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Keep a human-centered approach

All your questions while designing an onboarding experience must be customer-centric:

  • Why is my customer applying for this banking product?
  • What could be their needs?
  • What could be their goals?
  • How are we simplifying it for them?

The answer to these questions will have a direct impact on the content that goes on the application pages.

It is also important to consider the questions that your customers might be asking:

  • How long is this going to take?
  • What information/ documents will I need?
  • Am I stuck? What do I do now?
  • Is my sensitive information protected?

These questions help plan an onboarding experience and make them easier and effective. For example, your customers might get overwhelmed with the online experience, or could be intimidated by the length of the application process. In such a scenario, informing them about where they are in the process (“Step 1 of 4”) can help ease their anxiety. Similarly, listing the required documents, providing clear information about how the customer’s progress can be saved, or adding a note about who will have access to their documents will help increase the customers trust in the digital route of banking. Hence, to think like a customer is of paramount importance in order to onboard them.

Customer Intimacy

In a post-pandemic world, where the digital experience is going to be the primary differentiator between competitors among financial institutions, banks will need to look at offering digital experiences that connect with the consumer on an emotional level, rather than a traditional transactional app. Thus, a deeper customer intimacy and engagement has to become the new normal of digital banking.

Digital Banking should make use of emotions which have a positive impact on the minds of users, and help them emotionally connect with a brand.

An example of this could be the Google Doodle – a witty and interactive alteration of Google’s logo that changes daily and often induces positive emotions among users, or triggers interesting discussions among them.

By offering a digital banking experience that not just meets the customer’s everyday needs, but also connects with their values and aspirations, banks can elicit a more intimate engagement with the customer.

A great example of this would be Flowe, an environment-friendly challenger bank launched in Italy in 2020. Flowe attempts to help customers build a more sustainable future through a range of initiatives, including a debit card made of recycled wood. Flowe’s digital banking app similarly helps the customers to be eco-friendlier by offering personalized advice based on the CO2 impact of their transactional behaviour. By connecting with the customer’s values and aspirations in this way, banks not just develop a more meaningful and emotional relationship with their customers, but also increase their recall among customers for new products.

Another way to maintain a close relationship with customers is by always providing them with an option to connect with a banking personnel. This would ensure that a customer never feels lost in his/ her customer journey. Enabling access to real-life interactions via audio/video chat or offering easy access to human interactions in digital banking journeys whenever the customer needs it can significantly improve the overall customer experience while also building stronger emotional bonds with customers.

In the future, we might also see the widespread use of emotional AI technology to gauge the user’s emotional state. Emotional AI technology measures reactions in real time by analysing the user’s interaction with a digital device, for example, by tracking mouse cursor movement patterns. This can help banks measure the emotions triggered by digital banking. We might even one day see emotionally intelligent banking applications automatically, and in real time, adapting the user experience and digital marketing based on the individual user’s emotional state and reactions measured using emotional AI technology.

Speaking of AI, we now focus our attention on the most important aspect of being successful, deploying the latest technologies.

Top 6 Technologies for building your future digital bank

In order to survive in the digital space, the offerings from the banks have to be the best and the latest, as unlike the legacy times, there are plenty of options for the customers, and any delay results in customers switching their loyalties. Hence, it is extremely important for banks to stay on top of the latest technologies disrupting the financial industry.

Let us look at some of the top technologies to build your future digital bank

Robotic Process Automation(RPA): RPA is improving the user experience by allowing bots to handle repetitive tasks without the need for human intervention. This reduces errors and enables bank staff members to focus on more intricate queries and provide better customer service.

Data Analytics: In the present times, success is achieved by driving intelligent conversations with customers based on a data-driven understanding of them. Using insights fetched from historical customer data, banks can offer potential products and smartly upsell and cross-sell to existing customers.

Application Programming Interface (API): An API is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other, so that the services of a third software can be provided to you by the software in use for you. Through API platforms, banks nowadays are working with FinTechs to build banking stacks that give them the liberty to be a platform on which customers and third-party service providers can connect to deliver more meaningful and personalized experiences to the end-users.

Cloud Computing: Another technological advancement that has been revolutionizing the banking industry is cloud computing. By leveraging cloud-based services, banks can cut down on their data storage costs by saving on capital and operating expenditure, ensure that the business is easily scalable, while also promising that the customer data is protected. Cloud computing also forms the basis of safe online payments, digital money transfers, wallets payments, etc.

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning (AI & ML): Nowadays, the FinTechs are increasingly using AI and ML in a number of applications across multiple channels to make use of all the available client data to predict how customers’ needs are evolving, what services would benefit them, what fraudulent activity has the highest possibility to attack their system etc. Banks can leverage the power of AI and ML in banking, along with data science, in order to improve the current customer service as well as enhance the customer’s portfolio offerings.

Explainable AI (XAI): As we already know, AI uses machine learning for optimization. However, it is possible for AI to learn things incorrectly, leading to biases, errors, and negative results. These systems are highly complex, which means that most businesses will not even realize that this is occurring, because the underlying logic about how the results are derived is not explained anywhere.

Let’s assume that for a job role, so far 10 females have been hired, while no males could get selected yet. An AI/ML system could make the inference that females are more suited to this role as compared to males and could get biased against males while shortlisting CVs. This biasness will only increase with time, and since no one would even be aware that the system has learnt incorrectly, this problem will persist. So how do we tackle the negative side of AI?

Enter XAI: an in-depth analysis of AI systems by experts to detect any biases or self-taught errors so that the companies can trust, understand, and explain their AI results. It is vital to ensure that the AI is ethical, fair, and in compliance with relevant laws.

Other than the above points, for small and mid-sized banks, the Open Banking revolution ushered in with the enforcement of PSD2 regulations, was expected to pave the way for FinTech and bank collaborations in Europe. Open Banking is not merely just a compliance requirement. Once small and mid-sized banks start leveraging Open Banking, they can enter the same playing field as large banks and disruptive FinTechs, offering their customers products and services beyond their portfolio. As was aptly put by the CEO of leading FinTech firm Finastra, Simon Paris, “Open banking is the concept of banks assembling a service for customers even if some of the products don’t come from their bank. There’s no doubt that power returns to the customer and those who embrace it will benefit first.”

Article by

Roshan Shukla

Manager - Technical Engagement