Redesign of digital processes to reduce effort and improve the customer experience

Introduction

In banking and finance, customer experience (CX) involves the collective experience of a customer interacting with multiple touchpoints, whether traditional in-person interactions and digital formats, including online banking systems, email, call centers, digital advertising and social media. A Gartner survey indicates that 81% of companies compete primarily or entirely on CX, making it a key competitive differentiator for financial institutions.

Being one of the most aggressive adopters of digital transformation, the challenge facing this sector is to redesign digital processes to deliver an enviable, user-friendly and easily adaptable customer experience. There is an urgent need to be more customer-centric by adapting to the customer journey and aligning the business with it. Such contextualization of services and solutions can significantly reduce effort and optimize resources. While most traditional financial service providers (FSPs) have been adept at infusing digital services and solutions, a few aspects deserve greater attention.

  1. Mobile-centric interaction – Digital banks are surpassing traditional banks as customers prefer a virtual experience anywhere through their smart mobile devices. Mobile-first relationships will become the norm as we increase technology adoption and further develop a digital culture. Financial service providers (FSPs) need to adopt a design approach aligned with the customer journey and deliver a mobile-first experience consistent with the different phases of their journey. Bank PKO, Discover Financial Services, Chase, Capital One and Bank of America are some of the best mobile apps known for their superior customer experience and mobile approach.
  2. Omnichannel experience – Although mobile-first/digital-first has become the preferred mode of operation in global banking and finance, a consumer uses multiple touchpoints, including physical branches. Touchpoints operating in silos are disincentives for successful customer experiences because they could deliver services without a holistic view of the customer journey, making it cumbersome. FSPs need to have a nuanced understanding of their customers and deliver hyper-personalized experiences. A greater focus on interactions is critical as consumers take more control and interest in their finances while leveraging technology. The integration of data from all channels and the 360-degree view of the customer journey make it possible to offer a seamless omnichannel experience with dexterity.
  3. Simple and humanized – While digitizing the banking experience to deliver the best customer experience, FSPs must ensure the simplicity of their processes and platforms. A very complicated and cryptic digital platform can scare away customers, especially seniors. Digital experiences need to be inclusive and easy to use for all generations, and not just appeal to Gen Z or Millennials. Even though most customers prefer digital for simple day-to-day transactions, many still prefer guidance and human interaction for these important financial decisions and to solve problems or inconveniences. An emotional connection laced with empathy can also provide cohesion while helping to forge stronger relationships with customers.
  4. Intuitive AI-powered interactions – In a more customer-centric banking era, the success of a financial institution depends on exceeding the often implicit expectations of customers. AI is now being widely leveraged to design intelligent virtual assistants and robo-advisors, capable of engaging more intelligently with customers. They have become ubiquitous, changing the range of banking and financial experience. Eno, Capital One’s digital assistant, uses NLP to respond to customer inquiries. It can proactively highlight abnormal spending or fraudulent activity, helping the customer better manage their finances. Royal Bank of Canada’s NOMI uses AI to analyze a customer’s spending habits and recommend a calculated budget for daily spending. Such intuitive AI-powered support can scale customer interactions and deliver a superior experience throughout their financial journey.
  5. Agility – In a dynamic and technologically aggressive business environment, where digital has become an integral way of life and where barriers to entry are also easy to overcome, the costs of acquiring and retaining customers are bound to be high . FSPs should be agile and reduce the time to market of their digital products. Flexibility and speed must be de facto, with the ability to improvise and constantly evolve, based on customer experience and feedback. Amazon is said to perform deployments every 11.6 seconds. This speed and agility has helped Amazon deliver a world-class customer experience and score high on its CX.
  6. Compliance – A digital culture with an increased omnichannel experience results in petabytes of sensitive customer information residing with FSPs. The increased use of customer data for deeper insights to deliver an improved customer experience ensures compliance with multiple regional and global laws, including other regulations. The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are among the most important. Such compliance should cover the multiple touchpoints through which customers interact and provide information. FSPs must ensure timely compliance with these ever-changing regulations and laws to ensure that non-compliance or security reasons do not affect customer interactions.

Customer orientation is at the heart of the banking and financial sector. FSPs need to focus on the customer journey and redesign processes rather than just denying inefficiencies. A state-of-the-art digital product with the best features alone can no longer be the USP providing the competitive advantage. Instead, delivering the best CX across touchpoints will drive champions in the banking and finance industry. FSPs need to deliver contextualized customer experiences that completely blur the lines between digital and analog while easing the overall banking and finance process.

(The author is MV Mahadevan, Director, Strategic Relations, Maveric Systems and the opinions expressed in this article are his own)

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