to emerging NFC platforms?

Wong: Smartphone penetration is high in Hong Kong. Customers are looking for speedy, convenient and simple banking solution via mobile, with functions and offers that fit their lifestyle and needs. In the mobile payment arena, smart ways to pay and to be paid are equally important. Other than ‘Pay@Mobile’ which offers a smart way to be paid, Dah Sing Bank will also launch its mobile wallet so customers can make credit card payment using their mobile phone. We also focus on providing mobile banking solutions to customers with real value and benefits. The newly launched ‘ONE+’ credit card is a good example to demonstrate our commitment to offer a real-value mobile credit card solution for customers with an app, embedded with a series of exciting merchant offers via mobile and an attractive loyalty reward program.

FST Media: How do you encourage a culture of innovation in your team?

Wong: I always encourage colleagues to think out-of-the-box and think from the customers’ perspective. Identifying how our products and services can be enhanced to better suit customers’ evolving needs is crucial. I also encourage the team to observe closely for what is new in the market.

Employee engagement is a key to our success.

FST Media: What information sources do you consider invaluable for your job, and why?

Wong: Market information in terms of customers’ evolving needs and lifestyle, technology, potential risks, market environment, channels, and processes is all important information. In this dynamic market, the more intelligence we have, the better understanding on the market we have, helping us make better decision on our products and services.

FST Media: What skills do you think aspiring technology chiefs should invest in now for future success?

Wong: Innovation is only meaningful to customers if it induces real value and benefits.

Aspiring technology chiefs should invest their time in understanding customers’ needs, exploring the latest technology solutions and deploying for real value and benefits.

FST Media: With respect to career development, what is the best advice you ever received?

Wong: Always focus on beating your past successful business model with a new one. If you do not, others will. There is no room for complacency in this fast changing world.

This interview first appeared in FST Media’s annual magazine The Who’s Who of Financial Services Asia Pacific, which launched at the Technology & Innovation – the Future of Banking & Financial Services conference in Melbourne on 4th June, 2014.