Over the last decade, the entire banking and financial services industry had transformed into a digital-led automated, secure, fast and customer-first approach ecosystem.
By Krishnan Vishwanathan – CEO & Founder, Kissht
The banking and financial services are amongst the few sectors quick to adopt technology and innovations on the go. Over the last decade, the entire industry had transformed into a digital-led automated, secure, fast and customer-first approach ecosystem. All thanks to technology, today, banking is right at the fingertips of the customer, with just a few taps on their smartphones!
The significant disruption was the advent of digital lending apps that revolutionised the conventional loan system into a digital platform, allowing customers to now gain instant gratification and customisation of services. This digital transformation of this business has made it more accessible and convenient for both the lender and borrower in faster service, easy enrolment, and secure transactions. However, the pangs of retaining a customer remain because of the plethora of app choices they have in the market. While technology features entice the customer, the overall ‘experience’ too is a critical factor that influences their choice.
So as the race for customer retention heats up, here are some steps one can adopt to enhance the overall customer experience:
Know your customer
For providing a seamless customer experience, it is paramount first to understand your target audience. Using big data analytics and number-crunching on the volumes of customer data available at hand, one can trace predictive spending and repayment patterns, understand customers’ demographic spread and their frequency of engagement. Furthermore, this helps us gauge the customer choices and preferences. We can identify the relevant touchpoints of interaction with the customer to enhance their brand experience every time.
Make the customer independent
One of the critical reasons for the adoption of digital platforms among present-day consumers is their autonomy. Consumers like services that are convenient, easy to use, and do not rely too much on external help or support. So, companies must ensure that mundane things like account creation, uploading documents, verifications, and other such activities are well defined and convenient to execute and secure. Smart interface aspects like self-service support, chat-bots interaction, an auto-fill OTP system can go a long way in enhancing the customer experience. Also, provide DYK content nuggets about the product and services across platforms so that the customer feels well informed, and it thus translates into better customer retention and increases conversion rates.
Be agnostic and Automate
Product or services developed for a vast audience cannot be restrictive in preferences and function. In India especially, where we find diverse languages, a plethora of smart device brands and a varying range of infrastructural development, apps/services which offer a wide array of choices are preferred. We should operate across all networks, most devices, ranging signal strength – in short, be agnostic-mode. Also, automate services to reduce the lead time for closing formalities, verification process, loan disbursement, resolving conflict, standardised responses, etc. This makes the entire process seamless and efficient, thus boosting the customer experience.
Maintain consistency in messaging
Today consumers have access to multiple sources of information. Thus, it is imperative to ensure the authenticity and relevance of information circulated across these source channels as a service provider. A misinformed customer can turn disgruntled and be a bad influence on the brand. So, while we ensure accurate messaging, we also need to have a deft hand in managing complaints and resolving conflicts satisfactorily to ensure a happy customer experience.
Transparency and accountability
Today, consumers are wise to understand dubious clauses and shady offers put out to lure them. Companies with such doubtful reputations instantly lose the trust and interest of the consumer, and through social media channels, these customers red flag other prospective customers and users too. Consumers appreciate well-documented clauses, explicit mention of transition charges and transparency in the entire process. We live in the internet era, wherein our digital footprint pretty much gives businesses and brands an inside view of their customers. Therefore, in an environment where customers trust platforms with sensitive data, they must safeguard and be accountable for it. Customers feel more secure when apps request only requisite information and contextual permissions before using the information. Consumers like the freedom to decide how much secondary information they want to divulge.
Enhance your product offering
Present-day customers are aware of the latest technology trends and understand critical features like security, ease of use, affordability, connectivity etc. So, companies need to keep upgrading their product offering with the latest tech solutions to make it easier and more convenient. Integrating mobile payment options, enhancing the security parameters with biometrics, enhancing the user interface are few examples of how upgrading the product can help lending businesses appease customers.
Apps can use AI and analytics to track customer behaviour trends and choices to create quick search options, provide recommendations and relevant, customised offers. Personalised content via emailers, notifications are a great way to engage with the customer as they feel valued and important. Also, bespoke engagement builds trust in the customer, as it allows them immediate access to information that is relevant and useful for them. Such intangible experience goes a long way in creating a contagious affable sentiment for the brand that spreads in the peer group.
In conclusion, digital lending services have been able to overcome the geographical barriers, socio-economic diversity and reach the population who could not access financial services earlier. But the emergence of many players in this segment leading to stiff competition has got the customer worried about data security, quality of service and possible financial frauds. Also, they find it challenging to differentiate product offerings, and here is precisely where a good customer experience is critical. Services that closely monitor customer’s evolving needs offer personalised service and leverage technology to adapt to the ever-changing market dynamics with relevant offerings, which will always stay the preferred choice for customers.