• clareforestier

No more grovelling to the bank manager

Updated: Oct 4, 2019


Of course it was only a matter of time before the demanding customer, who wants their Amazon delivery yesterday, started to make the same demands of his bank.

Not me, I hasten to add, but then my relationship with my bank has always been totally parasitic. Where the bank manager is concerned, I turn into Uriah Heep, totally smarmy and grovel-ly. I suppose I can’t get quite past my student days when I was always terrified they’d take my overdraft away from me.

Customers can like you or leave you with a simple click or swipe of a finger

But the emerging digital innovations that the retail sector, in particular, is already embracing, are now fundamentally changing what a bank, insurer or financial institution needs to do to retain and attract customers.

Darren Collins is Global Director of Financial Services and Insurance at Kofax, the banking software provider. He says that the age of the customer is now fully impacting his industry. “Today's customers are sophisticated, connected, empowered. They expect ease of use, intuitive self-service and fast response. They want to interact on their terms. They want, from their device, from anywhere at any time. Basically fail to offer that, and they can like you or leave you with a simple click or swipe of a finger.”

Darren believes customer service is now so key, that banks have to crack this issue from day one – the ‘critical first mile’ they call it at Kofax. Darren says, “the walk -away rates, customers starting an application process and not seeing it through to completion, that's climbing significantly, and is now over 30%.”

Innovation is now creating radical disruption in the financial services sector. Global investment in financial technology companies (Fintech) tripled in the past year, with the fastest growth witnessed in Europe, according to research by CB Insights.

Fintech has innovated a raft of new technologies enabling financial institutions to meet these new demands or possibly go out of business, if they don’t. The list is long: Venmo, digital wallets like Apple Pay, smart phones that turn into document scanners, and software to automate and analyse, to name but a few.

The savvy financial institutions are embracing it. As the SVP for digital commerce at a major US bank, told a recent MeetTheBoss TV round table, “I see industries colliding on this change over payments with things like digitally centric loans and all the other new tech in the market place. Apple Pay is just the beginning. It’s all going to start with customer relations first. Everything else will follow.”

Where digital meets customer relations is the sweet spot for Richard Beaumont, former Director of Commercial Operations at the Co-operative Bank. He told a recentMeetTheBoss TV roundtable, “where I think technology really drives the customer experience is if you know who the customer is before they hit the desk. Then you can remove all the irrelevant stuff. Digital works well in combination with people, as it makes that first person-to-person a brilliant experience.”

The impact of Fintech now seems less to do with technology, and more to do with business model reinvention and customer-centric design. Lots of potential there, but to leverage the opportunities, financial institutions have to do what retail cottoned onto earlier. Rethink their operating models, strategies and processes. Just like every other vertical they have now been hit by the digital disruption creating the new customercentric world.

So as they grapple with that, it’s great news for customers like me. No more grovelling to the bank manager. If I don’t like his custom I can just take click away at the touch of the button taking my non-existent savings and serious shoe habit with me. That’ll serve him right.

#fintech #financialservices #customercentric #technology #banking

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