There’s a running chorus of catchphrases echoing across the banking industry: Build once, use many. Create a single customer database. Simplify the customer experience. Operate like one company around the world.
All great suggestions, right? No one would argue the benefits of any of these catchphrases, but it’s tough to accomplish even one of them, let alone all of them. That said: if you have the money, resources, and wherewithal to do all of these at once then give me a call. I’d love to be your Chief Miracle Implementation Officer.
Seriously, though: if you’re coming to the FinTech Partnerships conference, I assume you’re in the same boat I am: trying to improve things for your digital channel customers and improving your company’s bottom line, all with limited resources. We all have our roadmaps for which functions we’d add to the online and mobile channels, but we also need to look at making the channels themselves more productive, customer-centric, and nimble.
Here’s how I’m approaching it:
- Cross-channel: Channels in silos simply aren’t going to work anymore. It costs too much to deploy functionality in online, then pay as much again to deploy it in mobile, and then again on the tablet. For this you need a single services layer in your architecture (if you don’t have one by now, you need to sit your chief architect down for a serious heart-to-heart), and some excellent responsive design resources. Your customer might not see a difference, but your IT run budget will thank you.
- Cross-LOB: There are few things customers hate more than when we make them figure out our org structure. There are undoubtedly good reasons why banks built separate secure sites for banking vs. billpay vs. investments. But your customer couldn't care less about those reasons. And don’t say “single sign-on” -- that’s a stop-gap...Imagine the cross-sell opportunities when you can tie, say, day-to-day transactions together with investing: “Hey, you spend $150/month on coffee, but other customers like you only spend $100. Click here and we’ll set up a new investment account with an automatic savings plan of $50, and send an alert to your phone when you get close to your new monthly coffee budget.” There’s a lot of work involved in making that a reality – a single enterprise-wide customer CIF, for one – but that kind of guidance and advice is exactly what we owe our customers. There may be infrastructure cost savings from shutting down extraneous sites too.
- Cross-segment: Serving personal customers, small business customers, mid-size commercial customers, and large corporate customers with the same digital channels may have questionable returns. But if you have your solid services layer and a single customer CIF, and you want to ensure that you capture 100% of your commercial customers’ personal business (and vice versa), then this may be important to you. It won’t be easy, but portal technologies like Backbase give you a fighting chance.
- Cross-border: Customers may not differ that much across geographies, but regulators and payment methods sure do, so tread carefully. If you want to serve all your customers around the world with one digital channel, you’d better be on a single core system or a perfectly disaggregated services layer. Otherwise, pick your spots: figure out which functions customers need to be cross-border and tackle those. Oh, and this likely involves going cross-language too, so hire some translators.
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