Posted May 3, 2016
According to one senior global banking executive in PwC’s March Global FinTech report, “We thought we knew our customers, but fintechs really know our customers.”
We’ve all experienced how grueling interactions with large financial institutions can be. Whether it’s applying for a loan, setting up a business account or making investments, we’re often faced with lengthy hold times, a deluge of forms to complete or confusing, non-intuitive web design. But upstarts in the Financial Technology sector (fintech) are taking it upon themselves to improve this perpetually frustrating Customer Experience (CX).
But fintech innovations in customer experience don’t apply exclusively to the financial industry. In fact, many technologies, strategies and tactics fintech companies employ are changing the game for customer service and experience altogether.
To enable customer experience leaders to keep pace with evolving customer expectations, we’ve compiled some of the key ways that fintech is redefining the customer experience, and not just in the financial industry.
The focus on seamless and responsive UX
Today’s digital customer experience goes far beyond a simple website. Think of banking and applications that people are now using on both their smartphones and tablets while on the go. Square is a great example of a fintech company that has a seamless, multi-device responsive design that functions on any smartphone, tablet and now Point-of-Service (POS) device. Big banks are struggling to keep pace with this trend in terms of offering comparable UX to their customers. A recent Accenture survey found that 50% of respondents would bank with Square if they offered it, with most people’s knowledge of Square limited to simply making or receiving a payment.
People now judge a company’s credibility and trustworthiness by the quality of UX, so don’t underestimate its importance. Make sure your design is responsive and optimized for most devices and screen formats now, and keep an eye out for new technologies you may need to adjust to in the future.
Fintech firms helps customers make sense of financial data
Let’s face it. Many people have grown tired of the same old graphs and pie charts in dashboards and reports. Fintech upstarts are especially interested in overcoming this challenge to get people more engaged with their personal finances.
Take Mint.com, a fintech start-up acquired by Intuit. With colorful, interactive reports and dashboards rather than a vanilla numerical tally, people can interpret their spending habits visually. Mint.com’s dashboards were recently cited as one of the top examples of Emerging Trends in Dashboard Design by FusionCharts. Also take Concur, an expense reporting application acquired by SAP in 2014. Their real-time, interactive dashboards has brought a fresh spin to monitoring travel expenses.
No matter what industry you’re in, being able take customer data, analyze it and present it in a way that is powerful, insightful and actionable to the end user will go a long way to improving their experience.
Fintech firms are advising customers with automation first, humans second
In PwC’s Fintech report, financial executives cited “Automation of asset allocation and wealth management” as the second most important trend in the industry and the second most that they are likely to respond to in the near future. These so-called “robo-advisors” provide an initial touch point for customers, administering investment advice based on a customer’s profile and financial goals. Robo-advising applications like Robinhood operate with less fees than traditional wealth managers and are available 24/7, unlike their human counterparts. This allows robo-advisors to provide more personalized service to a greater number of people, many of whom can’t afford traditional advising.
That being said, the human touch to customer experience in most industries isn’t going anywhere. But humans are now used more as the “second line of defense” to robo-advisors. Fintech is showing that by automating up front, you can scale CX personalization without significant cost increase.
To sum it up, one of McKinsey & Co’s latest FinTech reports states that the second of Six Digital Imperatives for the financial industry in the near-term is to “create a well-designed, segmented and integrated customer experience, rather than one-size-fits-all.”
This is in large part due to fintech startups like Square, Mint and Robinhood pushing the boundaries of customer experience innovation and personalization. Customer service and CX leaders would benefit from asking themselves a few questions: Is my digital UX experience truly optimized, user-friendly and responsive? Can I present data to my customers in a more engaging, actionable format? Where can I use automation effectively in the CX value chain?
Fintech has already redefined the customer experience in the financial industry, and big banks are now playing catch-up. By taking a look at these fintech strategies, companies across all industries can avoid missing out on similar CX opportunities.