The financial services industry has always had to embrace new digital technologies and platforms in order to remain competitive. This has centred on its ability to collect and deliver insights to support decision making. As consumers, however, we don’t particularly care about the back office technology. We look for an experience that will simply give us what we need, when we need it, and on the platforms we use.
The use of new technology has transformed the ways in which workflow and processes happen in financial institutions, but multiple successive generations of technological innovation turned their attention to managing the cost and complexity of legacy systems, instead of delivering based on user needs.
Even with new, shiny looking technology, the industry’s tendency to use middleware software to make older systems communicate with newer systems negatively affects the uptake of new, customer-centric applications, creating a possible loss of revenue and customers if time-to-market is slowed down. This restricts the flexibility of a system, resulting in a greater cost model to support and critically ensure regulatory compliance.
A Shifting Landscape
The rise of mobile – Mobile technology has changed the way in which people interact with their financial services provider, with consumers turning to their numerous devices to access and manage their accounts. This drop in in-branch footfall requires banks to change their delivery of customer services, and look to modernise and mobilise their applications, whilst transforming the in-branch experience for high street banks.
Disruptive competition—A new breed of competitor, digital-first, mobile-only banks are starting to challenge the more established brands in the field. New players, such as U.K.-based Monzo, are finding new ways to deliver almost every type of financial service. However, while start-ups have lower support costs, many of them lack the reputation to win the trust of many traditional customers. Also, targeting the younger generation comes with its own challenges, as they are more prone to moving their money based upon incentives and experience.
Managing risk—It’s not just the younger customers that are driving change. A large number of fixed deposits and investments have grown over time with their holders, and are maturing simultaneously. This means banks have a bigger challenge to limit the risk of potential liquidity challenges. A more comprehensive view of potential liabilities and account maturity dates in real time could help alleviate any negative customer experience that may arise from this issue.
The Future of Customer Experience in Financial Services
Digital challengers are looking to differentiate through personalisation and customer experience. The norm now is being able to manage our money wherever and however we please, a trend underpinned by the continued cultural shift toward customer centricity. This is akin to an omnichannel experience, whereby the customer experience is unified across online, mobile, and in-branch. For example, customers could initiate their cash transaction on their mobile device and then complete it when they arrive at the bank using the near field capabilities (NFC) feature on their device. Retail banks in particular need to ensure they have the right mobile platforms to support these changes and differentiate them from their competitors.
This will have an impact on employees as well as customers. For example, in-store bank teller staff can become more mobile by using a “digital workspace” accessed on tablets. This enables them to work on the branch floor rather than stuck behind the counter. For customers, a mobile check-in app where you can input the service or transaction you’re waiting for, gives the staff more information and therefore could improve waiting times at the branch.
Identity management initiatives are thriving in the financial services industry, not just to enhance and maintain customer trust, but also to manage the security of transactions made. Single sign on (SSO) platforms and digital authentication support the end user, and remove the difficulty of remembering multiple passwords and having to constantly change them. However, identity management providers have the challenge of ensuring employees in different roles move through the organisation securely, whilst giving them access to the correct internal applications for their roles.
Mobile innovation provides a huge opportunity in the banking and financial services sector. One of the biggest drivers of this transformation is keeping up with the demand from consumers and ensuring the service provided meets their expectations. From omnichannel operations to bitcoin currency, digital innovation can effect positive change in a business, provided the right mobile and digital platforms are put into place.