I’ve spent my career working at the intersection of technology and customer solutions. From leading hardware and software installations to innovating in support of business digital banking needs, product success consistently has come down to one key factor: The customer experience.
This emphasis on the user stems from simple human nature. Who has said, “I just wish it was more complex and harder to use?” No one. If a solution addresses a customer pain point in a way that makes it easy, it’s a winner.
Today’s digital banking solutions exemplify this point. A new wave of technological design has sprung up around the concept of user experience (UX), with its core focus on an agile approach. Financial institutions and their partners utilize this iterative method to implement a digital solution—then they evolve that same solution based on direct customer feedback. This phased design strategy enables a smart idea: Real-time market research and customer input strengthens the resulting product.
The timing is right for banks to be embracing this new model; never before has experience played such a pivotal role in customer decision-making. According to EY’s 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey, four of the five top reasons customers consider using a nonbank provider is directly related to CX. In fact, 41 percent of respondents stated they would change financial services providers if they found one that offered a better digital experience.
While this research emphasizes consumer inputs, it impacts how we think about digital business banking. In small and mid-market businesses, we contend with blurred lines between the consumer and business experience. What’s more, as millennials continue to launch new businesses, this expectation of similar experiences for personal and professional banking climbs. KPMG refers to this phenomenon as the ‘consumerisation’ of B2B relationships, indicating “the personal experiences customers receive have an impact on how they evaluate their B2B suppliers.” This means that financial institutions have to double their efforts to make certain both their business and consumer experiences remains seamless.
Here's the good news—the right partners play a key role in supporting this work. Banks can identify those providers whose strategies match their own. When all parties have a laser focus on the customer and employ an agile approach, each element of the experience develops as it needs to and ensures that customer needs are the first consideration.
Consider the fact that today only 10 percent of business payments are made using traditional online bank bill pay. This statistic suggests that status quo solutions aren’t meeting emerging customer needs, and banks need to seek partners who put today’s user top-of-mind. Of course, addressing the experiential requires a thoughtful investment from financial institutions. Outside the expenditure required for honing the product, banks may want to take into account the impact of its ongoing assessment and refinement. Having the right partner, whose product enhancement strategy aligns with the bank’s own agile approach, will alleviate some of the development burdens and offer stronger customer solutions.
Yet, even with this ongoing investment in product evolution, the user-centric focus can be profitable. Businesses will pay for services that save time and help them run their organizations. Forrester Research reports the impact from a ten percentage point improvement in a bank’s customer experience score can translate into more than $160 million in additional revenue.
It’s clear that the opportunity for banks to attract and keep business customers arise from their ability to offer a positive experience. As Steve Jobs once said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backward toward the technology.”
So, as we stand at the fork in the road dividing the business banking of today with that of tomorrow, we’re no longer exploring the convergence of technology and customer solutions. Now, we are focused on the steps the customer wants to take on the journey ahead, and we are marking our path accordingly. For digital business banking, taking the road the customer travels will make all the difference.
Heading to San Diego for the NACHA PAYMENTS conference this Spring? Bill.com will be deep diving into user experience and other hot-button topics for banks.