From almost every imaginable aspect, the financial services sector has undergone major change over recent years.
The impacts of COVID-19 and the Royal Commission have been compounded by the rise of fintechs only too happy to go toe-to-toe with the established incumbents. And these rising stars of fintech have an ace up their sleeve: they have made seamless, omnichannel and personalised customer experiences the rule, rather than the exception.
Salesforce teamed up with Bain & Company to take the pulse of more than 5,000 Australian customers and more than 200 financial execs, to help retail banks and general insurance providers understand not only what their customers want — but also what they need and expect.
Key themes from The Customer Imperative in Financial Services report include:
- customers prefer digital channels for more simplified engagement and human-supported channels for the complex;
- customers are open to more proactive, personalised engagement; and
- that banks and insurers have already made significant progress in improving customer advocacy and experience.
Let’s take a look at how four Australian fintechs are using digital innovation to meet — and exceed — these customer expectations, and what lessons there are for the wider industry.
Athena: using data to revolutionise the borrower experience
Mortgage lending startup Athena launched in 2017 with data at its core. It gained deep insights into what people disliked about engaging with traditional banks to gain a home loan.
From its research, it found people felt trapped, received no benefits for their loyalty, rate rises hit them hard, and the application process at the outset was a real slog. And so it built the brand with the customer at the core – one that offers a swift, 15-minute application process and a brand purpose to help people pay down their home loans faster.
While legacy operating models, technology and data were identified as issues by executive respondents to The Customer Imperative in Financial Services report, fintech disruptors such as Athena simply don’t have that baggage — and are delivering a customer-centric experience that’s helped generate a net promoter score of 69. With the average NPS for mortgage lenders sitting at -40, it shows the value of putting customers first.
Valiant Finance: putting small business owners in control
Small business owners are generally time-poor. From working in the business and on the business, they can struggle to find the time to see the ‘big picture’. And when they need business finance they need it now — they don’t have the time to compare multiple products, and assess the product and lender that best suits their needs.
When a small business owner visits Valiant’s website, they are asked a few questions and, thanks to an intelligent loan matching algorithm, are matched to the right loan product quickly and easily. With a panel of 60 lenders offering more than 100 loan products, the time savings are huge.
Once the algorithm has taken the customer on a personalised journey and recommended a product, the brand’s credit solutions team — which has access to all of the customer’s data in once centralised place and shortlisted loans — is there to help advise the customer on the next steps and answer any questions they have.
Bringing in that human touch for the ‘moments of truth’ was identified as a ‘no-regret action’ for financial services businesses to take in The Customer Imperative in Financial Services report. By taking this approach, Valiant is putting the customer in control and stepping in with advice when the customer needs it most.
Insure 247: filling a gap with a customer-first solution
Insurance can sometimes be a grudge purchase for businesses — and it’s one that small businesses especially don’t want to spend much time thinking about. Insurance brokerage Insure 247 saw an opportunity to improve the insurance process in the micro and small business space.
Insure 247 is changing the small business insurance game by offering a paperless, cloud-based experience where customers can buy new policies and renew with ease, and employees can find the information they need quickly and easily.
Focusing on creating a great digital experience has helped the brokerage deliver quality, seamless, speedy and personalised experiences at scale. Case resolution timelines have reduced by 86%, and the time it takes to process new policies and renewals has dropped by 50%.
The success of Insure 247 is no surprise. The Customer Imperative in Financial Services report found that consumers prefer digital experiences for all but the most emotive or complex tasks — and after the day-to-day tasks of transferring money domestically and paying bills, insurance renewals were the task people most preferred to handle online.
Volt Bank: changing the purpose of banking
For 600 years, banking has operated in a relatively unchanged way — a customer approaches the bank for an account or finance, and if approved is left to their own devices to use the facility however they like.
Volt Bank – the first new retail bank to be granted a banking licence in Australia since the early 2000s — is changing six centuries of established practice by using technology to help people be better off.
From providing educational tips, to ways to save money on bank and non-bank products, the bank’s ethos is centred around a simple concept: doing the right thing by the customer.
Initiatives such as the Volt Saving Challenge, which helps people form strong savings habits, is just one example of how Volt is putting the customer at the centre. This helps build that sustainable trust that’s now an imperative for all financial services businesses.
Download The Customer Imperative in Financial Services: Permission to Personalise report to get the low down on how financial services businesses have changed over recent years — and what customers really want from the financial organisations they engage with.