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Meet The Experts - Software Advice

For our latest Meet The Expert column we consulted Market Research Analysts from leading software review site, Software Advice. Craig Borowski and Eileen O’Loughlin have well-research insights on automation and the impact technology can have on business processes. We discussed what’s next for onboarding in financial services and what firms should be looking for when selecting software.

 

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What trends are you seeing developing in customer onboarding?

As more companies recognize that customer experience (CX) is a critical differentiator, more attention is being paid to customer touch points, especially those known to jeopardize a good CX. Onboarding is one such touchpoint, or series of touchpoints, that can quickly turn a great CX into a terrible one or a new customer into an ex-customer. Why? Because quick, effortless transactions are the hallmark of a great user experience, and onboarding always requires some of the customer’s time and effort.

 

What advice would you give financial institutions who are looking to digitally transform their operations?

Companies in the financial services industry face many obstacles to digital transformation, from high-stakes IT security and regulatory concerns to the always-changing preferences and trends in the consumer space. Because of this complexity,  financial institutions seeking digital transformation are smart to take a top-down approach, beginning with a clear vision and buy-in from senior executives. To facilitate this, many are adding a new type of senior executive to their ranks: the “customer experience executive” who act as customer and CX advocate from within the C-suite. Their job is to ensure that the transformation process remains on a path towards continuous improvement, and doesn’t get sidetracked or trampled by any of the many competing concerns.

 

What are the constraints of current systems in the marketplace?

A recent survey of business management software users revealed the following challenges with the current systems on the market: non-intuitive interface, integration issues with other software and a lack of support for critical functions, specifically, risk management protocols. Integration is a common challenge for businesses using disparate systems. To combat this, some businesses may choose to invest in an integrated platform that governs all core processes, reducing the number of solutions in play and reducing complexity. Of course, this isn’t feasible for every business so it’s imperative to discuss integration requirements with vendors during the software selection process to ensure data transfer between applications is seamless. Additionally, if possible, avoid over-customizing a solution unless you can continue to support those customizations over the the life of the tool. Failing to update due to costs can lead to security issues and can negatively impact the user experience, both of which jeopardize sustained user adoption.

 

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What do you see the future of business process and workflow for financial services?

The growing trend that we’re seeing with business management technology is development within vertical industries. Solutions geared toward the needs of specific industries, such as financial services or hospitality or distribution, allow for more purpose driven digitization, i.e., not just automating routine procedures, but allowing for data-driven decisions based on meaningful and business-specific KPIs.

 

Do you have advice for financial service firms that are concerned with balancing their customer experience and preparing for emerging regulatory changes?

The goal for every customer experience is simplicity. So the question becomes how to balance simplicity with the necessary security; how to ensure that data is stored and accessed securely while making the experience for the customer as seamless as possible. While SaaS solutions are growing in popularity, financial institutions will have to weigh benefits vs. costs before investing. Hosting customer data on site will likely cost more upfront and require an IT team to perform maintenance and upgrades; however, offloading these costs to vendors via cloud-based solutions requires an additional degree of security verification. Additionally, financial institutions housing private client data may not have the same freedom as other vertical segments to use plugins and third-party add ons to supplement their primary business software. As a result, some may choose to invest in robust business management suites to reduce the number of systems in play and thus the number of integrations required.

Is your organization giving thought to improving the onboarding process?

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