Author Archives: Rajeev Rajagopal

Rajeev Rajagopal
Rajeev Rajagopal is our Executive VP - India Business. He has worked in Banking, Payments and Telecommunications domains in his career. He has led and managed all stages of product incubation, software design and development life cycle and solution engineering.
Customer Experience Digital Transformation Enterprise Applications Fintech Insurance

FinServe trends post COVID-19: Multiexperience, Embedded banking, Platformification, Personalization & More

Like many other industries COVID-19 significantly impacted the Banking & Financial Services Industry too. Though the lockdown norms are being relaxed slowly, customer behavior has changed drastically. Customers no longer visit offline branches to conduct their financial transactions. They are wary of venturing outside their homes and for them to regain confidence in the in-person branch visits will not happen soon. As a result, financial institutions are forced to focus their customer targeting efforts on channels that are readily available via digital mediums.

The fact of the matter is for banks, financial institutions, and insurance companies, the face to face interaction that worked well in offline branches has to be maintained online. This is seen as a huge challenge for them. Hence, there needs to be a total shift in company tactics that can somehow retain that human connection with customers. The financial sector is poised to undergo a drastic change in the near future and customers should be ready for that change.

Let us take a look back in the pre-COVID19 period as a tipping point between the new normal and the post-COVID era. In a recent research conducted by the Digital Banking Report around digital transformation, customer experience, use of data and advanced analytics, innovation, and technology, it was clear that the financial industry leaders already knew what needed to be done, and in many cases, how to proceed. With COVID19 the pace of adapting and digitally evolving has accelerated, bringing a new opportunity as well to build loyalty among consumers.

In the new normal, financial institutions witnessed an environment where the way work, how consumers bank, how employees learn new skills and how brands are perceived are all different. The degree to which these changes take root is driven by both business and societal dynamics as well as how long it takes to move to a new equilibrium.

In a special report, After the Virus, Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work examines the implications of COVID-19 five years from now as it relates to work, education, entertainment, e-commerce, human engagement, and the environmental agenda. The report presents some interesting insights to lay a foundation of what the banking industry must do to fast forward their business strategy and keep abreast with the changing consumer behavior and better position themselves as future-ready.

In this article, we will take a look at some critical factors that financial institutions and banks need to take on an immediate basis to adapt to the new normal and remain competitive.

Critical factors for financial institutions and banks to adapt to the new normal and remain competitive

Multi-experience for financial services will remain to be top technology trends in 2020

As per Gartner reports, Multiexperience remains to be amongst the top technology trends of 2020 and is poised to replace technology-literate people with people-literate technology. Instead of people getting accustomed to the evolving technologies, it will so happen that the technology will evolve to understand the people better.

Multi-experience is all about leveraging various modalities, digital touchpoints, apps, and devices to design and develop a seamless experience for the customers. The idea is to interact with the customers at as many touchpoints as possible to offer a consistent customer experience across the web, mobile, app, and other modalities.

We need to take note that multi-experience is not omnichannel. While omnichannel involves tapping the user touchpoints across all the channels, multi-experience is about developing effortless customer experiences across apps, websites, and modalities of voice, touch, and text, irrespective of the channel.

The key difference between omnichannel and multi-experience is the core. Omnichannel is all about technology, whereas, multi-experience is all about people. This difference marks the shift from technology-literate people to people-literate technology.

Here’s a four-step multi-experience model proposed by Jason Wong, Research Vice President to apply multi-experience to a digital user journey:

  • Sync me: Storing a user’s information, which the user can find and access anytime.
  • See me: Understanding a user’s context, location, situation, historical preferences, and then offering better information and interaction to the user.
  • Know me: Using predictive analytics to make suggestions to the user
  • Be me: Acting on the user’s behalf, when given permission, and making the best decision for the user.

If we talk about financial services, Fintech is promoting a vision of a world without banks. Blockchains and cryptocurrencies are funding transactions without paper money or credit cards. Robo-advisers are providing portfolio management without managers. Mobile payments are turning phones into credit cards. The ability of upstart companies to provide high-performing web experiences is not hindered by legacy infrastructure — or legacy business models.

Customers want a fast, seamless, immersive, cross-channel digital experience that satisfies, and even anticipates, their needs. This is especially true of millennials, a generation quickly becoming the dominant demographic. Combine millennials’ expectations of brands in general with their fundamentally different banking and investing habits, and it’s clear that FSIs must adapt to those needs and requirements.

It’s not enough to provide exceptional experiences just for basic online activities. FSIs must prove themselves by offering complex activities, such as applying for a loan or configuring products. As institutions offer ever-more complex digital transactions, the focus on performance only increases. The reality is that today’s engaged consumers — influenced by their daily interactions on social media and other platforms — expect all sites and apps to be high performing and lightning-fast.

Not only digital but embedded banking services is the need of an hour

While not every consumer will want to do all of their banking digitally, most will expect that option in the future. Some of the banking services will include opening a new account, changing the terms of a loan, reaching a bank representative, etc. The experience must go beyond ‘just digital’ to become both seamless, simple, and user-friendly. With this, the core business of banks and financial institutions will encounter the next level of challenge. There is a question if banking will be controlled only by banks? As the challenge remains to be that customers will demand banking services to be available and integrated with different points of sale, devices, service providers etc. In short, banking services are expected to be embedded into virtually anything and everything.

Additionally, it leads to the discussion on banking service being offered in SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model, pay-per-usage, subscriptions, renewals, etc. However, these terms were never traditionally associated with banking services, gradually there is growing customer demand for such a flexible approach to payments, investments, loans and other such banking services.

Contextual engagement and personalization of Banking & Financial Services

The expectation of real-time personalized offers and messages has increased dramatically. This requires a 360-degree view of the customer journey and advanced analytics to deliver solutions across channels. Personalization is currently the number #1 banking marketing trend. While the financial sector lags in adoption of personalized customer experiences techniques, consumer loyalty is at stake if more financial institutions don’t reimagine their efforts. To note, choose financial institutions based on how well they incorporate personalized experiences.

Certain banks are taking tips from retailers on personalized customer experiences by using data analytics, coupled with artificial intelligence (AI), to offer customers personalized experiences. As per Everfi’s banking trends for 2020, international banks like the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the Royal Bank of Scotland use a model of “next best action” to follow consumers’ financial journeys, predict the future financial products or services they might need, and personalize product offerings and advice to each consumers’ unique situation or life stage.

Banking trends emphasize personalized experiences through Chatbots, and Mobile Apps

  • S. banks are using fintech in creative ways to appeal to a generation raised by technology. A mobile app packed with features is top on their list. Nearly 80 percent of consumers prefer using a single app to manage their finances.
  • More than a million Bank of America customers use an AI bot named Erica that is available through their app. Erica helps customers pay bills, shop, and more.
  • Citibank recently released a mobile app, 360º Financial View, that aggregates online financial tools and investments, even those outside Citibank. Citibank provides the all-in-one app to both current and potential customers. This allows Citibank to expand their market reach by advertising their products and services. It also gives users the option to open a new Citibank account.

It’s no surprise that personalized customer experiences dramatically improve the bottom line. Financial institutions that implemented the next best action model saw a 30 to 40% increase in sales. By anticipating customer needs and catering to them with personalized offerings, financial institutions are able to generate increased revenue, all the while meeting customer expectations around personalized experiences with their trusted banking institutions.

Digitally infused branches and platformification approach

As already adopted in other industries, financial institutions especially banks need to look beyond the standard set of services and consider platform solutions to assist consumers during select customer journeys for example; car buying, investing, loans, home purchase, etc.) They can consider their bank website to be the ‘main branch’ and all offline branches will act as secondary branches for the time being.

A financial institution’s website will be the primary go-to branch for customers where they can seek all kinds of information. The website will address all their needs and concerns just like any offline branch. If person-to-person interaction is needed, virtual consultation with the branch staff needs to be arranged. With this eventually, financial institutions can expect the number of offline branches to be reduced considerably.

But even with a few offline branches, a few leading organizations try to bring back the heyday for branches by making them engaging hangouts with increased digital services — from interactive kiosks to digital financial education modules and more.


Image Source

Branches will provide great opportunities to engage customers and provide highly personalized financial education.  We can also expect further investment in employee training and branch redesigns as they will continue to deploy digital financial tools.

Financial institutes prefer a new channel mix to enhance customer experience

With the potential for many consumers to work remotely indefinitely, financial institutions and banks opt for a new set of delivery channels which may include voice devices, video conferencing options, IoT devices, gamification methods, etc. The proliferation of mobile devices and shifting preferences among demographic groups mean that customers expect more real-time, cross-channel capabilities (such as status inquiries and problem resolution) than ever before. Physical distribution will still be relevant but far less important, and banks must learn to deliver services with a compelling design and a seamless unconventional customer experience.

As per a McKinsey report, banks have recognized that customer expectations are increasingly being set by nonbanks. There are questions to be answered like why does a mortgage application take weeks to process? Why does it take an extra week (or two) to get a debit card online versus in a branch? Why can’t a customer make a real-time payment from his or her phone to split a dinner check? There is an urgent need for banks to respond to these questions by improving their customer experience and meeting their customers’ changing expectations. Financial services is the only business where you can be rejected as a customer. In an age where mobile devices provide real-time transparency on just about everything, it is critical to provide customers with information about the status of an application or what other documents are required. Account balances must be consistent across channels, and banks should consider the real time updating that an on-demand e-commerce application like Amazon provides and aim to deliver that level of transparency when it matters. Working on such innovation provides opportunities for banks to improve and differentiate their customers’ cross-channel and cross-product experiences.

Contactless technology will ignite a cashless payment surge

In a recent Capgemini Consumer Behavior Survey conducted in April 2020 done for COVID-19 and the financial services consumer, states that in the post Covid19 era digital channels and contactless technology is preferred by consumers which will ignite a cashless payment surge. More than 52% said they prefer self-service bank mobile apps during the Covid-19 outbreak as compared to 47% before the virus pandemic. Similarly, 54% say they are conducting bank transactions over the internet during the pandemic. For the insurance sector, channels such as the firm’s website (27%) and social media (26%) remained the top interaction choices for policyholders, a noticeable jump in numbers in comparison to before the Covid-19 scenario.

Image Source

Additionally the report mentions that banks, governments, regulators and banking associates minimize one-on-one contact and encourage customers to use contact-free digital services. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended contactless payments versus cash, if possible, as a way to limit the spread of the virus that may linger on paper currency. In countries like China, banks are using ultraviolet light or high temperatures to disinfect Yuan bills, then sealing and storing the cash for one to two weeks before recirculation – depending on the severity of the outbreak in a particular region.

Financial firms offer waivers, donate services and business continuity support

Banks and insurers, FinTechs, InsurTechs, and BigTechs are stepping up – worldwide to waive off charges on digital transactions, or offer a moratorium on loan or insurance coverage payments.

ICICI bank in India, launched ICICI Stack, a digital platform that offers nearly 500 services from retailers, FinTechs, and e-commerce merchants. China’s Ant Financial plans to open its payments platform Alipay to third parties, to provide business continuity during emergencies, and to become a part of customers’ digital lifestyle.

Citigroup (USA) is pushing proactive reminders and helpful instructions to customers about mobile and digital banking services. Other banks are taking steps such as fee waivers, payment deferrals, and loan modifications in response to customers’ changing circumstances. Insurers are also waiving out-of-pocket costs for treatment related to coronavirus. Many financial institutions offer community aid, donations and healthcare support to help overcome pandemic crises.

In Conclusion

Widespread adoption of new-age digital channels such as chatbots, automated voice assistants, and social media tools appears to be an inevitable truth for banks and financial institutes.

Throughout the unpredictable weeks and months ahead, the crisis-sparked surge in digital activity is bound to generate new customer habits that require banks and financial institutions to function online. Ultimately, the question is will full digital rein as the exclusive customer engagement channel? Not too likely, but it may become the primary channel that customers use to engage with banks and financial service providers. Each day of confinement promotes digital use, that begs another important question – Are Financial services incumbents ready to prioritize digital capabilities and offerings for success in a virtual world? The answer lies in the truth that the global pandemic has forced them to this reality and eventually shaped an enhanced customer experience.

Read More
Mobile Opinion UX/UI

The role of User Experience, Data Science and a Recommender System in improving Customer Lifetime Value

Metrics are an integral part of business success. As the management guru Peter Drucker said, ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure’. Across B2C and B2B, enterprises and functions within them, chase their own metrics. They may see varying value in Net Promoter Score, Customer Acquisition Cost, CSAT (Customer Satisfaction), and various user engagement metrics such as MAU (Monthly Active Users) and Retention Curve. However, they are all likely to agree that Customer Lifetime Value is a meaningful and relevant KPI to indicate the long-term health of a business.

Customer lifetime value, or CLV, is a predictive performance indicator that allows you to quantify the total value of a customer if they were to form a long-term relationship with your company or brand. In simple terms, it is ‘revenue earned from a customer (annual revenue multiplied by the average customer lifespan) minus the initial cost of acquiring them’. So the incentive for enterprises is to invest in long term relationships with customers. In establishing such relationships, the quality of digital experiences is critical more than ever before in today’s world.

The 5 levers of digital innovation

Increasingly, customers tend to base their perceptions of credibility, trust, and overall value of a brand through its digital experiences. In financial services, self-service dashboards, humanized banking, investment advisory, frictionless lending are common features which are digitally enabled. Personalized infotainment with natural language support and curated recommendations are seen in entertainment services. Similarly, across domains, enterprises can acquire segmented customers and offer a wide range of services by leveraging 5 levers of digital innovation:

Lifestyle Enrichment: With a combination of data and digital experiences, enterprises are in a position to know more about consumer needs and fulfill them at every stage in life. For example, in financial services brands can offer seamless client onboarding, personalized recommendations based on goals, advisory via a panel of experts, aggregate spend analysis, and provide tips on savings.

Recommendations to improve lifestyle such as goal planning, tracking performance of investments, providing a consolidated view of assets and liabilities, need-based promotional marketing, just-in-time recommendation, and so on are already in vogue.

Similarly, enterprises in other domains such as media & entertainment and e-commerce can use analytics and digital design to enrich their customers’ lives. The customer and relevant data should move across channels (app, web, wearables, bots, social, kiosk, branch, call center, advisor, distributor) seamlessly and securely. Such services will have to be made available on the most-preferred channel or location. While it can be challenging enterprises must remember that modern applications demonstrate many advanced characteristics that are driven by the user journey and help in addressing user needs.

Customer Experience: Many would know Design Thinking in abstract terms but very few have applied it in practice tied to customer’s “digital body language”. Many of the apps in the market may be superficially attractive – colorful in design, but weak on purpose, interaction style, or blending cutting-edge innovations. Firstly, there must be an emotional connect with users. Next curiosity must be evoked to learn more about the services and the ease of discovery or use. Once the app crosses the chasm, customer delight and adoption happen. Design Thinking principles can help businesses understand consumers better, empathize with them, and uncover valuable insights about their stated and latent needs & pain points. But beyond just principles, Design Thinking is action – helping enterprises understand their user’s pain points, conducting faster experiments, and finally building a product that drives business results.

The process of ‘Design Thinking to Design Doing

Designers and data scientists must converge to deliver a multi-modal, intelligent, and self-learning application to millennial customers. Technologies such as facial recognition, voice, video calling can be used to address customer pain points and enhance the overall experience.

Enterprise Grade Platform: Companies shall decouple Digital from Core via Open API and monetize services usage via open-source technologies. Each business application must be architected as a collection of cloud-ready enterprise-level micro-services inter-connected to digital use-cases that can be discovered, reused, and deployed across the company. Examples include customer onboarding, multi-factor authentication, personalized UI templates, work-flow engine, product catalogue, information overlay via AR, campaign manager, video & chat conversation, virtual assistant, recommender engine, predictive analyzer and blockchain storage.

Automation: Many companies have scratched the surface on operational processes and customer interaction automation. It has been automation of mundane back-end jobs and less of a hybrid approach of humans and robot’s judgment working in tandem. Successful digital transformation must focus on enterprise productivity, contextual interactions, and real-time recommendations.

Robotic Process Automation unifies enterprise-level data to bring context to customers, integrates regulatory compliance into standard operating procedures with exception reporting, delivers always-on services, and enrich human interactions. Convergence of RPA and AI will drive revenue and profitability and cross-sell to customer’s needs. Companies must bring automation to software deployment and rollout to markets via agile practices. Automation of marketing aided by AI, geo-location intelligence, and big-data user-item profiling is a necessity.

Insights: Insights about what motivates customers and their actions can be drawn from every conversation, transaction, relationship, grievance, and social sharing.

Analytics reside at the edge-node, and can provide insights on cross-sell, product holding, customer profitability and lifetime value, attrition and loyalty, customer sentiment, channel search & usage, transactions, service requests, leads, campaigns, churn, product profitability, risk, advisory quality and more.

The real value of dashboards lies in anticipating early and accurately what your customers want and acting on it.

Convergence of UX, platform and data science in a connected enterprise

Recommender system: driving retention and engagement

The role of a Recommender System is at the core in recommending items and driving customer conversion by auto-suggesting the right product to customers based on needs and behavioral data. A robust Recommender System will discover information for customers and “what to recommend” depends on the context i.e. movies, news, shopping, loans, insurance, funds, stocks, grocery, food, etc.

A Recommender System helps the company to increase revenues by providing the most likely items that a customer can purchase or increasing the engagement by showcasing the relevant product or content. It will encompass a context-based virtual assistant capable of mining data, text, audio, video, facial, and generate automatic responses from past experience and context by applying Deep Learning principles.

There are various models and methods to build an intelligent Recommender System:

Collaborative filtering systems are based on large sets of customers who bought similar products and uses ratings or performance to make a suitable recommendation. It works usually on customer-item interactions e.g. item bought, time spent. In case of the sparseness of ratings, auxiliary information such as item-content can be used via collaborative topic regression machine learning algorithms.

Content filtering systems look at customer profile and metadata on items and creates a watch list, and also recommend similar items to customers that this customer has liked in the past. A similarity scores calculated between any two items and recommends to the customer based on profile and interest. It starts with creating item profiles for each of the items. The customer profile is created using item profiles that the customer has liked and recommends items that this customer might like based on earlier preferences.

Unsupervised Learning has no label data and no prediction of any output. It finds interesting patterns and forms groups within the data. Clustering is typically used for customer segmentation and anomaly detection.

Natural Language Processing is an area where machines learn and understand the textual data to perform tasks. NLP collects text documents, divides the sentence into words, removes stopwords, converts the text into a numerical vector, and tracks unique words as vocabulary, counts the word, and normalizes the frequency of word occurrence.

Text Mining using machine learning involves building a text classification model and uses it for predictions on text data and to predict the sentiment of any given product review. Embedding technique can compare two distinct viewer journies on similarity and predict the probability of conversion by analyzing the average time spent on each of the unique pages. This is also used in supervised ML across use cases such as next possible action prediction, converted vs non-converted, product classification.

Deep Learning provides better feature extraction from item characteristics (text, image, video, audio). Deep Learning techniques such as convolutions and recurrent neural networks allow to model the structure and order in the data for performance improvements. Collaborative deep learning allows two-way interactions between rating matrix and content. With Deep Learning, the properties of the content (images, video, text) are incorporated into recommendations. Using Deep Learning, item-to-item relations are based on a much more comprehensive picture of the product and less reliant on manual tagging and interactional histories.

In summary, companies must think of customer and user scenarios first. Be a customer-focused data-driven company and measure critical moments of interaction to cross-sell and upsell with a Wow experience! You also need a reliable long-term partner who can provide advisory on digital, design a human experience, and engineer a scalable and intelligent solution to market.

Read More
Mobile Opinion

Choosing the right digital partner for the Experience Economy: actionable tips

Crafting digital experiences that delight your consumers and drive business growth is an on-going journey that keeps evolving with the changing customer expectations, ever-transforming business environment, technological innovations, and much more.

What is considered as an innovation at a point in time, becomes a norm sooner than we realize.

For instance, in 2011 Google Wallet was introduced and today almost every smartphone owner uses a payments app. In less than a decade Instagram has changed the norms of social sharing. Uber, launched in 2010, has become a necessity for most of urban dwellers today. Slack, a messaging app for enterprises launched in 2013, has become an essential component of how employees communicate. Such examples are plenty.

In a post COVID world, the pace in which the business landscape and consumers’ needs & expectations have changed has accelerated by leaps and bounds. It has changed the basic fabric of human behavior at a speed and at a scale that has never been witnessed before.

According to a recent report from Accenture, in this new post COVID world, the need for tools and techniques that can help understand the science of behavior and enable enterprises to monitor, collect data and analyze the changing consumer behavior will become foundational to experience creation. Most importantly, the speed at which companies respond to these changes will become a critical factor for competitive advantage.

Furthermore, businesses will have to progress from creating omnichannel experiences to delivering multi-experiences i.e. going beyond being merely present in various platforms to creating a consistent and seamless experience across all devices and platforms.

In fact, according to Gartner, by 2023, more than 25% of mobile apps, progressive web apps, and conversational apps at large enterprises will be built and/or run through a multi-experience platform.

Delivering such experiences will need continuously inventing and re-inventing the existing digital solutions. It will require people, processes, and technologies across an organization, working in complete harmony with each other. Many organizations understand this and have progressed towards making digital transformation a priority. According to a study, 84% of enterprises believe that digital transformation is crucial. However, just 3% of these have a company-wide digital transformation plan ready. But this scenario will have to rapidly change as COVID -19 has dramatically accelerated the pace of evolution of customer needs. Businesses understand that ‘now’ is the time for them to speed-up and accelerate digital transformation not just for customer engagement but also for internal processes.

The kind of digital experiences that an organization creates also depends on their digital maturity. Every organization is at a different stage of digital maturity depending on its priorities and customer needs. An e-commerce enterprise is bound to be more digitally matured than a brick and mortar retail store.

While most digitally matured organizations have a well defined digital strategy, enterprises that are just starting their journey might lack that prudence.

It is critical for enterprises to know where they lie in terms of digital maturity to create a digital roadmap for the future. It can be difficult for enterprises to embark on this journey on their own, this is where the right digital partner who can understand, complement, and augment an organization’s digital maturity level becomes important.

There are various challenges that organizations might face while developing innovative digital solutions, and a digital partner can help them address these:

  • Cost considerations: reduce resource and operational costs – 59% of all businesses collaborate with a digital partner to optimize costs
  • Ability to meet elastic demand – scale up or down – 16% of of all businesses work with a digital partner to raise flexibility
  • Time and effort required to acquire talent with specific skillsets or developing them within the organization – 18% of all businesses augment their teams with a digital partner to increase expertise
  • Accelerating time-to-market – 24% of businesses work with a digital partner to improve efficiency and speed

Visualize, mobilize, and realize your digital transformation strategy with the right digital partner

Choosing the right digital partner can help organizations visualize, mobilize, and realize their digital transformation strategy and hence enable them in delivering sophisticated digital experiences. To elaborate, the right digital partner can enable enterprises to:

  • Visualize Digital Future – enable your business to think ahead and  create digital solutions for the future
  • Mobilize Enterprise Disruption – define the strategic change agenda for your business that will deliver measurable outcomes
  • Realize Smart Results – build rigor in the system to ensure that strategy delivers results

A well thought-through digital partnership can help businesses in:

  1. Revenue growth and build newer revenue streams – increase the top line
  2. Optimizing costs – increasing the bottom line by reducing resource costs, infrastructure costs, admin costs, operational costs, and so on.
  3. Ensuring compliance with all relevant governance, risk and compliance norms
  4. Digital Innovation – creating new products and services or augmenting existing products for competitive advantage.
  5. Acquiring, retaining, and engaging with customers with delightful digital experiences.

Choosing Right Digital Partner

Choosing the right digital partner – key factors that can help you hit the bull’s eye

Crafting end-to-end digital experiences has become critical for enterprises to drive competitive advantage and ensure business growth. In fact, according to this Forbes article, by 2020, CX will be even more important than price or product quality in differentiating one brand from another. Therefore, the need to choose the right digital partner can’t be emphasized enough.

Here are key factors organizations should keep in mind while choosing the right digital partner:

Choosing the right digital partner - key factors that can help you hit the bull’s eye

Experience and Expertise

According to Forrester, to accelerate digital transformation it is important to pick partners that understand transformation. What this means is, it is important to find a partner with the right set of capabilities to compliment your own team and with the kinds of technology tools, you can put to use immediately.

The best scenario will be, having a digital partner who can offer end-to-end digital services including advisory, design, engineering, and analytics. Such a partner will help enterprises realize and deliver digital experiences for the present, but also enable them to be future-ready.

Here are a couple of things that are key indicators to measure the right indicators of expertise of a digital partner:

  1. Experience: The years of experience in the industry, more importantly, their experience in the domain of your business.
  2. Scale and variety of digital projects: The scale and variety of digital projects executed across the globe. While a digital partner might have excellent experience in creating mobile apps, they might lack the expertise in creating digital solutions using emerging technologies or scale your product. Hence, it becomes important to work with partners who can augment your digital solutions and create experiences for the future.
  3. Clientele: The list of their top clients and more importantly the kind of organizations they have worked with, in your respective domain.
  4. Leadership:  Any team is as good as their leader, hence it becomes important that your digital partner has a strong leadership team with an in-depth understanding and experience in creating digital solutions. It is critical that the leadership team is able to leverage their rich experience to guide the teams but also work with you to improvise on your digital solutions and deliver results.

Scale and Flexibility:

There are innumerable digital agencies or enterprises across the globe. But an important factor to consider while making the decision to choose a digital partner is their scale and flexibility. If your digital projects are large scale, you will need a partner who can match and manage that scale, whereas for an SME or a start-up it is important to choose a partner who will have the flexibility to quickly scale up or scale down on the projects depending upon the requirements.

Some of the key factors to consider while measuring the scale and flexibility of a digital partner are:

  1. The scale of digital solutions executed and the size of enterprises that they have partnered with.
  2. The kind of technological capabilities they have across all the services – Advisory, Design, Engineering, and Analytics.
  3. The structure of the organization, the structure of their project team, and its capability to scale-up or scale-down the team size depending on the project requirements.
  4. The kind of expertise and the composition of their team mix – for instance, the skills the team possesses in front-end and back-end digital technologies availability of experts in cloud and software deployment, etc.

Operational and process maturity

Given the pace at which digital technologies and consumer expectations evolve, speed, agility, and adaptability have become highly-prized attributes for any organization. Hence it becomes critical for enterprises to choose a partner that has digitally mature capabilities and processes in place. From requirement analysis to delivery of the project the kind of processes the digital partner brings on the table is a factor to assess while making a decision.

Here are some key points that you should consider to assess your digital partners’ operational/process maturity:

1. The kind of practices and methodologies used across the delivery cycle. Some of the factors in this context can be:

  • Do they offer full-lifecycle digital product development?
  • The level of expertise they demonstrate across CI/CD, DevOps, Automated Testing, etc.
  • The processes and procedures to perform quality assurance.
  • How they can accelerate your go-to-market strategy. For e.g. Do they have microservices compliant digital middleware to fast-track launch?
  • Data Points that can help you analyze their Sprint Velocity.
  • How they can help you drive customer acquisition and retention goals of your organization.
  •  What are the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to upkeep applications?

2. What are the value-added services that they offer beyond the stated requirements of your project? – digital advisory services, workshops to chart out a product road map, design thinking capabilities can be some examples of such services.

3. Risk mitigation plan – a prudent digital partner knows that any process always has some scope or error, hence they keep their strategies in place to deal with any issues that might occur during the project. Various risk factors can be – control risk, organizational risk, performance risk, and security risk.

Geographical presence

It is important to keep in mind the geographical presence of the digital partner you are working with and how they plan to augment the capabilities of your team beyond the constraints of geographies. An effective digital partner will work with various teams and models and ensure effective communication is in place and deliverables are met irrespective of geography and time zones. A digital partner with a global presence with onsite and offshore teams can help in delivering cost advantage through a hybrid model of working.

Client testimonials

There is no better way to analyze your digital partner’s capability than to hear it ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’. Client reviews and testimonials are an important factor to understand the work, capabilities, and authenticity of the work they showcase in their corporate portfolios.

In conclusion

As we move towards a world where creating multi experiences will become the new reality, crafting digital experiences will require understanding the consumers’ needs and pain points, harnessing the right technologies and platforms to optimize business models, operational efficiency, and more. And, this will be a continuous process where organizations will have to catch-up and deliver according to the pace of change of customer needs and evolving business challenges. The right digital experiences partner can help your organization navigate through this journey by integrating people, processes & technologies to create unified & positive customer experiences.

Download the summary of the checklist to choose the right digital partner here.

To understand how Robosoft can partner with you to create digital solutions for your organization and for information on our capabilities and services, you can write to me at [email protected]

Read More
Mobile Opinion

Of microservice architecture and digital enterprises in the experience economy

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to impact the world like never before. A key transformation is underway in pushing all of us to embrace change in the way we live and work. Old norms and ways of working will give way to a new normal. It is clear that digital will be at the core of the social distancing era. Digital solutions and platforms will be the key enablers of business continuity helping enterprises in adapting to the rapidly changing needs of their customers, while they focus on mitigating business and operational challenges.

Once the threat of the epidemic has passed, businesses will have to look at innovative ways to address the change in customer behavior and the impact of design and technology in shaping and enhancing customer experiences. To rise above these challenges, enterprises must rethink their digital strategy on multiple dimensions.

Focus on customer acquisition, servicing, retention, and lifetime value with a personalized and human approach, keeping customer behavior and aspirations in mind. The emphasis will be on adding value and not merely push products or services.

  1. Make the services available anytime & anywhere to the customer’s preferred digital device or channel. Avoid offering unsecured and non-reliable services to customers.
  2. Digital experiences build an emotional connection by understanding the digital body language. While the design is important, focusing on the human-connect is the key.
  3. Invest in a future-ready digital platform that aggregates digital assets in the organization to accrue savings over time. Do not pile up applications in silos that are hard to change or maintain.
  4. Simplify the maintenance of digital assets and improve enterprise productivity via automation of customer interaction and operational processes via DevOps, AI/ML, and RPA. Do not think of maintenance merely as a fraction of the solution cost but as a way to build and foster relationships.
  5. Gather actionable insights from every conversation, transaction, relationship, complaints, and social sharing to infer customer value and sentiment analysis. Do not view these merely as reports but action points to enhance performance efficiency.

The natural question then is: how do we realize these goals? The answer broadly speaking, is in thinking big and building strategically. Let’s look at some of the steps:

  1. To begin with, separate Digital from Core via API mediation and think service monetization.
  2. Embrace open-source technologies and leverage new-age architectures on the cloud.
  3. Integrate the functions of CDO-CIO-CTO under a unified vision, budget, and success criteria.
  4. View business applications as a collection of reusable digital assets mashed up to form specific solutions for varied customer segments, business partners, and employees.

Digital shall never be architected in silos as we transition from an industrial economy to the services economy and now towards an experience-driven economy. We are simplifying lives of millions of customers and amplifying business efficiency by moving from physical-only channels like retail, distribution, marketing, support to digital-enabled channels like Web, Social, TV, App, Wearable, bots to conversational multi-modal experiences of blending chat, voice, touch, gesture, vision, augmented reality, gamification at the right moment. Multiexperience is how Gartner describes it urging us to not think about channels, but touchpoints and modalities.

In other words, we should no longer think products, platforms & services, but think about customer needs, customer lifetime value, and customers as brand ambassadors.

The innovation lifecycle shall focus on Product Vision to User Journey Mapping to Micro Interactions to Data-Driven Designs to Microservices to Domain Models to Service Mediation.

To understand what it takes to be a full-service digital enterprise, it is also crucial to understand the role of technology and how modern applications can aid this journey while optimizing performance efficiency and results.

Traditional Software Products vs Modern Applications

There is a paradigm shift when comparing modern applications with traditional software products. Modern applications demonstrate many advanced characteristics that are driven by the user journey and help in addressing the user needs.

Traditional Software Products vs Modern Applications

While enterprises need to focus on deriving more value from the existing applications, they should also be open to embracing modern applications like microservices that focus on business capabilities, lower complexity, and handle continuous change efficiently.

Key components & benefits with the microservices architecture

Microservices by definition are a set of technology-agnostic services with simplicity, efficiency, maintainability, re-use, separation of concerns, loose coupling, service autonomy, statelessness, and service composability. Unlike the monolithic architecture which is a single-tiered software application, the microservices architecture is based on a collection of interconnected services. They are easier to build and maintain, and focus on business capabilities while enhancing productivity, speed, and scalability.

Key components & benefits with the microservices architecture

A fine-grained list of Functional Microservices for an enterprise would encompass:

A fine-grained list of Functional Microservices for an enterprise would encompass:

A fine-grained list of Technical Microservices for an enterprise would encompass:

A fine-grained list of Technical Microservices for an enterprise would encompass:

Microservices architectural patterns address API Patterns, Discovery Patterns, Registration Patterns, Instantiation Patterns, and Systems Patterns, which helps in the realization of API proxy, client and server-side discovery, service and self-service registry, single or multiple service instance per host, virtual machine or container, and message brokering.

And there are various frameworks and tools to choose from:

  • Spring Reactor, NGINX, Vertx, Netty, JBOSS Undertow
  • Maven 3, Eclipse Luna, Gradle, Grunt
  • Docker Hub / Compose
  • Nagios, Promithius
  • Kong API Gateway
  • Memcached, Redis
  • Jaeger, OpenShift, Kubernetes, Kafka
  • StatsD, Code Hale, Kibana, Graphite, Banana, Datalog
  • JSON Web Tokens, API Keys, Oauth, 2FA, NPM

Each microservice is a self-contained entity with distributed architecture, disparate technologies, independent deployment, versioning, and roadmap. The new digital middleware of microservices shall serve a dual purpose. It can merely act as a relay server with optimal business logic and unifies all transactions and service requests to the host system or be the non-core system with all the business logic implemented. The API gateway enables security, identity, monitoring, and traffic management.

Alongside microservices, enterprises must think about micro-interactions with triggers, events, control, state, rules, sequence, feedback, and metadata. Micro-interactions are a combination of actions (like verbs in a sentence) and objects (nouns that operate on verbs), and they must either deliver a signature moment to customers or must satisfy rapid execution of a task or a step in the business process (e.g. user registration, login, product search, payment, feedback).

In 2017, Gartner introduced MASA (Mesh App and Service Architecture) as an architectural model and defined thus:

“Bringing mobile and IoT elements into the app and service architecture creates a comprehensive model to address back-end cloud scalability and front-end device mesh experiences. Application teams must create new modern architectures to deliver agile, flexible, and dynamic cloud-based applications with agile, flexible, and dynamic user experiences that span the digital mesh.”

A conceptual architecture of a full-service digital enterprise may look like this

A conceptual architecture of a full-service digital enterprise may look like this

Aside from technologies, the concept and role of design has had a makeover too. Design is not merely about the look and feel anymore. Design is more about a human-centered problem-solving-approach approach that addresses key customer pain-points that has a profound impact on enhancing positive customer experiences.

Designers, consultants, data scientists, and full-stack domain architects must thereby collaborate to understand user behavior and implement this to increase product efficiency. Conduct quantitative testing by comparing multiple customer experiences to actual users and measuring objectively via A/B testing and accurate data collection to gain insights on user needs, behaviors, optimize the experience, and ROI. It improves collaboration within teams and between enterprises with an evidence-based decision-making approach as opposed to a vendor vs customer relationship approach that focuses on the scope and transaction.

In summary, the competitive differentiation of enterprises depends on being customer-focused, data-driven, and measuring critical moments of interaction to add value to the customer.

Enterprises need to invest in future-proof platforms and innovate incrementally. Collaboration with a reliable and agile partner who can connect the dots, and give strategic advice on the digital roadmap, design a human interface across the business of apps, engineer a scalable solution, and launch timely updates & upgrades will also be critical. Remember, in today’s age, a customer can never be taken for granted. Enterprises can retain them by providing contextual, digital-enabled, self-service products, and conversational experience and embrace the new digital world via the platform of apps. Is your enterprise ready for the experience economy?

Read More
Mobile Opinion

5 factors set to impact the future of banking

The banking & finance industry has seen tectonic changes over the last few years. With the advent of smartphones and mobile applications, many consumers choose to bank on their mobile, buy financial products on digital platforms, reducing their dependence on visiting a branch or brick & mortar office. Living in a digital world has created its own set of challenges for both end users and enterprises. Alongside this digital savvy, demanding consumer is another audience (in developing markets largely with a rural bias), which is yet to experience the entire gamut of banking services. They are expected to fuel the growth of the entire banking sector, driven by rising incomes.

Earlier, a bank account at a branch was for life. Today, switching brands to suit one’s financial needs – be it investments or loans, is easier than ever before. So there is no room for complacency in the banking sector as brand loyalty cannot be taken for granted. Millennials – a sought after segment for many categories are earning and their trust factor vis-à-vis banks will be measured solely by digital experience of services. They would be a demanding lot as they seek self-service dashboards, are comfortable with humanized banking with natural language support and demand curated recommendations on financial products.

Our interactions with consumers tells us that they have a stronger emotional connect with technology and new-age brands such as Apple, Uber, Amazon, and Google. The ability of some of such companies to blend experiences from the physical and digital worlds is also admired by consumers. The perceived ease of use and delight of digital-only products (e.g. Dropbox) is sought to be emulated across all digital experiences. Unfortunately, banks have not been known to provide great customer experiences either in the offline or online world. Nearly half of millennials using mobile banking are dissatisfied with the existing online banking services.

Many enterprises with no legacy banking experience may seek banking licenses with a digital-first and branch-less strategy. They can collaborate with FinTech partners to acquire and own segmented customers and offer a wide-range of services as opposed to legacy institutions, which were primarily a safe vault for deposits or lending to one-off needs. As compared to traditional banking brands, FinTech players anyway have an edge when it comes to better user experience.

In this context, banks are at a higher risk than ever before of losing customers. They will have to adopt a top-down strategy comprising five pillars of innovation covering Business, Technology and Operations.

5 Factors set to impact the future of banking

Not just money-keeping but lifestyle enrichment

Banks remain one among the many domains, which can potentially own the customer for life and fulfil an individual’s aspirations and needs. Hence, banks can play a far greater role than mere money keepers. They can offer a suite of services to match both lifestyle and life stage requirements of individuals. This could include anytime advisory, spend analysis across financial institutions and touch points, life-style goal planning & tracking, consolidated analysis of assets & liabilities, need-based in-app marketing, rule-driven payments automation and more.

Based on lifestyle services (e.g. shopping, bills, recharge, tax, fees, EMI, ticketing, travel, transportation, toll pay, grocery, entertainment, donation, stocks, mutual funds, insurance, deposits, person-person payments) and past transactions, a bank can make just-in-time recommendations and make customized offers. They have an opportunity to be the single life-style app unifying loyalty, rewards and cash back with frictionless redemption. For example,our primary objective while revamping the app of a large private bank was to upgrade it from a merely transactional app to an all-purpose platform. We partnered with the client and created an app which wasn’t just a transactional platform, but offered a seamless and delightful experience to consumers, with features like one-touch payments, bill payment reminders, AR based smart ATM locator, etc.

Data of customers and their preferences should move across channels (app, web, wearables, bots, social, smart TV, kiosk, branch, call center, advisor, distributor) and will be expected to be available, rendered or resumed on most-preferred channel at that moment or location with secure authentication.

Customer Experience is the new business battleground

Many enterprises are familiar with the concept of Design Thinking and acknowledge its role in shaping customer experiences. But there is scope to apply this discipline across all aspects of a business. Many of the enterprise apps in the market may be colorful in design, but weak on purpose, interaction style or blending cutting-edge innovations. Enterprises too are grappling with the problem of app abandonment both in consumer-facing and employee-focused apps. There is ample scope for design thinkers and data scientists to partner with software engineers to create digital solutions, which delight.

Banks should think holistically to offer a great customer experience beyond just the digital interface. In the US, while lots of millennials use and prefer digital banking almost 50% of them wouldn’t even consider switching to a digital-only bank. Beyond the digital world, banks can also consider hybrid solutions – a personalized greeting at branch entry via facial recognition and BLE, extended service hours through virtual remote services, the option to have a video call with a bank representative, a plug & play service at a branch resembling a café and so on.

Don’t just thinks apps, think enterprise grade platforms

Gone are the days of IT teams executing monolithic applications from disparate vendors as sequential projects and siloed business units resulting in a roadblock to faster innovation to markets. Many large enterprises have now carved out separation of responsibilities between the CTO, CIO, CD and CMO. Enterprises should decouple Digital from Core via Open APIs (e.g. PSD2 Open Banking Standard in UK) and monetize services usage by partnering with best-of-breed service providers built on open-source technologies via a plug-n-play integration.

Each business application across business units should be well architected as a collection of cloud-ready enterprise-level micro-services that can be discovered, re-used and deployed across the Enterprise in its lifetime.

Partial list of micro-services

Automation which delivers better processes & results

Many financial institutions have only scratched the surface on operational process and customer interaction automation. Typically, it has been automation of easy mundane back-end jobs and less of a hybrid approach of humans and robot’s judgment working in tandem. Successful digital transformation initiatives must focus on enterprise productivity, contextual interactions and real-time recommendations with customer at the center.

Robotic Process Automation is one form of automation that enables an enterprise to be agile, lean, data-driven and customer-centric by speeding up tasks non-intrusively and 24×7 operational. RPA unifies enterprise-level data to bring context to customers, integrates regulatory compliance into SOPs with exception reporting, delivers always-on services and enrich human interactions. Hence, convergence of RPA and AI covering client and server-side applications must drive enterprise revenue and profitability, cross-sell to customer’s precise needs, prevent fraud and non-performing assets, as opposed to seen as disparate technological innovations.

Financial institutions must certainly bring automation to software development, deployment and rollout to markets faster. This would involve adopting Agile practices at scale. These could be in-house or with innovation partners by institutionalizing DevOps best practices of Continuous Integration, Deployment and Monitoring of services. Another area of automation is just-in-time marketing driven by AI, location intelligence, big-data driven customer profiling.

Actionable insights at the core of decision-making

Big or small decisions in enterprises are based on the right information. Today, the need is to go beyond information and depend on insights. Such insights can be drawn from every conversation, transaction, relationship, complaints, social sharing between customer and bank or between customers, and not remain siloed inside proprietary application as MIS reporting. In a 2018 survey, senior industry professionals placed open APIs, Analytics and Conversational Interfaces among the top 3 technologies which will have an impact in banking.

Impact of technologies in banking

Analytics is enabled at edge of the network and at servers on cloud and utilized real time to bring value to customers. Such insights can be put to use in customer micro-segmentation, cross-sell and product holding analysis, customer profitability and lifetime value analysis to name a few.

Areas for analytics to play a role

Dashboards are useful, but the real value lies in interpreting the data in order to anticipate what your customers want faster and accurately  than your competition and acting on it.


Banking will remain across generations to come. The entities, actors, relationships will take different shapes. Financial institutions  must think customer-first and user scenarios to drive service features and not invest upfront in off-the-shelf products without knowing how to realize the enterprise vision on time and budget.

A customer-focused data-driven company, which measures critical moments of interaction to cross-sell or up-sell has an edge in the future. A reliable long-term partner who can provide the right advice, design a human-centric experience, engineer a scalable solution, and launch or enhance defect-free cloud-ready solutions to market is key to success.

Read More
Featured Mobile Opinion

The Loss of Innocence: 2 Decades of Enterprise Digital Transformation

If you ask every executive in America about their top priorities this year, chances are the wide majority of them would say: digital transformation. No different than in 2016 when half of all business leaders thought the same.

Read More
Mobile Opinion

Mobile Fintech vs Traditional Banking products: 15 awesome things winners do well

Both traditional banks and new fintech companies recognize that the ease of use of a digital product is paramount to client satisfaction. And as we all know – client satisfaction is key to overall customer engagement, sales, long term banking-client relationships and growth.

But do banking executives understand just how important an exceptional user experience is for consumers?

The short answer is no.

Read More
Mobile App

Mobile Fintech vs Traditional Banking products: 15 awesome things winners do well

Mobile Fintech

Both traditional banks and new fintech companies recognize that the ease of use of a digital product is paramount to client satisfaction. And as we all know – client satisfaction is key to overall customer engagement, sales, long term banking-client relationships and growth.

But do banking executives understand just how important an exceptional user experience is for consumers?

The short answer is no.

As of 2017, banking executives are completely missing the mark at correctly understanding the rise in popularity for fintech products. It all comes down to the user experience. Banks are misinterpreting and miscalculating the role user experience plays in the overall satisfaction customers have with a banking product.

In this article, we will show a series of 13 different user experience features which have reached mass adoption among consumers. In doing so, we want to help banking executives visualize the difference between what their digital experiences offer and what consumers expect. And, hopefully, help them bridge the gap.


Before we begin though – in case you’re wondering, here’s the data showing that banking executives and consumers are NOT on the same page when it comes to what is important for a banking product to satisfy the needs of an end user.

Fintech vs Traditional banks – attitudes and missed expectations

In 2016, Capgemini Consulting in collaboration with EFMA conducted a global study to gauge customers’ attitudes towards financial service companies – banks and fintech companies alike. As part of the study, the researchers asked customers to rate the most important reasons why they are using financial products coming from fintech companies. In parallel – they asked banking executives to do the same.

The results show a complete disconnect between what consumers want and appreciate about fintech and what banks think consumers appreciate about fintech products.

Image Source:

To banking executive’s credit – 89% of them got it right. Ease of use is the number 1 catalyst for fintech adoption.

But what they completely missed is that 80% of consumers rank faster service and good experience as a primary reason why they’re using fintech products (the two being completely correlated). In contrast, only 40% of banking executives believe good service/ experience is critical to fintech’s rise in popularity. In addition, three key consumer reasons for choosing fintech over banks did not even make it to the banking executive’s list of reason for using fintech: faster service, more features, and lack of service by the primary bank.

Banking executives do not understand what consumers want.

This complete disconnect between consumer expectations and what banks are doing has had a significant impact on consumers’ overall attitudes on their primary bank. Consider the following stats to understand the result of banking executives missing the mark on user experience from the Millennial Disruption Index Report:

  • 71% of consumers would rather go to the dentist than listen to what banks are saying
  • 1 in 3 consumers are open to switching banks in the next 90 days if a better product is made available to them
  • All 4 of the leading banks in the US are among the ten least loved brands by Millennials
  • 33% of Millennials believe that in the next five years they won’t need to do business with a bank at all
  • Nearly 50% of Millennials believe that innovation in the banking industry will come from outside the banking industry
  • 73% of Millennials would be more excited about a financial service product coming from Google, Amazon, Apple, Paypal or Square than from their own national bank.

At its core of the disconnect between banking executives and consumers is the definition of user experience and faster service. Banks have put complex processes in place to cater for virtually every use case and customer complaint imaginable. But what did not do, for various reasons (compliance, security, silos etc.), is to integrate the various components into a seamless experience.

In other words, it may very well be that the definition and implementation of good user experience is where traditional banking is falling behind. To mitigate this, here’s a series of clear user experience best practices fintech companies use that keep customers happy – and make them transition from banks to fintech alternatives. It is worth noting that various banks use some of these UX practices as well. However, collectively, very few traditional banks adhere to the majority of these UX rules.

Integrated products & services (Mint and YES Bank)

Let’s face it. We use a wide variety of financial tools and services to manage our lives. Different companies, different mobile applications, different user experiences, different controls, different interactions.

It gets tiring to jump from one product to another at every given moment to get a good feeling of your overall financial life.

That is why has managed to grow from nothing to 20 million active users in only 11 years. What does is to order and organize your entire financial life in a seamless way to give to a bird’s-eye view of your financial life.

Integrated products & services (Mint and YES Bank)

Any company out there which believes complexity cannot be simplified and turned into an easy to understand financial product should sign up for

This is an excellent example of a fully integrated product which combines, cash, credit cards, loans, investments, real estate, budgets, notifications and recommendations. All in one simple to use dashboard from which users can then dig into any separate section for additional details.

Some foresighted banks have also taken note of the integrated user experience that today’s consumers seek and have started offering integrated platforms for them. One such example is YES bank

YES bank’s mobile solution, YES Mobile 2.0 is developed keeping in mind today’s customer’s mobile lifestyle. The app offers consumers with a seamless omnichannel experience across platforms – smartphones, tablets and smartwatches. Further, the mobile app also has some innovative features to enable easy transactions on the app. Some of these are:

  • One-touch bill payment.
  • Speech to text capabilities to enable hands-free complaints/queries registration
  • On-the-go bill payments from Wearables including Apple and Android smart watches.
  • Easy transfer of money to phone book contacts, Facebook friends and Twitter followers etc.

With an extremely simple and customisable UI, YES Mobile 2.0 scores high when it comes to being a user-friendly app.

YES Mobile 2.0


Personalized recommendations (Credit Karma)

Credit Karma is a simple credit history monitoring tool with an added benefit. Whereas they can use the service for free, they will receive personalized recommendations based on their credit reports, credit card usage and other factors. What is very interesting – and smart – for Credit Karma is that while offering these suggestions they also inform their users of their odds of acquiring a new line of credit – credit card, loans, mortgages and more. And most importantly, the user experience is clean, easy to follow and to act on it.


But most importantly, Credit Karma leverages both business rules and UX best practices to create one of the most delightful experiences from a user point of view. For every recommendation – Credit Karma gives the user the approval odds, the annual fees and other terms, allow the user to start the application process or to read more about the fine print for each offer.

Effortless digital savings (MAXIT @ MyUniverse)

Some apps seem like they are from the future, and this is one of them. MAXIT is so far ahead of the game is seems unfair. One such example is Aditya Birla Group’s mobile app MAXIT @ My Universe which was launched to help customers save more money every time they spend through their credit/debit cards. Aditya Birla Group has businesses across verticals like retail, fashion, telecom, finance etc. They noticed that their customers carry most of their transactions through cards. However, they are not fully utilising the rewards and offers available to them. The MAXIT app helps users keep track of all their spends, discover best offers and use the best card for a purchase.

The app is extremely user-friendly with an intuitive interface and boasts of some interesting features like:

  • Curating best offers based on the users’ spending patterns.
  • Notifying the customer of the best offers based on their geo-location
  • Analysing customer’s spending patterns and design exclusive offers.
  • The MAXIT Savings Tracker keeps track of all the offers availed by the customer and also recommends how they could have saved more.
  • There is also a live feed in the app which helps customers monitor their transactions in real-time.


The beauty of this app is the ease of use. For banking institutions, they realize that ease of use is important, but this app really drives that home. Without even trying, it is able to recommend the best deals to save users, and that creates satisfaction. You may not be a deal saver as a bank, but banking institutions can definitely take a page from this book and help customers optimize card usage and other features for heightened customer satisfaction and loyalty!

Access credit card balance without logging in (Citibank)

Remember how users ranked “speed of service” as the second most important criteria on why they love fintech products? Citibank actually leads the wave of banking institutions that allow their customers to do just that. Instead of logging in to see the most frequently sought for account information, their mobile app allows users to get a glimpse of their account simply by firing the app:

Access credit card balance without logging in (Citibank)

It does not get any easier and user-friendly than this. Being able to access your checking balance, your credit card balance and due terms is the very definition of a quick and smooth user experience.

Touch ID fingerprint sensor (American Express, Citibank, Credit Karma, Paypal and more)

Touch ID single level authentication continues to grow in popularity for most applications in the App Store. It’s simple, elegant, secure, dead easy to implement for the banking companies out there. And yet – it is still not widely implemented in the banking world. Why?

Touch ID fingerprint sensor

Image Source: Amex Mobile iPhone app adds easy account login w/ Touch ID fingerprint sensor

Not only is Touch ID a great and speedy way to help people get to their financial information faster, but it is also becoming a standard that users expect. As Touch ID grows in popularity as an authentication protocols, banks who do not use it (JP Morgan Chase – we’re thinking of you!) risk to annoy their users by not adopting a commonly used user experience practice.

Instant usage notifications (American Express)

I bank with eight different companies – Citibank, American Express, Capital One, Pay Pal, Chase, Ally Bank and Bank of America and Discover. It is very surprising to me that of the eight companies, American Express is the only one which proactively notifies me every single time I swipe the card. As soon as a transaction goes through (in store or through digital means), Amex sends me a notification like the one shown in the screenshot below.

Instant usage notifications

A simple yet powerful user experience, these notifications serve a dual purpose: I get to know when a transaction has cleared my account, and it behaves as an anti-fraud mechanism. Imagine if I had received such a notification and I had not gone to Whole foods. I’d have immediately called Amex to dispute the charge and request a new card. It is

Seamless digital payment option (Apple Pay)

As a native experience inside of the iOS ecosystem, Apple Pay has an unfair advantage. It is literally impossible for banks to create something simpler than this. For readers who are not iOS users, Apple Pay works by double tapping the home button. It then pulls up the Wallet application allowing users to pay at different retailers with the default card on file.

Seamless digital payment option (Apple Pay)


For various reasons tied primarily to business decisions and strategic partnerships, a large number of US banks still do not allow iOS customers to add their credit card to Apple Pay. For banking institutions who hope their card becomes the “go to card” in the wallet, such a strategy is short sighted. As we mentioned, Apple Pay is the simplest, most convenient way for users to pay in the store. If you can’t beat them, join them. And, if you don’t want to join Apple, at least try to allow for mobile payments within your own mobile application.

Instant settlements (Amex)

One of the reasons financial experts are excited about blockchain technology and its future is the fact it allows for instant settlements vs the current 2-3 days wait time to reconcile the ledger with the payment made. American Express is one of the few companies in the financial sector which allows for payment settlement to occur immediately.

Instant settlements (Amex)

In other words, as soon as Amex users submit a payment on the website or the mobile app, their available balance and amount due are reconciled on the spot. That gives users an instant gratification with regards to leveraging Amex products and shows how the company is really invested in making it right by the user.

Text message notifications (Digit)

Digit is a fintech savings platform which analyzes a person’s checking account balance and spending habits and subtracts a small amount from the account every 2-3 days which is deposited in a savings account.

The company operates exclusively on chat bots and communicates with their users via text messages.

Text message notifications (Digit)

The beauty of Digit is its incredible simplicity, coupled with banking integration and a UI-less interface. In fact, Digit may very well be the first successful example of artificial intelligence in the banking sector. As a user, getting daily text messages around 9 am from Digit has become a habit – something I welcome and look forward to. Banks should explore the various chat bot options on the market today and figure out how they can make their customers’ user experience even more frictionless with the adoption of chat bot technologies. Also, Digit is pioneering the wave of conversational banking – by making interactions sound and feel natural through their jokes, informal communication styles ( “Yo, Codrin”) and more.

Location based services: seamless ATM/ branch locator integration (Spark for Business from Capital One)

There are very few recurring tasks that users of banking products would need to complete on an app on a recurring basis. Most of them are tied to checking the balance of a card, making a payment or looking at recent activity. Another use case is locating a nearby branch to complete a specific task. Spark for Business from Capital One makes this task incredibly simple by integrating an ATM location right on their dashboard. It looks like this:

Location based services

By natively integrating with a maps tool, Spark allows their users to easily locate a branch or ATM with a single tap without ever leaving the app.

In India, YES Bank makes this task incredibly simple and modern, by using Augmented Reality to help locate nearby ATMs and branches. Not only is this convenient, but also fun for users!

YES Bank allows their users to easily locate a branch or ATM with a single tap. Not just that, it also displays relevant offers based on the users’ geo-location.


These are some astoundingly simple examples of a user experience that is entirely customer focused which deserves mass adoption among the financial services companies.

Centralizing all account types in one simple digital experience (Chase)

In 2016, Chase bank underwent a substantial redesign of its digital platforms (online and mobile). When complete, industry specialists and UX designers praised the company for creating a very intuitive and simple to use interface. The new Chase experience looks like this:

Centralizing all account types in one simple digital experience (Chase)

In addition to a simple and clean UX design, the Chase platform is probably one of the most mature digital experiences in the world today.

The site and app are able to pull in information about all the different types of products a user is enrolled in with Chase regardless of its divisions. To that end, with one simple login, a user can access their checking balance, savings, credit cards and Home Mortgage information. And it can transact across all of them.

This may sound like a trivial functionality, but in a financial world marred by silos within the same company, this sort of holistic integration is NOT as common as it should be. And for the excellent user experience above and its integrated banking experience – Chase get a well-deserved thumbs up!

Reduce all complexity to the most critical user flows (Paypal)

Paypal is another big player in the financial sector which has undergone a substantial mobile app redesign in 2016. For a company where its users have a huge amount of tasks, they can potentially engage in, achieving simplicity and visual beauty is no simple task. Their dashboard – from where users can engage with the most critical flows – is simply beautiful and striking in its simplicity.

Reduce all complexity to the most critical user flows (Paypal)

Beyond its simplicity, PayPal gets a big hand of applause for visually and logically grouping the options presented to the end user by the three major tasks it allows customers to complete inside the app: manage their funds/ credit card, sending or requesting money, and paying for goods and services. In addition, the app allows users to add their loyalty cards to PayPal and quickly access them on demand. Beautiful, PayPal – simply beautiful!

Accessing statements natively (AMEX)

Most banks allow for a fairly smooth mobile and web experience but somehow moving away from the “paper” view remains an obstacle most financial institutions have yet to overcome. That is why the widest majority of banks today serve mobile users and web users with a pdf file for their statement. American Express is moving away from this old fashioned trend by natively serving the statement, in line, versus in the form of a PDP.

Accessing statements natively (AMEX)

With the new experience for the activity history and statement history, users can access any statement in the last six months and can see the statement balance, payments as well as each charge placed on the account for the respective billing cycle. Gone are the days when the user would be served with a PDF file that was not mobile responsible and could not be easily scanned or analyzed.

Password entering and password retrieval (Acorns)

Sometimes we forget our passwords – it’s natural, and I am sure it has happened to every user reading this article. Or sometimes we fat finger our password on a mobile device and the credentials are not recognized. The question becomes how easy can the user deal with these specific use cases. Of all the fintech and banking products out there, Acorns, a penny-saving fintech solution, has the single best user experience for both use cases.

First and foremost, Acorns has adopted the widely accepted retail practice of allowing users to unmask their password. This is an acceptable practice which reduces user authentication errors. By simply adding a “show” button, Acorns makes the login experience just a little easier.

In addition, the password reset flow is as simple as they come. Once the user clicks on reset password they are shown a simple 1 step screen requesting the user to enter their primary email address:

Password entering and password retrieval (Acorns)

Once the user enters their password, they will get a password reset email with a trusted link which in turn will quickly allow the user to reset their password.

Smart Watch Compatibility (Motilal Oswal Smart Watch App)

These days, everything is about speed. How fast can I get something done and move onto the next task. Motilal Oswal, an online share trading company gets this concept, and acted on it. What is quicker than looking at your watch and being able to check your investments. With the app, users don’t even need to pull out their phone; it’s that fast. With the Smart Watch App, this company is literally changing the game so investors can monitor stocks far easier than before, keeping afloat with the latest in the market and being able to make quicker decisions.

Motilal Oswal Smart Watch App

With this app, not only is the company filling a need, but creating customer satisfaction and engagement. Investors now have an app that they can use for far superior supervision over their holdings, so they are happy, but also are using this app constantly to check on these investments, creating engagement.

This is a win-win for all sides, and something banking institutions need to take a note from because filling a niche for quick access benefits not only the customer but also the bank when their product has high engagement!


Contrary to what many banking executives believe, the user experience is of critical importance to why customers are running in flocks from the traditional banking experience. The World Fintech Report 2017 shows just how popular fintech alternatives have become in such a short period of time (five years).

World Fintech Report 2017

The graph above shows a steady transition from traditional banking products to non-traditional fintech solutions.

At its core, fintech products succeed because they take a user centric approach to designing their products. They use best UX practices, compete over simplicity and beautiful designs and make the use of their digital offers as frictionless as humanly possible.

In this article, we wanted to show you some of the best user experience principles that banks and fintech products alike are implementing in an effort to compete for the attention and business of digitally-savvy users.

Individually, contrarians may argue, none of these user experiences are likely to convert a user or to keep them engaged in the long term. And that is true.

But collectively, these 15 user experiences are helping customers get to the information they need faster so that they can quickly return to whatever they were doing before firing up their banking app.

And that’s the standard every bank should live up to if they want to stay relevant in this new day and age.

Read More