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5 ways mid-market financial service firms can deliver enhanced customer experiences

For those of us who have a bit of experience (we’re not calling anyone old), we know what it’s like to visit a bank branch or financial service office to talk with someone about wealth management, or financial planning.

But for some younger generations, chances are they’ve never set foot in a financial service office if they can get their needs met via their phone.

Go ahead: Ask anyone under the age of 25 if they know what a home branch is, or where theirs is located. We’ll wait.

Legacy customer service experiences such as talking to a teller, ordering cheque books, or dropping by a branch to get a physical bank draft have become antiquated processes that belong in an analog past. 

We now live in a world where customers want an integrated, on-demand, real-time, automated digital customer experience when managing their money. 

While the big banks are investing heavily in changing to adapt to new digital expectations, many mid-market financial service companies and wealth managers are still way behind.

They’re not as agile or adaptable as smaller fintech companies that offer up digitally-native customer engagement options, without the overhead cost of legacy infrastructure. 

On the flip side, they also lack the massive financial resources of big banks who can acquire fintech startups or invest in their own expansive digital infrastructure.

As digital transformation becomes the norm, mid-market firms risk falling behind and losing out to digital competitors if they fail to provide enhanced digital customer experiences.

Consumers want to manage their finances as easily as they order a pizza 

What do consumers want most from their bank, credit union, or wealth management advisors?

Simplicity, efficiency, transparency, security, and personalization. And they want to experience these five key elements across all regular customer touchpoints.

 

  1. Simplicity: Customers want to be able to see and manage all their finances in one place, on all their devices. They also want the ability to switch back and forth between their tablet, phone or computer at will. They also want to access customer service assistance without driving to a branch or office and waiting in line.
  2. Efficiency: Consumers want a streamlined user experience when addressing any and all of their financial needs. These experiences must include real-time data and automated alerts. And all customer service interactions must be on-demand and easy-to-access. Over time, more and more customer service experiences will take place inside applications.
  3. Transparency: As well, customers want to be able to understand and have control over how their data is gathered and used by service providers — just as they want to understand how their money is being invested. Communications based on thick, impenetrable reports or spreadsheets will be dead on arrival. Clarity is key.
  4. Security: When it comes to financial services, customers expect 100% data security. Soon, even the possibility of data breaches will be a major disadvantage when trying to attract and retain customers in this space.
  5. Personalization: Financial products, services, and alerts will eventually all be enabled by AI, delivering contextually relevant information and offers to customers before they even ask for them. Customers will also have significant control over what information they do (and don’t) see as part of their engagement with a financial brand.

 

How to build new products and services that enable digital customer experiences

For financial service firms to achieve these five customer engagement objectives, investment in technology is necessary.

New product investments will almost inevitably include a blend of enhanced fintech offerings (often developed through partnerships, collaborations, and joint ventures with startups, innovation hubs, and accelerators), as well as more traditional options.

A partner who understands both the technology and your business needs is perfectly suited to help take the angst out of figuring out your digital transformation strategy, as well as which products are right for your business.

As a starting point, look for development teams with experience helping financial service companies kickstart innovation and digital transformation initiatives. Chances are they’ve seen and learned lots in building software and technology solutions for others, which lands in your favour if you’re just starting out.

When we work in financial services, we spend time on detail to ensure the technology will scale with the business, but also on determining the features that enhance overall customer experience. And with the right architecture and thoughtful planning, your tech stack can adapt to evolving consumer expectations and technical demands over time.

Software development firms and app builders who have worked in financial services are also more likely to suggest feature sets that dramatically improve the customer experience rather than simply replicating what the big banks are doing.

For example, we’ve developed financial services applications that offer unique features such as being able to move large amounts of money right in the app, without the need for a physical bank draft. 

From enabling frequent customer engagement touchpoints to building platforms that clearly provide all the data your consumers want access to, mid-market financial service firms can deliver enhanced experience that keep, and expand a customer base.

Reach out if we can help.