Re-imagining the digital journey: Why innovation always trumps market position

6 December 2017

To stay relevant in the current constantly changing digital world, and give your customers what they want, financial organisations need to rethink what they do in a smarter way, re-imagine the customer journey, keep up with change and be more agile, more flexible, trying and delivering new things.

Being digitally innovative means applying new technologies to solve business problems, or friction points in the customer journey, and creating better customer experiences to stay one step ahead of both competitors and customers. Customers expect an outstanding digital experience, preferably omnichannel and personalised to them, enabling them to communicate with their banks and buy products via whichever channel is most convenient to them at the time. It’s vital to optimise onboarding to provide the best possible digital experiences - this means innovating and achieving convergence between branch, call centre, online and mobile channels.

Driving better results through innovation

Focus; focus; focus on the customer experience. Understand what people want and give it to them – otherwise they’ll get it from somewhere else that makes it more convenient (like a car dealer or a mortgage broker) Regulatory, compliance, and security requirements are key, so it’s understandable that a focus on the experience of actual customers tends to get blurry.

A great customer experience starts by looking at it from the customers’ perspective. That means understanding how your customers would want to experience the journey, and then providing the features that make it possible.

Today’s digital journey

Today’s digital customer journey is seamless, quick and easy, personalised and accessible from any device. It’s more convenient and user friendly with cross sell capability — applying for additional credit, for example, in the same journey.

The journey is more agile, giving customers the ability to start the application in one channel and continue in another without losing their information for example. If you operate banks in multiple countries, you can provide a consistent, integrated customer journey experience across all of them.

Blending digital journey elements together helps businesses create greater customer experiences

The digital journey experience needs to be as easy as possible, transparent and consistent for customers, wherever they do business. Consumers don’t have time to fill out time-consuming and complicated applications, and then wait days — or even weeks — to open a new account, or to repeatedly enter the same information into separate applications to obtain multiple products.

When considering creation of digital customer onboarding and acquisition systems, it is easy to overlook the complexity of the whole process. Often the focus begins with web forms, and only later expands to cover the entire transaction, interaction across channels, integrations with 3rd parties and the range of functions required for a successful customer experience.

A simplified brand consistent user journey based on customer and business needs, in front of the hidden services, such as, identity validation, should be created, tying them all together to make the process easier for the customer.

Fintech’s needed to innovate?

Using Australia as an example, the banking landscape has historically been dominated by a few large banks with Australia’s Big Four owning 80% of the market. But in Australia, banks were quick to realise that fintech was only a threat if they did nothing. Instead, the relationship between banks and tech companies is uniquely collaborative as banks have poured investment capital into FinTech organizations and invited start-ups to develop products in controlled in-house labs and accelerator programs. Australian banks realise that their large institutions are not capable of the quick innovation that smaller, more nimble organisations can produce, and thus have embraced the opportunities that these companies provide. Today Australian banks, both the dominant Big Four and smaller institutions as well, are recognised and emulated as the most advanced adopters of fintech worldwide. 

Innovation always trumps market position

History provides us innumerable examples of companies that experienced tremendous leadership positions, only to cede their market position after complacency blinded them to internal and external threats. Amazon has left a battered wasteland of empty shops across the globe, and is coming for grocery stores next. Is it because Amazon sells a completely new product? Not really— Amazon provides essentially the same goods and services that traditional retail stores do, but in a way, that is faster and more convenient for customers. It is not offering different products nor cutting fees that will stem customer attrition, it is finding different ways to innovate and improve the customer journey.

The fintech opportunity

FinTech does not need to be viewed as a threat. In fact, fintech is split between two main types of companies — disruptors and enablers. Banks around the world that embraced fintech have been rewarded with higher customer loyalty, increased cross-sell opportunities, reduced cost to serve, and are better positioned to meet the evolving needs of younger generations who are quickly becoming banks’ primary customer base. The World Economic Forum predicts in their 2017 Beyond FinTech report that “efforts by incumbent financial institutions to emulate the core capabilities of large technology firms will lead to an increasing reliance on those same large technology firms.” What decision will banks make? Struggle to innovate and compete with their own internal resources, or embrace the FinTech revolution?

Partnerships for innovation

The fundamental key to building better customer experiences is by embracing platformification — the idea the financial organisations should be a “hub” that integrate with a wide variety of applications and services that meet the needs of their customer’s.

Working with application partners, Avoka makes it faster and simpler for banks to acquire customers over digital channels. We provide the technology platform and customer experience expertise which helps financial organisations to move forward with their digital initiatives, supporting them in their quest for improved innovation, and enabling them to achieve their digital transformation targets. Customer acquisition and onboarding are accelerated, and customers achieve increased acquisition rates and revenue through:

Faster time to-market to deliver digital initiatives, taking months and not years, reducing the burden on IT and the business, and gaining the agility to make continuous improvements. 

Delivering an outstanding customer experience across digital and traditional channels, reducing abandonment, shortening onboarding cycles and increasing customer satisfaction.

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