As the strategic goals of financial institutions evolve alongside integrating new digital channels and instant payment rails, these organizations mustn’t lose sight of their first and most important objective: providing exceptional customer experiences.
In a recent discussion at Volante’s 2023 EVOLVE conference, we consulted our panel of experts in the world of finance and payments to learn more about the role of customer experiences in unleashing business growth, particularly in the increasingly complex age of payments modernization. Here are some brief takeaways from the conversation:
Knowing and Anticipating the Needs of Your Customer
Recent technological advancements have provided banks and payment service providers (PSPs) with extraordinary opportunities for growth. However, according to our panelists, taking advantage of this evolving financial ecosystem will require many industry players to return to one of the most basic principles of customer experience: knowing and understanding the client as thoroughly as possible.
“I think the first thing that we all need to recognize is the importance of knowing your client,” said one panelist. “Understanding the customer and market you’re serving is key to crafting a solution that is going to meet their needs, and you’ll have to make sure that you’re constantly validating with customers to ensure it really is what they want.”
On the topic of validation, our panelists touched on a variety of ways to check in with customers, including the use of analytics to track which services clients are using, how long they’re spending in different areas, and which solutions are the most successful. However, as one panelist pointed out, this doesn’t remove the need to engage directly with customers, and most importantly to gather the information that not only identifies their desire for a specific product but also allows you to anticipate their needs and build corresponding solutions.
“It’s less about what specific product the customer wants at the moment and more about understanding their overall needs and everyday pain points. I think there are a lot of pain points that may even seem basic, but they’re not that simple to solve, and one way to provide a great customer experience is by taking that information back and determining which products need to be built to arrive at a solution.”
Using Complex Tools to Provide Simplified Experiences
In addition to knowing your individual customer base, our panelists also converged on the need to develop intuitive customer experiences that overshadow the complexities of modern technology, whether it’s the increasing variety of instant payment rails, or generative artificial intelligence (AI) and the utilization of data-backed insights.
As one panelist noted, too much time today is spent explaining the inner workings of real-time payment networks, despite most customers caring less about what these services are than the actual value they deliver. “When we determine which product will be beneficial, the question is how do we effectively within our channels provide the most common experience, so that customers don’t need to know if it’s being settled by FedNow or RTP. Because they ultimately shouldn’t care; your front end should be masking all that.”
Similarly, as customers come to trust financial institutions with their data, and even become excited about advanced tools like generative AI, the challenge is using data to deliver actionable insights in a way that customers can easily trust and understand. “We’ve had customers tell us directly, ‘I don’t know about treasury or cash management; you’ve got my data, so just tell me what I need to do,’” one panelist shared.
After all, the inherent complexity of insight generation is ultimately irrelevant to the value it can create for business owners, whether to determine when payments should be sent to stay on track with payroll or to provide a comprehensive overview of a company’s financial health. “These are the things our customers really appreciate,” said one panelist, “we just need to figure out how to harness it and turn it into products that our customers want.”
Learn more about Volante’s EVOLVE event.