Jeff Weikert
Chief Strategy Officer

We live in a world of “right here, right now” and there is no going backwards.  If anything, we, as digital banking customers, want the speed, quality and functionality of our experiences to all get better and faster.  It is about continual improvement and packing more into the little screen on the little devices and fully using the technology available. COVID19 has placed even more pressure on digital banking offerings and the reliance on them is only going to continue to grow rapidly.  Financial institutions (FIs) who have invested in their digital channels will reap the rewards of higher customer acquisition and retention, increased loyalty and enhanced customer confidence.  All good things!

Tech Companies Are Showing the Way

It is clearly much harder for FIs to innovate quickly and efficiently versus newer technology companies. Can you say “legacy systems?”  For example, Uber, which is to the local transportation service (“let’s Uber there”) what Fedex is to the overnight delivery service (“FedEx this for me”), started a mere ten years ago.  With new, advanced technology, reams of data and artificial intelligence (AI), Uber has been able to create an incredibly compelling, yet simple UX that is very smart and easy to use.  Uber is highly confident that their customers will get a “memorable product experience” which is the holy grail of user experience.  Further, when we do a side-by-side comparison to an alternative, say a taxi…well, there is no comparison.

However, if you look behind the average FI’s digital offering, you will find a plethora of legacy and other systems that have all been cobbled together over the years (much further back than ten years ago in many cases) to create as seamless an experience as possible for the end customer.  If the FI has planned well enough, they have chosen service providers with robust APIs that allow for new innovative services to be built into the digital offering. When Uber customers compare their digital experience with what their bank is offering for digital financial services, they are likely not impressed.  Yes, the digital banking services have arguably much more complexity, but how can we meet increasing customer expectations?

How FIs Can Achieve the UX Holy Grail – “The Memorable Product Experience”

Taking the que from Uber, banks and credit unions should take advantage of the same advanced technology that is available, leverage the data and deploy AI in new and compelling ways.  Then do this with the bold objective of improving the speed, quality, functionality and convenience for the digital user to create a truly “memorable product experience.”  

Let’s take a look at a side-by-side comparison of a leading FI’s digital banking app experience as opposed to one that offers a Virtual Financial Assistant (VFA) within their mobile app and/or online banking platform.   And let’s compare the use case of wanting to pay a bill via the mobile app.  For the  FI with an average mobile app, the experience typically looks like this (after authentication has occurred):

  1. Click on the pull down list then select “Transfer & Pay” 
  2. Select “Pay Bills” 
  3. Designate a payee (in this case, let’s call them “Telco”)
  4. Enter the account I am paying from
  5. Enter the amount to pay 
  6. Choose the “send on date” and add any notation  

That is a total of at least  seven clicks.  Now, compare that same use case with an FI that is leveraging Conversational AI to offer an integrated VFA within their mobile app.  On the FI’s mobile app, I click on the microphone icon and simply say “Pay Telco $70 on the 20th of December from my checking account.”  I will receive a message, verbally or via text, asking me to confirm the transaction.  I simply say or text “Yes” and I’m done.  Way easier, way better!  This is a small example of a “memorable product experience” and accomplishes our objective of speed, quality, functionality and convenience – all in one.

The Time is Now

The time has never been better to enhance your FI’s digital offering and create truly memorable product and customer experiences.  Start by seriously evaluating the AI banking solutions out there that take the form of fully-integrated VFAs or similar solutions.  They are compelling, timely and will advance your digital cause with the speed to keep up with your customers’ ever-changing and dynamic expectations. 

Jeff Weikert brings more than 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry to having held a variety of leadership positions for more than a half dozen leading organizations. Prior to joining in 2018 as Chief Strategy Officer, he served as President of Payveris.