Four things to keep in mind when planning your digital transformation

(Guest blog written by Simon Matthews)

1. Prioritise the customer experience. Improve incrementally 

Your guiding principle should always be to provide the best possible customer experience. And digital transformations can absolutely help deliver this, allowing you to meet customers whenever and wherever they are. 

Like anything worthwhile, this can take time to deliver successfully. Trying to complete it all in one sprint can be a mistake. For this reason, we always advise adopting a modular implementation process. Introduce changes in steps and take customer feedback into account, before iterating further improvements. 

For example, imagine one business has an application process that forces customers to print out, physically sign and then post documents. Then imagine a competitor who has a fully digitalised electronic signature and identity verification process that takes a few minutes. The latter has a huge competitive advantage. Even if not every other process is fully digitalised at the same time. 

“When you start to digitalise, do it in a step-by-step process.”


2. The finance sector has some unique challenges – and opportunities

The challenges faced by Fintechs change greatly depending on the sector and region. In general, though, many of the larger banks lead the race in terms of innovation, especially when it comes to digital onboarding. They’re scaling up quickly, with very niche offerings utilising technology to provide extremely smooth experiences. 

But it also depends on the type of product. For instance, consumer products are getting digitalised first because of the volume and simplicity of their solutions. But then you have B2B offerings, which are usually more complicated to put together. There are a lot of legacy steps in these analogue processes, which means they can be left behind. 

For example, you can open a savings account and apply for a credit card, but you can’t add a co-owner to your account, or change your address. Things like this break the entire product offering chain. Institutions that can successfully digitise this part of their business will have a huge edge over competitors. 

“Always be thinking about how to communicate your culture through your technology and processes.”


3. Great user experiences don’t have to be sacrificed to meet compliance 

A common misconception is that it’s not possible to have a superb customer experience without compromising compliance and regulatory needs. This isn’t the case. E-signatures are extremely secure and efficient. 

It’s also important to remember that the financial market’s shifting very dramatically. This means the speed of implementation is vital. A digitalisation project that takes two, three or even four years to launch, just won’t deliver results. After that amount of time, the business will simply be regaining the market share they’ve lost to fast-moving FinTechs, rather than gaining new customers.


4. Understand your customers. Make everything easy for them

It’s vital that any business serious about digitalisation meets its customers where they are.

For example, young customers will be frustrated if they need printers and scanners to use your products. It’s infuriating asking them for those things. Especially when they’re trying to buy something! Make it easy for them.

Consider the customer effort threshold, and how willing they are to interact with the service. Make them feel comfortable. Explain anything complicated. Make sure they understand why they need to do something and make them feel like they’re being taken care of.

It’s also important to remember that the ‘number of clicks’ is less important if the experience is smooth. Above all else, that first onboarding experience makes a lasting difference to how customers perceive you.