Author Archives: Brad Hill

Brad Hill
Brad is our business development director for the Central & Mountain regions of the US. He is based out of Dallas, Texas. In a career spanning 20+ years, Brad has crafted Services and SaaS solutions with a focus on large account sales, account management, and enterprise software development. With experience across retail, CPG, financial services and technology, Brad believes there is a vast ocean of opportunities for enterprises in Design Thinking, UX/UI, Analytics and emerging technologies.
Mobile Opinion

From Design Thinking to Design Doing – Webinar Overview

As enterprises face the new-order of the world, they are also gearing up for the evolving business challenges that are likely to get more complex in the coming months. Design Thinking principles can help businesses understand consumers better, empathize with them, and uncover valuable insights about their stated and latent needs & pain points.

In this context, in our first webinar of the Design Thinking series – ‘Facilitating Remote Design Thinking’ we discussed how remote working and Design Thinking which are often viewed as two separate entities can be integrated together to drive-in measurable results.

Taking the conversation ahead, the second webinar in this series – From Design Thinking to Design Doing, was aimed at discussing how the rapidly evolving business challenges present an opportunity for enterprises to apply Design Thinking principles to gain insights into customer pain points, understand user behavior and thus solve real-world problems for enterprises.

In this webinar, Pooja Bal, our Head of Digital Advisory Practice and Priyanka Shroff our Associate Director took participants through an in-depth process of how to progress from Design Thinking to Design Doing using product management tools and techniques. During the course of the webinar, they shared insightful examples based on their rich experience in Design Thinking with clients in various domains across the globe.

The discussion helped participants learn:

  • The new mindset – the paradigm shift in the outlook that is required to move from a static to the dynamic transition of Design Thinking and understand how it can be put into action, beyond theory.
  • The process of ‘Design Thinking to Design Doing’ – decoding the how of the Design Thinking process. This process is divided into three phases:

The process of ‘Design Thinking to Design Doing

Phase 1: Immerse: Empathize, Define, Ideate

Empathizing allows in setting aside preconceived assumptions and gain insights into the user’s real needs. In the subsequent steps these insights are analyzed and the core problem is defined. The final step of this phase is ideating; which can open up innumerable possibilities to innovate and build a product.

Phase 2: Imagine and Imbibe: MVP, Prototype, Usability Testing

Creating an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) which is the smallest possible version of the product that can be used to run an experiment and test a hypothesis to understand the feasibility of the product. The Prototyping and Usability testing steps of this phase are often done concurrently and can provide immense opportunities to learn faster about the end-user and apply those insights while developing the final product.

Phase 3: How to iterate and Invest: Analyze, Build, Test

This phase focuses on how to build and scale the product using Agile and DevOps concepts.

  • Business impact – examples of how this process enabled few of our clients meet business goals, increase profitability, and achieve the desired numbers.

In conclusion, the journey from Design Thinking to Design Doing is an iterative process that helps enterprises understand their user pain points, conduct faster experiments, and finally build a product that drives business results.

Here’s the webinar video for detailed insights on the Design Thinking to Design Doing process.

If you’d like to know more about how to drive the remote design thinking process at your enterprise, please feel free to drop me an email at [email protected].

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Mobile Opinion

Facilitating Remote Design Thinking – Webinar Overview

As enterprises rightly focus on health & safety in these challenging times, employees are trying to utilize this period to upskill. In a bid to turn the lock-down period into opportunities for collaborative learning, we at Robosoft Technologies are organizing a series of webinars. Pooja Bal, our Head of Digital Advisory Practice and Priyanka Shroff our Associate Director – Design Strategy, successfully conducted the first webinar on Facilitating Remote Design Thinking.

Remote working and Design Thinking are often viewed as two separate entities that cannot be integrated together to drive-in measurable results. Through this webinar we’ve attempted to bust this myth and talk about how their common value systems can maximize product efficiency & growth.

Here are a few common value systems of remote working & design thinking:

  • Bring-in better results when the teams are multidisciplinary
  • Better visualization to share collective knowledge
  • Increase team motivation and collaboration
  • Optimize operational efficiency across industries & diverse geographies

The 3 phases of the remote design thinking process are commencement, co-creation and consolidation. To ensure successful product execution and seamless transitioning of these processes, it is important to gain insights on the functionalities of the top tools and best practices that can facilitate this journey.

An Overview of all the Design Thinking Stages & Tools:

An Overview of all the Design Thinking Stages & Tools

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to remote design thinking that is product or industry-specific, selecting the most appropriate tools and techniques depends on the customer goals you wish to accomplish. It is recommended that one conducts a few mock sessions to get started with a hands-on approach. This exercise will help in gauging the experience with these tools and give you the flexibility to mold these tools to elevate your team participation and the end–outcomes.

Here’s the webinar video for more insights into the tools and best practices that can help you accelerate your journey into the remote design thinking realm.

If you’d like to know more about how to drive the remote design thinking process at your enterprise, please feel free to drop me an email at [email protected].

I hope you found this webinar overview useful and look forward to joining us in our future webinars on other topics pertaining to Design Thinking and specific domains.

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Mobile Opinion

Top Technologies & UX Best Practices Driving the Tourism & Hospitality Industry – Part 2

The former article of this series outlines the various technologies that are driving the travel and tourism industry.  In this article, we will discuss some of the most crucial UX Design strategies from top travel brands that can help enterprises in this niche to increase customer engagement, acquisition and make the most of their digital presence.

As a travel enterprise closely integrated with Technology, it is imperative to understand the finer nuances and underlying factors that influence customer decisions, which to a large extent, can be determined by the website’s UX Design.

UX Design is the process of creating products, processes, services, and omnichannel journeys that provide relevant and pleasant user experiences. It can also be used as a measure to monitor, control, and refine your digital presence to ensure it addresses the core requirements of your audience. Invariably your customer responses and reactions are all great hallmarks of the efficiency of the site’s user experience design.

“In order to achieve high-quality user experience … there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design.” –

Nielson-Norman Group

Let’s explore some of the essential UX principles that Travel Brands can integrate as part of their website design.

1. Neat Layout with Easy Navigation

Users need to know where to begin. As the homepage receives most clicks, engaging content, and a clean layout with an easy navigation process, that prompts the next steps at the homepage can help to increase engagement and keep visitors on your site.  Too many options, search forms, and offers cluttered with no clear indication of where to head next can lead to page exits.’s home page is a good reference of UX done right. The content and layout is neat and simple, with clearly segmented categories, including a mention of the average price based on the location, enabling users to choose based on their budget.

Neat Layout with Easy Navigation

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‘ has everything for your trip’ ‘Browse by property type’  ‘Homes guests love’ ‘Get inspiration for your next trip’ & more of such messaging on their homepage that helps to garner customer confidence, invariably driving a positive action. Each element supports & enhances the other, a perfect instance of a great UX design.

2. High Impact Imagery

A strong visual element, especially for a travel website, helps in invoking a greater connection, where users can get a feel of the holiday experience through high impact imagery. While a lot of brands use stock photos, an effective way to go about this is to invite users to share photographs as Tripadvisor does.  TripAdvisor spices up its content by sharing user-generated images that are real and provoke user emotions that lead to greater customer loyalty.

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3. Keep It Simple

It’s always a good idea to keep things simple and focus on important information. This helps users consume information that is connected with action. Most websites overload users with too much information resulting in a heavy cognitive overload. Yes, it’s quite tempting to squeeze all special offers on the homepage, but keeping it simple lets the user focus on the main task. Trivago follows this UX principle well. It understands customers’ objectives and presents them with a clear and clutter-free search experience. Top suggestions are arranged in a neat grid with attractive thumbnails accomplishing both key aspects of UX, visually inspiring with easy navigation.

Keep It Simple

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4. Have a Progress Tracker

Progress trackers are designed to guide users through a multi-step process in order to complete a specified process. A travel site with a well-designed progress tracker can keep users informed about the steps they have completed, the section they are currently on, the tasks that remain, and gives them a quick peek into where they stand in the buying cycle. This feature is a must-have for airlines, which helps users to logically structure the booking process while making it easy and intuitive, thereby maximizing conversion rates.

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5. Use an Interactive Map

While locating an address, it is most likely that we look for a visual representation through a map or GPS. This is because it’s much simpler to understand the visual navigation, more so when you can view your destination or travel route.

An interactive map enables users with a dynamic method to screen holiday destinations. Travelers mostly prefer maps that refresh search parameters based on geography or destination-based pricing and find important landmarks, nearby events, and locations.

6. Personalize Messaging

It is reported that returning users are 2x more likely to make a purchase during a session. Personalizing the site based on your core user personas can have a great impact on results. Demarcate messaging for new visitors and returning visitors. Inspire new visitors by offering recommendations on popular locations. On the other hand, greet returning visitors with recently searched offers, which gives them a personalized experience.

7. Smart Calendars

Finding the right flight deals can be a long and tedious process and additionally get tough when the prices are volatile. Skyscanner makes search extremely easy based on its users. Choosing the dates on its calendar is extremely easy, an important UX parameter to have dates of the previous month and the subsequent month. Based on the flexibility of the user’s travel dates, Skyscanner also highlights the options of choosing months when the airfares are most economical.

Smart calendars

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8. Use Action Verbs

Let’s admit it; a good copy is often an afterthought in UX. But a reassuring message can ease the anxiety related to the booking by giving more context and insights into the best options based on user dynamics. Also, action-focused words like ‘Discover,’ ‘See’ ‘Explore’ like on AirBnB’s site drives greater engagement, moving users from a passive to an active state. If you aspire to increase your site’s user experience by the virtue of your copy, don’t hesitate to use action verbs and optimize your site’s performance.

Use Action Verbs

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9. Streamline Forms

Too many fields and misleading content in the forms often lead to instant exits. One of the most crucial elements in a travel site is to streamline the forms with clear categories and sections that enable quick and easy action. Here’s a peek at’s search form on its homepage. The forms are hidden inside a handy horizontal tabbed navigation segment, and the tabs include different search forms related to their core services, enabling users to navigate to the service they are interested in directly. Quick, efficient & seamless – best UX attributes in a nutshell.

Streamline Forms

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10. Make a Personal Impact

Increase user engagement with personal stories from customers. Social proof like testimonials, reviews, and brief travel journals can maximize your brand value, credibility, and overall performance. Invite your customers to talk about the positive experiences that made a memorable travel experience along with images that they will be willing to share online. Adventures of real people are always interesting and more inspiring than stock images and marketing babble.

11. Include Related Products & Benefits

Just like big e-Commerce players, include recommendations of related products and services based on popular choice and user search. The trick is not to sound pushy while letting users know of the various gamut of options available and associated benefits that can elevate their travel experience. Given that consumers today opt for luxury and comfort, it’s a good idea to use words that connote the experience like ‘indulgent’, ‘pamper’, ‘comfort’, and the like.

While customer satisfaction is one of the hallmarks of your sites UX design, no UX Design principle or technology mix can guarantee a satisfactory user experience. Brands need to identify the right combination of UX principles and a host of other diversified experiences like customer journey maps and human-centered design principles that align with their offerings. The need of the hour is for travel brands to constantly evolve alongside their customer requirements that are spoilt for choice with the mounting competition offering similar services. The trick is to stick to the core customer values you offer as a brand and ensure that these are deeply integrated as part of your user experience design.

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Mobile Opinion

Top Technologies & UX Best Practices Driving the Tourism & Hospitality Industry – Part 1

Digitization has enabled industries to accelerate growth by providing solutions to target a wider audience, reach it faster, and deliver their services more efficiently.

Consumers today are increasingly comfortable with no human interaction in categories like hospitality & tourism – which not too long ago preferred human interaction.

The hospitality and tourism industry has seen a massive movement towards digitized services in the last few years. Research suggests that 48% of smartphone users in the U.S. were comfortable researching, planning, and booking an entire trip using a mobile device.

What started with basic services like online booking and registration has since grown to apps facilitating shared economy like Airbnb and Uber, and mobile check-ins like from the Apple Watch.

What is Driving Digitization in the Hospitality & Tourism Industry?

The growth of an enterprise in the hospitality and tourism domain relies predominantly on the customer experience. Customer experience is about how a customer perceives the brand through all interactions across the various stages of the customer life cycle. Unlike customer service, which focuses on the specific interaction at a given time, customer experience is more of a holistic approach that takes into account the overall customer journey.

By leveraging the right technologies, travel enterprises can enhance the customer experience while maximizing customer acquisition, engagement & retention. The Atlantis in Dubai, for example, has a Virtual Tour video on YouTube that allows users to experience the hotel even before stepping out of their house.

Another major contributor in the shift towards digitization in the hospitality and tourism sector is the concept of the shared economy. Shared Economy is a peer-to-peer service made accessible over technology, for instance, Airbnb and Uber. In both cases, a consumer with a need and a peer with a solution are brought together via an application. Such P2P services have simplified the travel experience by making basic necessities like accomodation and commute more easily accessible, and have contributed towards attracting a greater percentage of consumers.

Technologies that Businesses in the Hospitality & Tourism Domain are Leveraging for Better CX

1. Chatbots, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

Hotels, airlines, and other divisions in the hospitality and tourism domain are leveraging chatbots for better customer service and communication round the clock. Today customers prefer contacting a company via chat rather than on a call; according to a report by Outgrow, 56% of people are more comfortable texting over a chat window than calling customer service, making chatbots an ideal solution. The reason for an aggressive adoption of chatbots is obvious: it saves manpower costs, eliminates wait time, minimizes errors, and maximizes efficiency with automation.

Powered by AI and Machine Learning, chatbot solutions today are capable of performing more than just basic conversations. The entire process can be automated to be triggered based on keywords entered by a customer.

In collaboration with the Government of India, we created a digital platform for Indian air travelers. We designed and developed a web portal and a mobile app that gives users realtime flight status and domestic & international flights schedule. The platform offers chatbot support for faster resolution of queries and also provides a personalized travel experience.

Another great example is FCM Travel Solutions’ Smart Assistant for Mobile, or SAM. Unlike Expedia, which is built on Facebook Messenger, SAM is a travel assistant mobile app that can be used to book flights, hotel rooms, gauge the weather at a destination, and more through a simple chat interface.

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2. Smart Rooms & Voice Assistants

Voice search and assistants have become the norm today. According to a report by Quoracreative, Google sold over 8 million Google Home models in the year 2019, and Amazon had sold over 4.1 million Echo devices in the year 2018 by Quarter 2. And, according to a report by 99firms, approximately 65% of Amazon Echo and Google Home owners state they wouldn’t go back to using keyboard input unless necessary.

A brilliant example of using Voice-enabled smart rooms for improved customer experience is Amazon’s Alexa for Hospitality by hotel giant Marriott. All smart rooms are equipped with an Alexa device that is configured for the hotel. It allows guests to control appliances within the room, ask questions about the hotel, book services like reservations, order items from the hotel, place requests with the staff, and also perform general search inquiries.

Another instance for smart rooms in hotels is Hub Hotels by Premier Inn. They provide a mobile app with which visitors can control appliances like the television and settings like the room temperature directly from the device.

3. Virtual Reality

VR technology gives potential customers an experience of their services and attractions to help them make a decision through 360-degree videos, VR hotel tours, virtual maps, etc. Another instance of VR in hospitality and tourism is the Pullman Brisbane King George Square Hotel VR Tour. The VR tour provides a complete view of the hotel from the outside, the lobby, individual rooms, services, the indoor restaurant, etc., all through a single video accessible for free on YouTube. This enables consumers to avail the ‘try before you use’ option that was, not an option previously.

4. Augmented Reality

The tourism and hospitality industry is leveraging AR to improve the customer experience through interactive hotel elements, pop up facts and information at tourist destinations, fun games like treasure hunts within resorts, etc. Here’s an instance of – AR wall map in Hub Hotels by Premier Inn, where room visitors point their AR-enabled devices to the map, and popular attractions around the city pop up on their device screen.

5. Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT goes beyond a single room or hotel and covers a tourist’s experience throughout their tour. It is enabling smart cities and is fostering smart tourism ecosystems. Airplane can install sensors that sync with flyers’ devices to track heart rate and anxiety to improve their flight experience; hotels can leverage IoT to provide visitors with Smart Room features, local businesses can provide more personalized services by learning a user’s likes and dislikes from past purchases, etc.

Some of the top applications of IoT in the tourism and hospitality sector include:

  1. Smart rooms
  2. Airplane sensors for mood monitoring
  3. Location tracking for safety
  4. Personalized marketing
  5. Easy public transportation and better connectivity
  6. Better customer service

The customer trends and growing need for personalization in the tourism and hospitality industry demand platforms and technologies that can simplify the customer experience. And technologies like Voice, Alexa Skills, AI & ML are facilitating this process exceptionally. With most industries switching to technology-based solutions, the disruption of technologies in the travel and hospitality domain will continue at a steady pace, and travel brands will continue to transform and embrace technologies that elevate the customer experience.

Part 2 of this article will outline some of the top UX Design best practices that travel brands can emulate to increase customer engagement, acquisition and retention.

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Mobile Opinion

Key Customer Journey Best Practices

Everything about the customer is changing their expectations, behavior patterns, motivations, and purchase triggers. As a result, critical customer interactions today are digital, occurring anytime, anyplace. 

Without customer journey maps in place, it can be difficult to ascertain why a customer spends so long on a certain platform or feature. Similarly, it might be challenging to understand why a customer takes several steps to transition from Point X to Point Y when it should ideally take one. A customer journey is very specific to the experiences customers have. 

Therefore, customer journey mapping serves as a compass, providing valuable insights into customers’ specific experiences throughout their interaction with your organization. Imagine being able to predict the next step of your target customer; that’s the ‘super-power’ of customer journey maps. This is the reason why 69% of businesses list the customer journey as a top investment priority this year.

What is a Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the processes a customer goes through with the enterprise to achieve a certain goal. It encompasses all the customer interactions across all devices, channels, and touchpoints through every stage of the customer lifecycle – right from awareness to brand loyalty. It is one of the most effective ways to assess the needs, motivations, and aspirations of customers and how they feel about the brand or product. 

Despite utilizing various communication channels to communicate with their customers, brands often miss-out on connecting each activity with the customer journey. They focus on individual customer interaction touchpoints devoted to onboarding, billing & servicing; in contrast, a customer journey spans a series of touchpoints end-to-end. This requires the right tools and techniques that help in viewing and analyzing the complete journey. 

So how does one go about creating customer journey maps that perfectly aligns with their core target audience? 

The crucial first step is customer journey analytics to gather inputs and insights from customers and prospects with the help of surveys, social media and website analytics, customer interaction analytics, product and service reviews, one-on-one interviews with buyers, and the like. While the process of customer journey analytics might seem extensive and exhaustive, it’s most definitely worthwhile. 

‘You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around” – Steve Jobs

The Difference between CX & Customer Journey

Customer journey and digital customer experience are not the same. A customer journey is a series of activities and steps a customer goes through to achieve the goal. On the other hand, a positive customer experience is how a customer feels about the entire process. It is the set of conscious subconscious attitudes, feelings, and beliefs regarding the process. To sum it up, the customer journey is about what they do at each stage, and CX is how they feel about the entire lifecycle. The idea is to understand the CX to refine the customer journey for a seamless & integrated experience.

The Approach to Customer Journey Mapping

In its most fundamental form, customer journey mapping begins with compiling a series of user goals and actions into a specific timeline framework. It’s an effective tool that examines the story of how a customer perceives and relates to the brand or product over time and helps in visualizing the digital customer experience of interacting with the brand from the customer’s point of view. 

The customer journey map framework is used as a blueprint to create a narrative fleshed-out with user thoughts and emotions. Subsequently, the narrative is integrated into a visualization that is used to communicate insights and guide the product’s design process. Specifically, customer journey maps should always be created to support a business goal & can be broadly split into 3 distinct stages:

Customer Journey Map Stages

Customer Journey Best Practices to Drive Growth & Loyalty

Discover the strategic approaches and actionable tips that will enable you to optimize every stage of your customer’s journey. By implementing these customer journey best practices, you can enhance customer satisfaction, drive repeat business, and ultimately fuel sustainable growth: 

  1. Set Clear Objectives – Understand the goals and set clear objectives about why you are creating a map. This will decide the buyer persona, demographics, and psychographics of who represents your average target group. Having a clear objective with a well-defined persona acts as a constant reminder to direct every aspect of your customer journey towards them.
  2. Profile Personas & Define their Goals – Conduct research and gather valuable customer feedback either through questionnaires, user testing, surveys, product and service reviews, or one-on-one interviews. The key is to reach out only to customers and prospects & those who are interested in your offerings.
  3. Enlist Crucial Touchpoints – Customer journey touchpoints are the various channels through which customers interact with your brand. According to the Genesys State of Customer Experience report, fewer than 30 percent of companies track their customers’ channel preferences. Listing down the most common customer journey touchpoint will be the one most likely to be associated with an action and the one you need to focus on.

customer journey touchpoints


  1. Determine the Resources – It is important to consider the inventory of resources you have and the ones that you will need to improve the customer’s journey. For instance, a map can serve as a powerful tool to highlight gaps in the post-purchase service; this input can be used to persuade the internal management team and operational heads to implement the right customer service tools in place and manage customer demands more efficiently.
  2. Create Cross-touchpoint Activities – While the design is important, the focus is to create an efficient journey map that includes cross-touchpoint activities, including support for multimodal interactions, moving from self-service to an assisted service, proactive notifications, and status reminders. All of these increase operational efficiency and shape customer behavior by reducing the effort and stress involved in connecting via individual customer journey touchpoints.
  3. Incorporate Predictive Routing –A proactive route to create a smooth, seamless, and positive customer experience is by incorporating predictive routing to drive optimal journey maps with AI & Machine Learning. Predictive routing incorporates these technologies to gather data and create the best customer-to-destination match and helps in identifying the factors that influence customer-to-business interactions while optimizing operations.

customer-to-destination match


  1. Explore Technologies & Designs That Enhance Experiences – Emerging technologies and platforms can greatly influence customer perceptions. Explore how real-time customer journey analytics, wearables, internet-of-things devices, and conversational interfaces can optimize your CX. Anticipate new experiences through exploratory design. Spur innovation with interactive wireframes, online testing, prototypes, and direct observation of journeys.

A customer journey map is beneficial in facilitating a common business understanding of how customers should be treated across all channels, including pre-sales, logistics, distribution, and post-sales Moreover, it helps to break down ‘organizational silos’ for more open and wider customer-focused communication. Here are a few instances of how brands optimized business and operational efficiency with customer journey maps.

Brands who Differentiated with Customer Journey

Adobe is mirroring its creative design tool prominence into reimagining its office space to inspire a cross-functional working culture that best aligns with its organizational goals, objectives, and values. 

One of the core values of Metro Bank is to offer impeccable service and convenience in its domain. It brings to life its brand promise by providing employees the means and approvals to identify ways to kill bank rules that don’t work with their audience. 

IKEA’s journeys address the friction that arises from navigating a massive parking lot or the extremely challenging path through the store with peak moments of satisfaction. For instance, it gives certain, especially widely desirable items at a huge discount, what it calls a “gasp price” at such an affordable price that it takes customers’ breath away. 

To win over and satisfy the ever-evolving needs of the digital-savvy consumer today requires deep insights, with a passion for designing distinct and personalized customer experiences, and infusing these experiences across the customer lifecycle. 

Given the value customer journey maps can drive, its scope to scale the business performance for enterprises across industries is evident. But having them is not enough; executing them to simplify the lives of your customers is the key. 


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Mobile Opinion

Emerging technologies and their role in shaping banking experiences

Can you imagine taking financial advice from sophisticated robots and AI-based apps before making an investment on a real-time basis? This will be the norm sooner than you can imagine. Online banking has become the primary interface channel for most consumers today. It is now becoming evident that the mounting pace of technological reforms is the most powerful force driving the financial services ecosystem globally.

The banking industry has seen radical technology-led transformations over the last decade. Most banking executives look to their IT support teams to maximize efficiency and facilitate groundbreaking innovation, while supporting the legacy systems & lowering costs. In the interim, FinTech start-ups are exploiting established markets and winning with customer- friendly solutions. Customers today have a slew of options and have scaled their expectations demanding agile, responsive, real-time, seamless, innovative and an integrated experience. And the pace of change & technology trends shows no sign of slowing.

As per a trend analysis from Gartner, within 12 years, “80% of financial firms will run out of business or be rendered inoperable due to changing customer expectations, competition and technology advancements.”

In 2018 alone, banks worldwide had planned to invest $9.7bn to improve and enhance their customer-facing digital banking tools. In the coming years, digital solutions in banking will include more nuanced approaches with big data, advanced analytics, and new platforms that automate tasks—enabling banks to increase both personalization and quality of customer service. To stay relevant to the ever evolving customer who is increasingly aware, time poor and tech savvy banks need to reevaluate customer interaction frameworks for a more personalized, flexible and value-driven experience.

Trends Impacting the Financial Services Industry

According to a research from Atos, the most transformational challenges and opportunities for the future of banking include, response to customer needs, cost optimization, creation of new revenue streams, developing security & compliance systems, expanding digitalization and innovation. All of these have a few things in common: a customer-centric approach, real -time & intelligent data integration & an open platform foundation. While some of these transformations would require modernization of outdated technologies & rethinking the traditional legacy models, the others would demand strategic partnerships & collaboration with Fin-tech firms. But there’s one thing that’s certain – the need for transformation. Financial firms that use advanced digital tools could potentially see a 30% reduction in IT costs if implemented effectively.

The choice is clear – lead the industry with customer-friendly digital experiences or be led by the competition.

The banking landscape is set to evolve at a greater magnitude in the next few years. While safety-features like biometrics and cryptography will explore ways to arrest scams faster, technology applications will make banking more of a virtual experience without having to visit one. The good news is that many of the new technologies that are threatening the banking industry today also present significant opportunities. Organizations that can capture analytics, data and technologies to enhance user experience can inspire customer trust which is the key contributor to success.

Here are 6 technologies banks must consider, to deliver an exemplary customer experience:

Here are 6 technologies banks must consider, to deliver an exemplary customer experience

1. Personalize with AI

The benefits of using Artificial Intelligence in banks and credit unions include optimizing back-end operations, data management, customer experience, compliance, product delivery and risk management. It’s not just about products and services on a well-integrated digital interface anymore; customers expect personalized experiences that are aligned with their preferences and behavior patterns. In other words, they expect you to give them practical & profitable alternatives that they did not think of themselves. Customers want you to assess their financial moves and reward them regardless of the platform they use. Bank of America piloted its popular chatbot, Erica, in late 2017 and boasts of 6 million users as of March 2019. With AI-backed models, the potential to transform banking experiences with a holistic overview of the customer behavior is truly exponential. What’s needed is a robust integration of an AI model infused with human expertise to provide personalized experiences for different customer prototypes.

2. Voice-ready banking

Just as how voice assistant Alexa was unfathomable a decade ago, so will be the trend for banking experiences without voice-first devices, where more than 50% of banking interactions will be voice-based.

As per a report from Analyst Firm Juniper Research, voice-based commerce will reach $80 billion by 2023. Voice-first devices are becoming an integral tool with consumers accomplishing tasks such as shopping, banking and home automation more seamlessly, due to which many banks and credit unions are taking to voice-first applications. Moving from the basic dialogues & account inquiries to more sophisticated transactions like executing payments, account transfers & setting account alerts using voice commands.

3. Instant Payment Gateways

The payments industry is by far one of the most dynamic areas of innovation in the banking industry. With the heightened surge of instant payment platforms, banks can influence greater customer satisfaction with customers expecting faster & seamless payment experiences.

Today, instant payment methods are available across most countries and a few where banks collaborate to offer an instant P2P payment experience, catering to a larger customer base. While large fintech firms, tech players and financial institutions continue to innovate based on evolving customer expectations and technology advances, this industry will soon be a part of everything customers do. Innovative payment trends will occur in conjunction with the Internet of Things (IoT), point of sale (POS), mobile wallets, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain. By diversifying and infusing instant payment capabilities across the e- and m-commerce space, banks and credit unions have a greater scope to build an innovative portfolio of customer-friendly services. And organizations that value customer payment insights as an intellectual organizational asset, can further segment and create personalized customer experiences basis their core behavior patterns.

4. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

The robotic process automation refers to the use of virtual assistants that can perform repetitive and laborious tasks; making it ideal for the banking industry. As per a report from P&S Market Research, the global RPA market is expected to reach $8.6 billion by 2023. RPA in banking can disrupt the business-process-outsourcing models, as it minimizes costs while maximizing productivity.

The robotic process automation (RPA) is assisting banks to create meaningful customer engagement that is real time, quick, efficient and productive. It helps in executing pre-programmed rules across structured & unstructured data, for both customer-facing and back-office functions. RPA helps in minimizing costs & simplifies compliance with detailed logs to extract automated reports & enables automated decisions, based on previous data patterns, eliminating room for human error.

Deutsche Bank is deploying RPA to manage repetitive tasks more efficiently. It has reported 30- to 70-percent automation in areas where software is integrated and noted a remarkable decrease in the time required for employee training. With effective RPA implementation, banks can reduce manual work and enable banking executives to focus on the more complex strategy driven tasks.

5. Open Banking with API Platforms

Open Banking is based on open application programming interfaces (APIs), that allow trusted third-party developers to build services & technology interface for financial institutions.

APIs help to develop innovative products for a better customer experience, where the bank serves as a platform, over which third party companies build applications using the bank’s data. In this context, the Mastercard offering is designed to assist open banking efforts in better connectivity, consulting, dispute resolution and security & compliance. Emphasizing how Europe and its regulators inspired the Open Banking and the associated PSD2 regulatory regime, the Mastercard service is currently focused around UK & Poland and includes several payment and financial service providers including Alior Bank and Kikapay. Mastercard’s vision is to develop a host of Open banking services with optimal standards of clarity and consistency. If you are looking to deliver financial innovations, API partnerships are the fastest way to get there.

6. Wearable Technology

Being able to pay with just a gesture takes a lot more than a gadget on your wrist. It requires a huge amount of data available anytime, anywhere. The device needs to store payment & location information while authenticating the user, to avoid fraudulent transactions. This is possible through a host of technologies like sensors, communication devices, servers, analytics engines, and decision-making aids that gather data and analyze it before making any decisions.

Wearables offer extensive personalization with an individual focus to every single customer. Banks can use Bluetooth beacons for personal greetings every time a customer enters or exits a location via their smart watches. Smart glasses can help bank tellers process customer banking information while simultaneously doing other customer service tasks, as per a report from Deloitte. The ever-evolving consumer behavior and smart device trends are scaling the consumer banking experience to a whole new level of convenience. Wearable Technology helps to seek customer insights through interaction with other apps, services and technology. Embracing the technology crossover for instance is an ideal method to achieve this. Delivering a bank statement to a customer’s Apple watch or enabling them to make voice-based transactions while driving are two examples of how the banking interactions can be a part of the customer life cycle without being intrusive.

The Way Forward

The pace of the banking technology landscape is increasing and shows no sign of slowing. To excel in this rapidly evolving ecosystem, financial institutions need to devise a clear strategy with a laser-sharp focus on customer preferences; even if this means partnering with FinTech firms or adapting strategies from other industries. Here’s what you can get started with:

  1. Minimize costs by simplifying legacy systems
  2. Develop technological capabilities that can help predict customer intent & retrieve behavior patterns
  3. Build an integrated & user-friendly architecture to connect to anything, anywhere

While all these priorities are equally important and most certainly achievable, to stay relevant, the trick is to combine short-term & long-term initiatives that are aligned to your overall brand vision.


Even with the best of technologies in place, no one can predict what the future holds for the banking industry. What seems certain however, is that the disruption in the banking sector will continue at a steady pace and banks will continue to transform and embrace digital technologies that are here to simplify the customer experience. Developing a proactive approach rather than responding to trends will define your success in the long run. There is no single technology that is a universal solution, finding the right combination that aligns with your vision will determine your success in the near future.

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Mobile Opinion

How to Write an RFP for a Successful Digital Partnership

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study suggests that out of 10,640 projects done by 200 companies across the globe, only 2.5% managed to complete 100% of their IT projects. Lack of planning, resources, and activities are some of the reasons for this rate of failure. However, organizations are now working towards reducing the rate of project failure. According to a report by Project Management Institute the project failure rate has substantially reduced from 70% to 55% in 2017. Some of the factors that have contributed to the reduction of failure rate are using a strategic approach to project management and adopting an Agile approach.

RFP is the first step towards starting the journey towards a successful project. From repeated delays in software releases, exceeding budgets to development issues these predictable obstacles can be avoided by writing a succinct request for proposal (RFP).

In this article, we have collated more than ten best practices to follow while writing an RFP that can build a successful digital partnership.

Project Overview

The first step to creating a quality RFP is to introduce the purpose of your proposal. Clearly state the goals, metrics, and ROI the RFP is designed to address. Be brief and to the point in this section, as more details about the project will follow in the subsequent section. The overview should provide a view of your business objective, baseline goals, and proposed solution.

Company Background

Clearly articulate your business and the services or solutions your enterprise provides. Chances are that the service provider is unfamiliar with your organization and has questions even after visiting your website. You should talk about what makes your company unique and why the project you are working on matters.

Project Goals & Target Audience

Clearly explain your goals and what you intend to accomplish with the project. Prioritize the goals so the vendor will understand the relative importance and can respond accordingly. Describe the end user or the target audience of the project. If there are multiple users clearly define each as this will help the vendor understand the overall scope and reach of the project. For example, the main target audience may be “consumers”, but be sure to define other user groups such as “administrators, content providers, suppliers, etc.” The clearer you are, the better the responses will be to the RFP, which in turn will allow you to make better decisions and produce more quantifiable outcomes.

Scope and Deliverables

This is the part where you will elaborate on the scope and key deliverables for the project. Describe the features, functions along with the associated deliverables with as much detail as possible. If you can, provide examples from other projects or describe how the end user will use the feature. If there is a specific technology you require, include that in the scope description. Don’t forget to define ongoing support requirements and SLAs (Service Level Agreements) as part of the scope. These are often overlooked at the beginning of a project and can cause cost overruns in the end. Include any documentation that supports the scope such as wireframes, technical architecture or user personas.

Project Timeline

Even though you may not know the actual timeline to complete the project, you should provide the desired dates for critical milestones. This will allow the vendor to provide reasonable estimates for the duration of each project phase. If there is a hard deadline to be met, be upfront about it.

Looking to craft compelling digital experiences for your enterprise? Here’s a handy template you can refer to. Download now.

Technical Requirements

This is one of the most critical section of an RFP. This will lay out all the technical and complex requirements of the project. This section should clearly outline both technical and functional requirements for the project. For instance, if your project requires a design solution to be done, then the details and the expectations like user-friendliness, accessibility, compatibility with multiple devices, etc. should be mentioned here. Some other key points that can be included in this section could be:

  • Infrastructure requirements and guidelines – details of the infrastructure like a requirement of a cloud platform details of the deployment environment, etc. should be captured here.
  • Operating model requirements – This should capture the dependencies and the expectations from the operating model from the vendor.
  • Functional requirements pertaining to both front-end and back-end should be added in this section.

Main Point of Contact

Generally, there should be a single point of contact that the vendors can reach out to with questions and comments. It is also useful to provide the names and contact details for critical members of the client project team. For example, the technical and UX lead, project sponsors and SMEs. Allowing access to these people will improve the accuracy of the vendor’s response.

Budget and Selection Criteria

Be open about your budget, even if it is only an estimate. Providing the service provider with a target budget is a part of setting clear expectations and ensuring you get a quality response. Some clients do not provide a budget target in RFPs, assuming that the vendors will provide lower estimates. In actuality, the result is usually budgets that vary widely by the vendor which makes it difficult to accurately compare scope, effort, and cost.

You should also include the selection criteria you will use to award the project and evaluate the vendors. Vendors that do not meet those requirements should be excluded at the beginning of the RFP process, not at the end. This will save everyone time and effort.

Finally, in some industries (government, education and financial services), there are legal and regulatory requirements for selecting a vendor for a project. Be sure to address those in the preparation of the RFP.

Ongoing Support

One of the questions you must answer when preparing an RFP is, will the project require ongoing support post-launch? Some clients have their own in-house support team for bug fixes, maintaining uptime, providing reporting and analytics. For these clients, it is a best practice to include a “transition period” in the RFP that allows the vendor time and budget to educate the in-house support team on how to support the project long term.

If you will need the vendor to provide ongoing support, establish clearly the expectations around SLAs (Service Level Agreements), escalation and communication channels. Some vendors are not set up for long term ongoing support, and knowing that could be a critical decision point in selecting a vendor.

Provide Example and Samples

If your project has been inspired by other products in the industry, provide a few examples of it. Whether it is the design, the overall experience, or any other specific, discrete feature, explain what you like about them and why. When you give samples of the things you want, you are able to better explain your vision and clarify any doubts that the vendor may have.

The Format of your Proposal

Are you supposed to submit the proposal in a set PDF or an MS Word format? Are you required to sign and notarize the hard copies? Is there a specific font and format to be used (single or double space)? These are some of the questions that you need to keep in mind while writing an RFP. While all these may seem to be standard questions, it is often overlooked by the writers.

Final Thoughts

Great RFPs are easy to write provided you know what to include in them. These are some of the essential elements of an RFP that can help you forge lasting relationships with the vendor. Even though these points may appear overwhelming, but chances are that you already know about them and are including it in your RFP. But, this isn’t an exhaustive list of things that can be included. If you know where to put what content then you can make the vendor’s life easier in deciding whether to respond to the RFP or not.

An in-depth RFP shows that you have invested time in thinking through the details and are serious about the completion of your project. After all, the better the RFP is articulated, the better will be the vendor response.

An exhaustive, in-depth RFP is critical for selecting the right vendor and ensuring that there are no mismatches between the expectations from a project and deliverables. As they say ‘well begun is half done’, a well written RFP is the first step to ensure successful on-time project completion.

At Robosoft, we believe in simplifying lives through delightful digital experiences. Across enterprises, digital product owners and IT Services teams are responsible for initiating, overseeing and executing mission-critical software projects. All of these involve decision making which can impact the success of the project – from selecting the right digital partner to the writing a comprehensive RFP. Through a series of blogs, we will attempt to provide useful guides for such digital journeys. Our first one is about writing an effective RFP. We hope you find it useful. Got a suggestion? Write to us.

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Mobile Opinion

How to Create a Digital Experience that Engages New Customers

Digital technology has changed the way that companies conduct business. Mobile app development companies have begun integrating ways to track and gather user data in their products for research purposes. One study found that while the average American spent 9.4 hours online each week in 2000, the number had risen to 23.6 by 2018. This is a clear opportunity for companies to interact with their consumers.

A digital experience entails any interaction between a user and an organization that is only possible through the use of digital technology. Spending almost one full day a week online, the average American is a prime target to be reached in this fashion. Why not take advantage of it?

Three ways that you can provide a great digital experience that will engage new customers is by personalizing and customizing messages, integrating social media, and implementing intuitive and responsive web design.

Personalize and Customize

One of the best ways to find a solution to any problem is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Ask yourself, “What are my user’s motivations?” It is not an easy question to answer without some research. Thankfully, technology has made this kind of information more accessible by collecting user data whenever people use products.

You can create personalized messaging for your individual customers. For instance, a header that resonates with the user can grab their attention and break through the clutter. Personalized calls to action are 202% more effective than generic ones. Mobile app development companies can also help you develop personalized push notifications for your app’s users.

Netflix is one of the companies leading the way when it comes to personalization. It’s well known that the streaming service will recommend TV shows and movies based off of what you have already watched.

However, Netflix takes it a step further by customizing the programs’ images to highlight the stars you will recognize from shows and movies they know you have seen before and enjoy.

There are a lot of different forms of data that can help you personalize each customer’s experience. When you keep track of what they have purchased in the past, you can offer discounts and recommendations that they will be more likely to use.

Personalization and customization will help your digital experience stand out to users.

Integrate Social Media

In addition to spending a significant portion of their week on the internet, almost 80% of Americans have at least one social media account.

Your website should include links to all of your social media channels. On social media, customers can ask questions that you can answer directly in a short amount of time. Any time that customers make a positive comment, you can easily share it with all of your followers or connections.

Social media can foster a community and can help make your company appear more relatable. All of your channels should be active and fun in an attempt to spark conversations with your customers. Posting and sharing visuals and videos are a great way to get people talking or sharing.

Patagonia’s Instagram has almost 4 million followers and mostly shares images of people using their products. As an outdoor apparel company, they also share a lot of stories about causes that they think are important to their users and their brand, like sustainability and wilderness protection.

Patagonia’s Instagram

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Ecommerce sites often use videos to showcase products. Sharing them on social media gives customers the chance to see the product in use which was previously only possible by physically going to the store.

Social media is a great way for users to build a relationship with your brand and informing them about topics you will both find interesting and important.

Implement Intuitive and Responsive Web Design

Web design may be one of the most important parts of the digital experience. For many people, their first digital interaction with your brand on their computer is on your website. Make a lasting impression by incorporating visuals and easy-to-use navigation. Visuals can break up each page and help make the site easier to read while intuitive navigation will keep visitors from getting frustrated.

The entire site should make your branding stand out with its design and color. Your web copy should have fresh and distinct wording that matches your brand voice across other channels.

Cultivated Wit is a creative studio that uses its about page to show off the kind of copy that they like to write and the type of work that they can deliver. It’s clear that Cultivated Wit’s mission is to make complicated ideas more understandable and products more fun by using humor, slick design, and a creative use of technology.


Cultivated Wit is a creative

Cultivated Wit is a creative studio1

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Recalling that the best way to provide a better experience for your consumers is by putting yourself in their shoes, think about how consumers would interact with your web page and direct them to the most important pages you want them to see.

A web design that encourages user interaction with your brand can increase engagement. Integrating a point system and competition can help you turn user interaction into a game and keep users coming back.

Building an easy-to-use site with game elements will give your brand another way to engage with users.

Make Your Digital Experience Worthwhile for Your Business and Your Consumers

Getting your customers to interact with your brand is the most important step toward getting them to repurchase.

If a consumer never interacts with your brand, then that person will never get the chance to buy your service or product.

Personalization and customization can stand out and grab your target audience’s attention. Then, integrating social media will help you build your relationship with your audience in a casual, more relatable environment.

Finally, an intuitive and responsive web design will make it easier for consumers to find things on your site and become loyal customers.

Create a valuable digital experience and watch your engagement, traffic, and sales increase.

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