Europe Fintech

Digital Transformation: 4 Secrets To Building a Customer-Centric Financial Business

According to a recent report, eight in ten mobile app users in the UK now prefer to use mobile banking. This comes as banks are expected to spend a staggering Ā£14 billion on mobile technology this year to improve the customer experience. Customers who may have originally resisted online banking have now been forced to adapt due to lockdown restrictions, and may never switch back as only 40 per cent of customers say they expect to return to branches post-COVID.

The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for the digitalization of systems, processes, and services while highlighting the critical need for banks to streamline further digital transformation journeys. Over the next few months, both legacy and challenger banks will have toĀ compete harder to prove their value and rampĀ up technology to benefitĀ customers who now require highly intuitive and personalized digital experiences.Ā 

Mike Sloman, financial expert and Senior Vice President of Business Development at Teleperformance (CAC $15bn), believes in the importance of placing the customer at the heart of digital transformation within the financial services industry. He has vast experience in the banking and financial services sectors and here outlines his four secrets to building a customer-centric financial business.

  1. Digital transformation can help create customer loyalty and retention for financial businesses

Before the pandemic, financial service firms found it more challenging to reach customers who were accustomed to cash transactions and in-branch banking due to the scale of operations and level of customer trust required. Moving forward, the fintech sector is expanding, as organisations rethink and redesign processes for business continuity in unprecedented ways.

The predictive and scalable capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming traditional banking models, making it simpler to connect with new markets, personalise the customer experience, and ensure higher satisfaction and retention. The strategic adoption of AI-driven automated solutions is enabling firms to communicate with customers on their preferred channel ā€“ such as an application ā€“ at any time.

Over 75 per cent of customers admit being more likely to buy from a company that recognises their name, knows their purchase history, and recommended products based on their past purchases. Organisations can service their customers better, understand their needs, and are well-positioned to address them efficiently and effectively. Having multiple language offerings can be an invaluable service for customers who prefer to use their own vernacular, making them feel valued and listened to. ā€˜Plug & Playā€™ services can also increase customer satisfaction, with smarter, automated offers for services delivered at the right time.Ā 

2. Digital transformation of back end processes can drive the front end-user experienceĀ 

The automation of back-end processes ā€“ typically prone to human error ā€“ is now seen as a critical operation to complement the work of human agents and improve the overall user experience. An inefficient back-office can often be the source of customer dissatisfaction, causing friction in the overall experience. By automating claims processes, underwriting services, and payment functions, organisations can benefit from the optimised cost of support, empowerment of human agents, and the creation of an enriched customer experience, in that order.

With integrated front and back-office support, companies can establish the right basis for meeting the current needs of cardholders, point-of-sale providers, processors, acquirers, merchants, and more. To respond to changing behaviours and preferences in the ā€˜new normal,ā€™ there areĀ strategic opportunitiesĀ for leveraging technology, analytics, and process excellence to provide end-to-end solutions for the banking and financial services sector.Ā 

3. Digital transformation should combine the human touchĀ 

Financial firms looking to amplify their automated support systems should do so by finessing a High-Tech, High-Touch approach to customer support. With limited face-to-face interaction with customers, companies are increasingly paying attention to emerging trends, such as Conversational Artificial Intelligence (CAI), as a way of achieving shorter handling times while delivering the necessary level of empathy. By using emotion recognition technology, chatbots can detect and flag particularly complex cases to human agents who are then specially trained to handle difficult conversations.

Businesses will find great value in using chatbots to complement the work of agents, and deliver frictionless omni-channel experiences, in this hyper-connected marketplace. Applications of Natural Language Processing (NLP), including Voice to Chat functions, are revolutionising self-service banking by offering a more user-friendly experience. 43 per cent of customers deal with their banking concerns by using chatbots, rather than going to their brand, as they lean towards quick troubleshooting of simple enquiries. When looking for companiesā€™ contact options, consumers will reward brands that make their contact information easily accessible in a well-developed conversational interface.Ā 

4. Resilience is critical for business continuity

Customer demands are evolving at pace, and financial businesses must adapt accordingly by creating a digital customer experience fit for the post-pandemic marketplace. With no real promise of what tomorrow holds, embarking on a successful digital transformation journey will be the key to cementing an institutionā€™s future success. Financial service organisations are increasingly leaning on multi-faceted technology to meet and surpass customer expectations that are only getting higher as banking becomes more contactless.Ā 


  • Gina is a fintech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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