As a financial technology service provider we often get asked where in the chain of software systems we fit in. In this era of holism it still seems difficult for financial service companies to grasp the concept of holistic thinking (think Apple). The notion that several systems would have to be used by a financial service company in order to run the business is obsolete.
We have previously discussed how a financial service company would have to think in order to survive in the 21st century and holistic thinking is the main point. Most of the IT-costs that occur within the financial industry have to do with integrations between various systems on the back end of the system. Back end meaning the “boring” connectivity, which just has to work in order to deliver at least some kind of service to the end user. The most back end focused organisms out there are the large banks and looking at their front ends (facing the customer) you can rather quickly grasp the fact that 99% of the money is spent on the back end!
The back end, or engine so to speak, should just work while firms should be able to focus on creating better products and a better experience on the front end for their customers.
In this first part of the “Points of interaction”-series we will have a look at some front end interactions to consider for a financial service company.
This is the absolute most important interaction for a customer of your financial institution. This is where you have to manage customer worries like:
- Am I placing an order for the right product?
- Am I entering the correct price format?
- Am I entering the correct quantity?
- Am I buying or selling contracts, units or entering a sum of money to use for the order?
- How long will the order be active?
- What currency am I using?
- What will happen when I click on the buy button?
None of these questions appear in the head of a professional investor, trader or even with an active individual investor but imagine someone who are only placing a few orders per year!
More often than not financial software is developed by professionals who do not consider these items. Because of this, you as a financial service executive have to demand this sort of thinking from your vendor. In order for you to increase the activity and customer engagement this process has to work seamlessly and it cannot be achieved if holistic thinking is not utilized.
Your end customer has to be able to manage their cash very easily. Think about deposits, withdrawals and currency exchange among other things. Your customer should be able to handle these basic tasks without any hassle. They should not have to think about settlement dates following their sales and that you will charge them interest on deficits if they make a withdrawal before the settlement of a sale has occurred. The end customer has to receive this information in a very transparent way.
What are some of the questions that you have to address in this interaction?
- Do I have to make any currency exchanges in order to withdraw my funds? If so, how do I do that?
- Can I conduct real time currency exchange or when will the exchange be executed?
- Can I make international transfers?
- How long does it take to transfer funds in or out?
The end customer requires a few types of reports to manage tax and monitor performance. Availability of reports should naturally be 24/7 and reports should be available for both advanced and basic users.
Instead of just presenting the customer with x-number of reports one could consider a more wizard-like approach where the customer could select which metric that is of interest or the actual need to be fulfilled. How does holistic thinking play into this part? Well, everything that occurs on the customer account has to be reflected in real time in order to avoid confusion, this means that you cannot use separate systems for the reporting but everything needs to be viewed as a whole!
This is where you as a financial service company have the possibility to really interact with your customer. You should be able to communicate with your customer based on what actions your customer has taken, what holdings exist or other types of information that should be available to you. Sure, you could work with a 3rd party CRM which is integrated or work with exports and imports of data between those systems but again, this would decrease efficiency and increase costs.
Use your holistic thinking here and demand a solution where everything can be done as a whole!