With the world’s leading FinTech event LendIt USA around the corner, we catch up with CEO Bill Safran to talk about the future of banking, fintech and customer experience.
Bill, we have seen a boom in the number of fintech companies globally. In your opinion, why are fintech-banking partnerships so valuable?
Through their innovation, I think fintech companies allow established brands to almost become challenger organisations themselves. Naturally, implementing major changes from within a large organisation can be difficult, hence we often see problems caused by legacy systems.
Naturally, implementing major changes from within a large organisation can be difficult, hence we often see problems caused by legacy systems.
But by thinking outside of the box and tackling the problems affecting Financial Services organisations at a much quicker pace- whether that be in terms of meeting regulations, enhancing customer experience, increasing transparency and so on – fintechs have been able to deliver real value to both banks and their customers.
Why is it that customer experience has become much more important in banking?
What we are seeing in the banking industry, and incidentally across other sectors too, is that customers are simply no longer willing to accept substandard performance.
The rise of comparison sites, social media and internet forums has meant customers are now much more aware of the banks that are excelling and those that are lagging behind.
I think it is important to emphasise that enhancing customer experience isn’t just a trend within the banking industry. Year on year, the media and key analysts highlight CX as the most important area for improvement within financial services organisations.
The rise of fintech companies in particular have really facilitated a drive towards higher standards and so this is something I see dominating for years to come.
Why do you think customers are expecting more?
I think there are probably several reasons for this. In recent years, challenger organisations like Amazon and Apple have set a new standard for service delivery and this has now extended beyond the retail sector. At least from the customers perspective, if they can deliver then financial service organisations should be able to too.
Equally, I think there is a perception amongst customers that many of the products and services offered by different banks are largely the same. This means that ‘value’ for the customer starts to be defined by something else, and for many this has originated in the experience they have had, and how easy it was to interact with the bank.
With the rise of AI and automation, do you see a role for the human in the future of banking?
Absolutely. AI and automation is undoubtedly exciting and the potential for enhanced customer experience, improved efficiency and cost reduction is huge.
However, I think in the discussions surrounding automation and the future of the human, it can often appear that there are only two ‘sides’, both seemingly pitted against each other.
On the one hand there are those who predict a humanless robotic base for serving customers, while at the other end there are those who advocate a completely human solution.
This vision is too simplistic and actually means that we lose sight of the most likely scenario.
Personally, in the future I see that simple repetitive tasks will be the domain of robots while complex, emotional or high value transactions will still largely remain with human agents, augmented with technological tools to enhance and streamline interactions.
One ought to remember that while paperwork and processes can often be automated, it is much harder to artificially recreate the valuable reassuring support that speaking to another human provides.
3 days to go until LendIt FinTech. What are you most excited about?
We are thrilled to be exhibiting at LendIt, especially because it marks Vizolution’s launch into North America. We have tremendous success with our clients in the UK and Europe and we anticipate an equally strong impact here. LendIt is the world’s largest financial technology event, so I am very much looking forward to meeting with other FinTech organisations and clients alike.