Fintechs have to work harder than their banking counterparts to deliver a trustworthy proposition and brand
By Hitarth Saini
Over the last five years, the number of fintech brands in India has grown swiftly. Competition is fierce, yet fintechs offer unique products and services with superior experience and are already making a splash. The Covid-19 pandemic stimulated digitisation of the financial sector, and the whole industry is now going through a mini-renaissance. But we have only scratched the surface – the sheer number of people who need better services in the financial sector in India is enormous. Consumer behaviour is changing fast with incredibly low attention spans and digital formats of media consumption. All this has and will continue to push brands to innovate on consumer engagement to leave a lasting impression and reap long-term benefits.
A consumer-first approach is providing fintech brands with an edge
Instead of a customer going to the branch, fintechs bring the experience to their mobile phones and their homes and offices. Instead of relying on physical processes that cause delays in resolving customer issues, fintechs offer automated chat flows and guided content (videos, gifs) to help in faster resolutions. The decade-old approach of banks, one size fits all, no longer holds true for today’s demanding customers. Fintechs are turning the tide with their agility and better customer understanding by curating personalized experiences at scale. They are even talking to the customers in the language that connects (meme marketing, story-format content, topical content etc.), helping them build brand equity.
Fintechs are boosting engagement by revealing hidden opportunities
Whether it is a financial transaction, insurance payments, expense reporting, investment review, or any other financial service, fintechs are finding white spaces in customer experiences and are plugging these gaps. Whether it’s setting up automated reminders for customers to pay their bills, giving them a monthly overview of their credit card spends, their investment growth or credit score improvement, fintechs deliver value by analysing customer usage data and communicating these insights in easy-to-digest, visual/graphical reports on their mobile phones, thereby elevating the overall experience.
Fintechs are seeding engagement opportunities in customer journeys
Fintechs are trying to change existing customer journeys, and the scale at which they experiment and analyse consumer behaviour is incredible. Many fintechs have figured out and successfully implemented gamification in their experience and have leveraged a possibly tricky situation to their benefit. If the process takes longer than usual, show a mini-game or offer a relevant blog to keep the customer engaged. Presenting user reviews that build trust or the success rate of a specific channel on payment pages goes a long way. Moreover, fintechs are seeding ‘magic moments’ in their app experiences where a user is most likely to rate the service, refer a friend or spread the word on social media.
Fintechs are removing friction points and ensuring that customers see relevant messaging
Fintechs have been at the forefront of delivering digital journeys and providing paperless onboarding of customers by implementing eKYC, video-KYC, and custom chat-based customer onboarding flows. But adopting these for the masses is a challenge and that’s where fintechs are helping even a few large banks and institutions in their digital banking initiatives. By implementing automated marketing communication across channels (mobile push notification, SMS, Email, interactive voice recordings, Whatsapp messages) and providing content tailored to a customer’s financial history, thereby delivering a seamless experience, fintechs have outshined traditional players.
Fintechs are solving customer anxiety with a content-led approach
Finance has generally been challenging to understand and hence it is intimidating to many. The customer is forced to go through an information overload filled with jargon before making a decision. Traditionally, banks and financial institutions solved this by having account managers or customer representatives that assisted customer journeys. Post Covid-19, brands are fighting this battle head-on by creating simple yet powerful content such as short-story format videos, long-format explainer videos, and various ‘How-to’ videos/collateral and by conversing with the Millenial and the Gen-Z customer segments in a way they understand. More and more Fintech brands are enabling their apps and websites to support vernacular languages.
Trust is hard-earned and challenging to maintain for fintechs
With all the technology bling that fintechs bring to the table, this is by far the most difficult challenge for them. Fintechs have to work harder than their banking counterparts to deliver a trustworthy proposition and brand. With cybercrime on the rise, the need of the hour is to ensure that robust systems are in place. Fintechs work proactively on this front by generating awareness about how customers can stay safe and why their brand is worthy of the customers’ trust. Over time, fintechs will raise the standard of service and build a stronghold, but until then, delivering consistently good service can help build loyalty.
India is at the cusp of a financial revolution, and fintechs are the catalysts that will bring about the metamorphosis for the banking and the finance industry. This will in turn empower customers and thereby the nation. Only by embracing the changes and innovation that fintechs are unleashing can the Indian banking industry become customer-centric, at par with global leaders, and truly revolutionary.
(The author is head of marketing, Freo. Views expressed are personal.)