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Enhancing Customer Experience Across the Entire Lifecycle

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July 28, 2022 | Jonathan Pryer

Why CX is so important in financial services, and how a unified decisioning platform can help

Personalized experiences are everything these days, and the world of financial services is no exception. We expect our Netflix recommendations to be spot on, we download apps to preview what a new hairstyle would look like, and we trust our Instagram feeds to offer up relevant ad content… but some traditional financial services institutions are missing the boat on personalized, meaningful customer experiences. And their growth is suffering as a result. Why? In part, because legacy systems (including data infrastructure and decisioning platforms) just can’t handle making more personalized offerings. To truly enhance the customer experience from end-to-end, financial services institutions, both big and small, need to look to an all-in-one, unified decisioning platform.

In times of economic uncertainty, banks and fintechs may be looking for ways to cut costs. But improved customer engagement is key to both creating long-term loyalty and acquiring new customers – both of which can help you weather any economic storms. Sometimes, you need to invest strategically to react appropriately to market disruption. As the Financial Brand shares, “No matter what the future brings, financial institutions need to develop a strategy that can recession-proof and future-proof their current business models. The banking industry has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform legacy business models to become more competitive and more resilient during economic upheaval. By integrating data, analytics, advanced technologies, automation and an up-skilled workforce, banks and credit unions can become more future-ready and agile in a crisis.” 

CX: The Rise of Instant Everything

So, what exactly does the oft-overused term Customer Experience really mean? And why is it so critical to an organization’s success? Broadly, customer experience is the impression your customers have of your brand and your solutions as they interact with you – at all stages of the buyer’s journey, from first view of an ad or consuming your content all the way through to purchasing, onboarding and renewals. Customer experience matters in everything we as individuals consume – think about how you feel about your favorite grocery store, smartphone, hair products or exercise program (is Peloton actually a cult?). Now think about how you feel about your banking apps, your credit cards, your mortgage company, your last auto financing application. Are those everyday financial transactions memorable (in a good way)? Do you feel seen? Do you feel like your needs are being met in a personalized way?

Consumers want instant answers and tailored offers with their lending/banking experiences, with far less waiting and paperwork. With the rapid increase in digital-only banking and fintech innovations like buy now, pay later (BNPL) and embedded financing apps, providing anything less than a stellar customer experience means fewer repeat customers and a decrease in brand value.

Accenture reports that 5% of traditional banks’ revenue is at risk as millions of consumers are enticed by the transparent, tailored offerings of fintechs and neobanks. A 2020 survey of credit union/bank marketing leaders found that personalized approaches are the most effective for engaging people and expanding share-of-wallet. But 44% of those same organizations only send a couple of targeted marketing emails per year. Why? “Limited data insights make it difficult to truly understand a consumer and what they need in the moment.”

Data + AI-Powered Decisioning Technology = More Satisfied Customers

What does your risk decisioning platform have to do with the customer experience? In one word… everything. While some financial institutions are still using siloed environments and separate vendors or partners for data, decisioning workflows, analytics models and business insights, the more agile, adaptable organizations are looking at unified, all-in-one decisioning platforms. One solution that integrates real-time data, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), and decisioning automation can help accelerate digital transformation for a more customer-centric experience. With a unified solution, you can:

  • Make smarter, more accurate decisions
  • Shorten the product development lifecycle and get new products/offerings to market faster
  • See real-time views of decisioning and performance data to uncover actionable business insights
  • Create streamlined user experiences across the customer lifecycle
  • Scale and grow your business to respond to market trends and consumer demands (with fewer growing pains for your loyal customers along for the ride)
  • Democratize data access for more holistic views of your customers
  • Optimize pricing and product offerings
  • Expand your customer relationships with personalized upsell/cross-sell offers

McKinsey doesn’t hold back: “Predictive customer insight is the future.” Their article on ‘Future of CX’ predictions states that “those with an eye toward the future are boosting their data and analytics capabilities and harnessing predictive insights to connect more closely with their customers, anticipate behaviors, and identify CX issues and opportunities in real time.” While customer success teams and feedback surveys will always have a place in understanding the consumer experience, it’s clear that real, actionable data that can be analyzed in real-time is a game-changer.

But accessing, integrating, and analyzing data is not the only challenge facing financial institutions who desire a better experience for their customers. In today’s ultra-competitive landscape, doing so at speed is critical. As the Financial Brand shares, “Speed is a competitive weapon. The ability to see market trends, adjust strategies, innovate, create new solutions, make tactical decisions, and deploy resources quickly provides a business advantage… Banks and credit unions can no longer respond to opportunities and challenges with a legacy banking timetable.” But being able to adapt your offerings and pivot to new products or strategies quickly is next-to-impossible without an integrated, unified solution.

What to Look for in a Unified Solution

If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of choosing yet another technology partner, don’t fret. We’ve looked at some key factors to consider when evaluating decisioning platforms.

  • No-code Management: Can you easily integrate systems, change processes, and launch new products, without relying heavily on your IT team and/or your technology vendors? Is your team empowered with a low/no-code UI (see, the customer experience matters in absolutely everything!) that can offer you things like pre-built data integrations and drag-and-drop functionality?
  • Connected Data: Do you have easy access to both real-time and historical data, including alternative data sources? Can you centralize your data sources (goodbye silos) so users can more efficiently manage various data sets across the credit lifecycle and make smarter decisions?
  • Centralized Control Across the Lifecycle: Can you bring together data and decisioning to better manage identity, fraud, and credit decisions across the entire lifecycle of the customer? Are you able to efficiently connect all systems to fully understand customer needs and personalize user experiences? When consumers are expecting seamless experiences, with tailored financial services and protection from fraud, can your technology deliver?
  • Auto-Optimization: Does your decisioning platform get more accurate each time decisions are made? Are you able to see how your current risk models are performing, and can you respond to these performance shifts once you’ve spotted them? Instead of relying on humans or individual systems to uncover opportunities for improvements, can you connect all systems and power a continuous feedback loop that keeps optimizing your decisions?
  • Ability to Scale: Your systems may be working well enough for now, but as the industry continues to grow more and more competitive… can they adapt and scale with you in the future? Does your decisioning solution simplify your growth or inhibit it?

A unified decisioning platform not only powers more accurate decisions across the entire customer journey, but it enables rapid growth and innovation opportunities. Instead of waiting for vendors to make workflow changes or sifting through siloed sets of data, you can spend more time focusing on what matters – your customers. Adapt as the market shifts, diversify to meet your customers’ needs, personalize offers to encourage engagement and brand loyalty. The opportunities for enhancing the customer experience are endless – and with a holistic, unified view of your data and decisioning, you don’t have to compromise your risk strategy to do so.

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