Customer Experience in FinServ: Inner Circle Event Recap

Inaugural NYC networking event and panel featuring insights on better banking through technology by Infobip and MEDICI

Together with Infobip, a leading global provider of omnichannel communications, MEDICI recently hosted its inaugural Inner Circle event in New York, overlooking Times Square on a beautiful summer day. With over 100 attendees from the FinTech and FinServ community, the event went far beyond casual networking and enabled a diverse gathering of MEDICI followers to finally engage face-to-face at the offices of RSM US, a leading accounting and consulting firm.

Brien Jones-Lantzy, Director of Strategic Growth at Infobip, kicked off the event with a presentation on omnichannel customer engagement, which was followed by a lively interactive panel discussion moderated by Aditya Khurjekar, CEO of MEDICI. The focus was a tried-and-true success metric that is rapidly garnering new attention as more FinTechs and big banks struggle to stay relevant in the digital age – Customer Experience (CX). Brien then participated in the panel to exchange insights with a range of industry experts: Shaila Dani, SVP of Global Retail & Wealth Products at Citi; Rodger Desai, Founder & CEO of Payfone; and Samir Karande, Solutions Leader at Amazon Web Services (AWS).

As mobile technology evolves, interaction with automated platforms has risen at the expense of call centers and human interaction. According to a recent Total Consumer survey, this has resulted in consumers often feeling neglected and frustrated – a feeling that can quickly cost a company their customer base and reflect poorly on their share price. The same survey noted that 86% of customers said they would pay more for customer experience, while 89% stated they even switched to a competitor at one point because of bad customer experience.

The greatest issue when it comes to improving customer experience lies in its complexity and subjectivity. Today, customer experience involves more than understanding user preferences and seamless navigation. The panelists discussed how providing a quality experience requires a comprehensive appreciation of technology platforms, omnichannel engagement, operational constraints, and even regulation. While these are all qualities FinTech companies strive for, it’s difficult to quantify this interaction due to evolving customer experience KPIs.

One thing to look at, according to Jones-Lantzy is “friction” a measure of the fluency of a customer’s interaction with various touchpoints in reaching their end goal, purchase, or service. The goal, of course, is to reduce the level of friction a customer experiences so that they have a higher level of satisfaction, which translates into more revenue. “Customer service,” he said, “is all about reducing friction. The level of friction is directly related to the satisfaction with the brand – the lower the friction, the better the customer satisfaction scores.”

Similarly, Payfone’s Desai shared how his company looks at a measure of “pass rate” (how many don’t require some form of intervention or block to proceed for every 100 transactions). When it comes to customer experience, he said that we should strive for a 98% pass rate and consider a pass rate of 80% as respectable, given the amount of friction currently in the digital ecosphere. Desai also noted that the current pass rate for Fortune 500 companies is 40%, which is concerning.

During the discussion, Citi’s Shaila Dani was asked by an audience member on how global differences impact customer experience. She responded by saying that the definitions of preferred customer experiences could vary by country as this is influenced by local preferences (including privacy expectations), tastes, market standards, and even regulations. As a result, large corporations with a broad consumer base must “create a global chassis for [target client experiences] and then customize it for the local markets, ensuring that you can do it quickly and that you can adapt to local preferences.”

On the subject of established financial institutions being reticent to work with smaller startups in moving their operations to the cloud, AWS’ Karande explained, “Large corporations are scared to implement new technologies largely due to the risk of adverse impact and failure.” With a consumer base in the hundreds of millions, introducing new security and consumer experience technologies can prove to have detrimental effects on a business’s reputation and result in a huge financial hit if not done properly. For this reason, larger corporations often experiment in smaller submarkets to receive feedback on new features before they make a wholesale change to their platform.

Despite the lack of clear-cut definitions or metrics, the panelists concluded on a single characterization that leads to a quality customer experience: Trust. According to Aditya Khurjekar, “If your customer truly trusts you, then you ultimately have achieved an ideal customer experience.” It starts with the first touchpoint of brand awareness and continues with onboarding, servicing, and up-selling throughout the lifecycle. “Trust is global with local flavor,” Karande explained while continuing the narrative of the variability of customer experience.

Roger Desai also shared his sentiments by saying, "Trust is the KPI that’s going to drive the reshuffling of the next Fortune 500. At the end of the day, companies that figure out how to trust more people online and transact with them quickly are going to get more share than those who don’t." On the subject of trust, Jones-Lantzy added, “You have to verify the consumer, but remember, the consumer also needs to verify you.”

MEDICI appreciates everyone who made the inaugural Inner Circle Event a success. MEDICI would like to give a special thank you to Infobip and RSM for their partnership, and our panelists from Citi, Amazon Web Services, and Payfone. Be sure to sign up for MEDICI’s Inner Circle membership and get exclusive access to events like this one.

Also, for more on how technology is transforming customer experience in banking, download Infobip’s white paper Better Banking Through Better Communications.