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Reimagining Customer Journeys – 3 Essentials

Over the past few years, the need for digital transformation has become widely recognized in banking. And so has the importance of designing contextual multi-channel customer journeys. Customer experience and customer journey have clearly emerged as key competitive differentiators for banks. Banks have made significant investments in the areas of customer experience, personalization, security and privacy, and more recently customer journey mapping.

In Infosys Finacle’s Banking Trends report for 2019, customer journey continues to join the evergreen customer experience as a key trend. However, the customer journey trend in 2019 and beyond, will be shaped and influenced by new developments and emerging challenges. Regulators and central banks are building nationwide digital identity platforms. Open ecosystems have changed the way customers access their banks’ services. Digital and social firms equipped with new design tools are continuously raising the expectations of customers from their bank.

Overcoming these challenges is critical.

In this blog, I talk about three essentials for the success of customer journey transformation programs. Incorporating these elements into a bank’s digital initiatives and strategy can increase customer loyalty in times of rapidly increasing customer churn.

#1 Digital Identity

According to a recent report by the World Bank, about 60 countries around the world have some form of digital ID program in place or underway. In the Asia-Pacific, for instance, India is the first country to start a nation-wide digital identity program called “Unique Identification” led by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The program aims to empower the citizens with a unique identity called Aadhaar, a12-digit unique identity number based on biometric and demographic data. Further east, Singapore launched MyInfo in 2018. In Thailand and China, national digital ID pilot testing started in 2018. Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia have official plans to launch digital eID by 2020. Similar discussions are underway in Australia and New Zealand. The Australian Government recently released the draft Trusted Digital Identity Framework for public feedback in December 2018.

These initiatives impact not only the customer onboarding and KYC processes, but the entire digital banking journey. Although process details differ from one country to another, customer journeys at all banks (country regardless), need to be digital-identity-centric. For instance, instant customer onboarding with multi-phased KYC is a convenient, digital yet fully compliant way for account opening. Digital identity will also enable a smoother integration with social and payment ecosystems.

#2 Context Awareness

Customer experience enhancement requires a banking organization to understand the needs and behaviors of its customers. Today, understanding customer context in a digital world is more than just recognizing what transactions the customer is performing at what time using which channel. Customers expect more than that from their banks. They expect contextual experiences based on previous interactions and they expect their banks to understand their goals, situations and circumstances.

Let me share my experience. While traveling to Hong Kong last month, I had no local mobile data and was in a hurry to get an Uber. So I turned on the Wi-Fi on my cell phone to connect with a local telecom provider. I was asked to on-board myself by registering an email address to be used for sending me a one-time-passcode. This is a classic case of incorrectly-designed customer journey based on an insufficient understanding of customer context. The reason I needed to connect to the Wi-Fi was because I had no access to mobile data. So with no access to e-mail, I could not complete the onboarding process, was not able to use the Wi-Fi and hence ended up with no means of commute.

Unfortunately, banking customers also face similar experience when banks design customer journeys without proper context. With the rise of open banking and open APIs, more and more services and transactions will originate on third party channels not owned by banks. This will add to the complexity of understanding a customer’s context. The good news is that embedded insights, advanced analytics, and AI could enable banks with highly personalized, dynamic customer experiences that can adapt to a bank’s customers’ context.

#3 Omni-Channel

Today, customer journeys are primarily digital, and comprise multiple channels as users switch from one device to another in a single journey. Customers may choose to compare mortgage products on a digital market place, on-board themselves using online channels, upload photos using mobile phones, and call customer care for mortgage account opening status inquiries. Along each step of the digital journey, banks need to convince customers to choose or select their services and not a competitor’s.

A customer journey based on omni-channel supports a more integrated customer experience, and more insights for banks to woo prospects and customers. With channel-hopping capability, customers can resume their transactions at any touch point, at any step of a purchase journey. Omnichannel platform also supports consistent experience across channels. Furthermore, omnichannel capabilities enabled with open API exchange allow banks to support customer journeys initiated on non-bank third-party channels.

Build Great Customer Journey via Design Thinking

In addition to these three elements, great customer experience and customer journeys are a combination of many factors – context and goal, customer access points, emotions and pain-points, technology, security, and privacy. Bank executives need a variety of tools to design customer journey. Design Thinking plays a critical role here to quickly prototype and test with customers what journey works better in the digital context. More than a process to support customer journey mapping, design thinking provides a new way to develop more empathy with, and gain new insights about banks’ customers. For example, to design a simple user-friendly account opening process, or to test whether wearables are ready for mobile payments from a customer experience perspective, prototyping can be extremely useful. It can also prevent banks from designing potentially inaccurate journeys.

Eventually, customers are the true decision makers of what customer journeys work best. In fact, customers should be considered a part of an organization’s customer-journey team. Ensuring constant feedback loop with the customer throughout a customer journey is the first step to designing effective and seamless journeys.

Read more about how the customer journey trend is likely to evolve in 2019 and beyond in Infosys Finacle’s 2019 Banking Trends report. Also, check out industry leading banking solutions such as Finacle Omnichannel Hub and Finacle Digital Engagement Hub to know how you can strengthen your digital transformation journey and drive deeper customer engagement with seamless multi-channel experiences.

Author Bio:

Ethan Wang

Product Manager, Infosys Finacle

Ethan Wang has over 17 years of experience in the banking and technology space. He is currently the strategy and product manager at Infosys Finacle, covering areas such as digital banking, FinTech collaboration, artificial intelligence and open banking. He has a keen eye for details with a strong strategic intuition for the emerging areas of banking technologies. He also has a rich experience in strategy, consulting and thought-leadership.

He has previously worked as a Research Director for Global Banking and Investment Services at Gartner, as Senior Solution Advisor for Financial Services Sector for Greater China at IBM and Vice President for Wealth Management at HSBC. Overall, Ethan is a professional leader with passion for digital and innovation.

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