Author Archives: Srinidhi Rao

Srinidhi Rao
Srinidhi is our Board Member Robosoft Technologies Inc., & EVP - Global Delivery. He also leads a group that focuses on end-to-end Product Life Cycle Management - from product conceptualization to delivery for a host of global clients. With nearly 20 years of experience - his techno-managerial background is an asset to our clients, as he brings both business and tech perspectives to crafting digital solutions.
Mobile Opinion

Beyond Statistics: Customer Experience in 2020

A few years ago, the customer experience was how a customer was treated when they were at a store, a restaurant or a hotel. It perhaps began when the customer entered and ended when they left the premises. In that context, enterprises, especially in consumer goods, placed a lot of emphasis on in-store experiences right from point of sale material, shelf display and packaging. Service brands laid emphasis on people-driven customer service.

Procter & Gamble, coined the phrase ‘First Moment of Truth’ to an in-store experience, especially when the customer is interacting with the packaging or POS material. It is believed that it occurs within the first 3-7 seconds of a consumer encountering the product and it is during this time that marketers have the capability of turning a browser into a buyer. The actual product experience was the ‘second moment of truth’ – as it was about the product living up to the claim. As the world became more digital, enterprises realized that the web played a big role in influencing brand choice even before they entered a retail store or went to an e-commerce portal. Google called it Zero Moment of Truth – as the web, especially search results, expert & customer reviews influenced the consideration set before the final brand purchase. So what the consumer saw in the digital world influenced the sale. In a way, it paved the way for Customer Experience – heavily influenced by digital, as we know it today.

Customer Experience (CX) today goes beyond the product or service a customer is looking to buy (or has already bought). Technology has made communication quick and easy, and customer experience today is a continuous, on-going process. When Amazon, for example, receives an order, they follow a process to ensure the customer is happy and informed throughout the journey. Constant email and message communications inform the customer where their product is, and when it will arrive. Once it is delivered, they ask for feedback and offer a return-back window. They have a 24×7 service line that customers can use to express issues. They send periodic emails about other products that a customer could be interested in. All of this culminates in ‘Customer Experience’. It may begin with a web search and include an app experience, interactions with customer service or the website. CX today is associated not just with the product, service, store or salesman, but with the entire brand that is delivering the experience.

In many cases today, the digital experience is perhaps the most dominant factor in customer experience. [click to tweet]

However, this is not to say that a great customer experience in digital can be a substitute for a poor product or service experience. It is said that good advertising can kill a bad product faster. Similarly, today’s savvy consumers will see through ‘all style and no substance’.

Why Customer Experience is Important

The sheer variety of options that are available to consumers today, makes CX the primary differentiating factor. Consider the e-wallet market, for example. Customers looking to perform the simple task of making quick transactions have over 100 options, as listed in this blog alone. In terms of functionality, there’s not much these apps can do differently. The only factor setting them apart is how customer-centric the brand is, and that encapsulates the app, the support team, the customer-facing representatives, etc.

 13% of customers will share with 15 or more people about a bad experience with a company, and 72% of consumers will tell 6 or more people about a happy experience.

It’s quite evident that in 2020 and for the foreseeable future, customer experience is going to play a vital role in the growth of sales and customer retention. Here are 3 factors that sum up the importance of CX:

1. Customer Experience Enforces Customer Retention

More often than not, customers return to a brand because of their experience than only due to the product or service itself. ‘Build it and they will come’ is simply not true. A product or service with great functionality needs the expertise of customer experience design too. In today’s world of product parity, this is even more important. There is very little that separates one bank’s services from another and hence the primary interface – in many cases, the mobile app becomes crucial for customer retention. According to Forbes, 96% of customers pledge loyalty to a brand based on customer experience. Acquiring new customers is important, but retaining customers and getting repeat orders can propel a business.

2. Consumers Decide Based on the Experience, Not the Product

Yes, having a great product is important, but it does not ensure a sale. Research shows that CX plays an important role in consumer decision making. In fact, consumers who have a good experience with a brand tend to spend more, return and refer. According to GrooveHQ, a customer that is highly engaged is 6 times more likely to return to try a new product or service. The report also states that customers who have had a pleasant experience with a brand spend 140% more compared to the customers who have had a bad experience in the past and 69% of these happy users would recommend the brand to others.

Here’s how McDonald’s was able to scale their CX with a user-friendly mobile app. McDonald’s India had a vision to make its mobile app the preferred medium for ordering. The goal was to bring the emotions of joy and delight from the in-store experience to the new McDelivery app. By analyzing the pain points in their current user journey and crafting a strong intent for the desired experience, McDonald’s was able to simplify the process of discovery, personalization, decision making and create delightful interactions. With the best UI in place, they increased orders by 103% with the new app, redirecting traffic from web-based ordering.

Consumers Decide Based on the Experience

3. CX Gives Brands the Information Needed to Make Their Product or Service Customer-Centric

Customer experience involves customer engagement, which gives businesses the data needed to improve products, services or the experience itself. According to this article on Hubspot, 70% of dissatisfied customers are willing to shop with the same brand again if their issues are promptly resolved by customer care. Enabling customer feedback channels through store forms, online chat windows, email, and telephone is a great way to initiate communication between the brand and a customer, and also seek feedback that allows brands to improve.

However, customers do not think about these things as much as enterprises do. They do not segregate an ‘offline’ and an ‘online’ experience in their minds. They simply want to get things done irrespective of the channel or technology.

Customer Experience Strategies That Brands Should Adopt to Scale Acquisition, Engagement & Retention

1. Collect Data & Infer Results

Collecting customer feedback is quite easy with numerous options available. A simple NPS survey or customer effort score (CES) survey can give brands valuable information about their product/service and CX. Advanced technological solutions like AI and Machine Learning enabled bots that can interpret a customer’s mood through Natural Language Processing allows brands to take proactive measures in solving a customer’s problem. There are many solutions at a brand’s disposal, and it is important to collect consumer experience data to derive useful insights.

2. Find a Balance Between Automation and Human Intervention 

Anyone who has dealt with customer service calls (and the hold timings) can say how frustrating it can be. Chatbots, powered by Artificial Intelligence was meant to be the solution to resolve customer issues. However, we can safely surmise that neither of the routes have reached perfection. It’s vital for brands to implement a smart mix of technology and human intervention. The first step is to identify roles that are best addressed by humans. AI can play the role of enhancement by analyzing interactions, the context of queries and automating several processes. An often neglected aspect of human intervention is the role of strategy and the role of design thinking prior to crafting or solving a customer experience issue.

3. Implement Immersive Technologies

During the launch of their SUV XC90, Nissan rolled out a VR enabled application that allows customers to take a test drive, virtually. Advertising and marketing methods have changed with the changing technological landscape. Technology like AR, VR, 3D Images/Videos, etc present customers with an immersive shopping experience that helps them better understand the product, in turn improving customer experience and satisfaction.

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4. Deliver Hyper-Personal Services

An article by Accenture stated that 75% of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that knows their name, purchase history and/or recommends products based on past purchases. This forms a part of several design thinking principles that can help in customer retention and help prevent churn. With smart feedback systems and CTAs in place at customer exit locations (in-store or on a website/app), it’s not difficult to gather relevant customer information. Brands should then segment their marketing campaigns based on customers’ data, which increases the chances of engagement and purchase.

5. Have a Relevant Omnichannel Presence

Customers will not articulate that they choose a brand because of its omnichannel presence. But a relevant usage of platforms and experiences adds to a brand’s aura and helps in creating a ‘big brand’ feel. It can lead to brand affinity – a key differentiator in a parity world.  The modes of communication consumers prefer, depend on demographics, location, age, gender, lifestyle etc, making it vital for a brand to be active and reachable on multiple channels today.

An omnichannel service does not simply mean having a token presence across channels of communication, but a one that is relevant and adds value to the consumer [Click to Tweet]

Success Stories Resulting from Exceptional Customer Experience (CX)

Hewlett Packard’s Virtual Agent for Customer Service

HP Inc sells over 50 million PCs every year, and with every PC they acquire a new customer who will in some time in their journey be in need of service and support. In fact, HP Inc handles over 600 million technical support contacts every year. Working with Microsoft, HP rolled out an AI-enabled virtual assistant that interacts with customers and helps them solve issues they face with a product. It guides users through a troubleshooting process and provides solutions. If a solution isn’t available, it transfers the customer to a human representative. Here’s a brief overview of the key benefits:

  • Prior to implementing the virtual assistant, HP would address 15 % – 20% issues digitally. Now, they address close to 80% issues successfully.
  • The bot helps customers navigate over 50,000 pages of product information by understanding their needs.
  • All of this resulted in increased customer satisfaction.

Mercedes-Benz Leveraged Predictive Analysis and AI to Better Serve Customers


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Mercedes-Benz was looking for a solution to better serve its customers in Brazil, which has the second-largest plant followed by Germany. They invested in a Microsoft Azure cloud solution coupled with Power BI and Cortana Intelligence to map their sales processes, and analyze decades worth of data like license plate records, macroeconomic indicators, regulations, sales information, and statistics by each region of the country. Through this change in data analysis and interpretation model, Mercedes-Benz was able to:

  • Provide 180 service locations around Brazil with consistent, actionable information to ensure each location could provide accurate proposals to their clients.
  • Assist sales reps to engage with consumers proactively before a need is even expressed with the help of predictive analysis.
  • Support employees in engaging and serving customers better, and in improving overall customer experience and satisfaction.

Thomas Cook’s Nurture Program

Thomas Cook was looking to establish a better and direct relationship with their existing customers, and prospects. They wanted to influence customers to be able to recommend their travel packages. Thomas Cook ran a CX improvement program a few years ago and collated data to study their customers’ interests and ran campaigns to request for personal recommendations based on past interactions and through display re-targeting. Through these hyper-personal campaigns, they were able to:

  • Receive over 15,000 leads.
  • Increased ROI, as high as 7.5 : 1 in a span of 3 months.

Hotel THE PIG Revamped their Online CX Experience to Boost Revenue

Kitchen garden hotel THE PIG wanted to increase their customer acquisition through online channels. They revamped their online booking process to make it more customer-centric and easy to use. In collaboration with Etch and Micros, the hotel implemented Opera Reservation System (ORS) in order to put in place a customized booking system that is customer-centric. By simplifying the customer’s booking journey, they achieved a 250% growth in online revenues over a two year period.

Improving customer experience is a seemingly simple two-step process: understand the needs of the customers, and implement effective methods to satisfy those needs. However, it is a lot more complex to accomplish and calls for collaboration with experienced partners who understand customer journeys, the role of digital experiences and the technologies that help craft them. There are also a plethora of tools available that help to collate consumer feedback, analyze customer satisfaction levels, and serve customers better. With the right strategy and tools in place, brands will be able to scale their customer experience alongside brand reputation, sales, and customer retention.

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Mobile Opinion

The road towards a cashless world – digital payments and the future (Updated)

When was the last time you pulled out your wallet to make a cash payment? It’s probably been a while, isn’t it? While debit and credit cards continue to be the preferred mode of payment – digital transactions, bank transfers, and e-wallets are getting equally popular. Convenience and security are two important reasons why cashless transactions are preferred.

According to a 2018 survey conducted by payment processor TSYS (as seen on that involved 1,222 consumers, 54% of the participants preferred paying via debit cards, 26% preferred credit cards, and only 14% expressed a preference for using cash. What’s interesting is that when compared to 2017’s report, the preference for payment by debit cards increased by 10%, indicating a continuous shift to cashless transactions.

Another survey by the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice (DCPC) suggests that the average amount of cash carried by consumers daily was $59, indicating that when consumers choose to pay in cash it is often when the amount is very small. The same report highlights that 55% of payments were made in cash but only when the net payment amount was under $10. The below image depicts the average cash holding by age group across the years:

Digital Payments and The Future

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Types of digital payments:

  1. Device-centric mobile proximity wallet

It is a wallet that stores the user’s payment credentials in the mobile device. These credentials, at the point of purchase NFC (Near Field Communications) or MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission), are leveraged to enable proximity payments.

  1. Device-centric mobile in-app wallet

This wallet is used for in-app purchases where a debit/credit card isn’t available. This wallet uses the EMV payment token and the issuer’s identification and verification to complete the in-app purchase.

  1. Card-not-present or card-on-file wallet

A digital wallet that uses the previously-stored payment credentials of users. The term Card-on-File is referred to the authorized storage of the user’s payment credentials by a merchant.

  1. QR code wallet

Similar to CNP wallets these wallets are device agnostic and cloud-based. QR codes are used to complete the transaction at the POS. Paytm is an example of such wallets.

  1. Digital checkout wallet

The payment networks offer digital checkout wallets or digital acceptance services to both issuers and merchants. The networks support a web browser, mobile app, and in-app channels.

Evolution of digital payments and digital wallets

The early 90s

The digital wallet space has been in existence since the ’90s. Online payment services started to operate in the early 90s.

  • Around this time PayPal was used as a software solution for eBay. However, the concept of storing payment information with an online provider to enable purchases outside of eBay initially didn’t catch up.
  • Almost at the same time, more players emerged in the digital wallet industry. Some of the popular entities of that time were Millicent (founded in 1995), Ecash and CyberCoin (founded in 1996).

The Late 90s–2000s

Most of the earlier digital wallets were stored on the desktops of personal computers. By the early 2000s, the new-age digital wallets emerged which were compatible with wireless and other mobile devices, and were more often stored on a central server owned by a digital wallet vendor or Internet service provider (ISP).

The major drawback of such wallets during this time was the compatibility. Moreover, the dearth of one multipurpose wallet required customers to download various digital wallets from multiple vendors. It was thereby a complicated option for customers.

To deal with this drawback several financial and technology enterprises like MasterCard, Visa, American Express, IBM, Microsoft, Trintech, and CyberCash came together and established a digital wallet standard. They defined Electronic Commerce Modeling Language (ECML) as a standard mechanism to explicitly define a format for online order forms that could incorporate digital wallet technology from any vendor.

Launch of Apple Pay

A significant shift in the digital wallet landscape was witnessed only in 2014 with the launch of Apple Pay; the wallet was supported by over 220,000 merchant locations in the United States. Other giants like Google and Samsung soon followed with their payment options – Android Pay and Samsung Pay respectively.


According to a BCG report, 2015-16 was known to be a watershed period in the payment history, and the trend continues. Within a span of just 2 years, between 2015 – 2017, the total value of the mobile wallets market doubled.

Total revenue of global mobile payment market from 2015 to 2019

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A 2018 Trends Report on Consumer Mobility released by Bank of America shows that P2P mobile payments, which is one to one payments over mobile wallets, increased from 36% in 2017 to 44% in 2018. An interesting fact here is that the number of mobile transaction users is rapidly increasing among the younger generation (51% of millennials said they used mobile wallets in 2018) while not so rapidly with people over the age group of 65, which stunted the overall increase in percentage but proved the shift to cashless transactions nonetheless.

Finally, late 2018 and 2019 saw a rapid rise in mobile wallets and digital transactions. This largely occurred due to the growth in technology that led to numerous e-payment vendors and apps. The added assurance of security through OTPs and passwords is fueling the transition from cash and card payments to mobile payments.

An eMarketer report released in December 2018 projected that almost 938 million people worldwide will make a payment over their smartphone in 2019. This number represents nearly 36% of all smartphone users and is an increase of 13.5% over 2018.

As per a survey by the Boston Consulting Group, the amount spent via digital wallets is expected to rise to $500-$550 billion by 2025.

Change leading the digital payments revolution:

There are four major shifts in the global technology landscape that have led to the digital wallet revolution:

  1. The ongoing digital revolution
  2. The entry of non-traditional players
  3. Evolution of a more demanding digitally-savvy consumer
  4. The emergence of new markets

The ongoing digital revolution

By 2020 it is expected that almost 75% of the world’s population will have access to the internet. 80% of these users will be accessing the internet through their mobile. Over the years, smartphones have gotten smarter and are equipped with high-end technologies like powerful processors, substantial memory, high-resolution cameras, barcode scanning, GPS geocoding, NFC-based technologies, social media platforms, etc. With all these armors, every smartphone user is a potential commerce enabler.

The evolution of smartphones is enabling new payment capabilities. This has revolutionized digital payments coupled with innovations in payment access and security technologies such as tokenization of card details for reducing fraud, biometric-enabled multi-factor authentication, EMV standards for user authentication, NFC-capable readers at merchant stores, hardware-based secure element approaches, etc.

The entry of non-traditional players

The digital wallet industry is not limited to Fintech and Financial enterprises. Over the years we have seen players across multiple industries entering the sector. These categories range from device manufacturers (Apple, Samsung, Google), technology and e-commerce enterprises (eBay, Alibaba, Amazon), telecom companies (Vodafone, Orange, Airtel) and start-ups like PayTM and FreeCharge in India, Google Pay, etc.

The disruption in the digital wallet space is further expected to heighten as the number of Fintech startups continues to grow. In the past five years, the number of such start-ups has doubled, with funding growing six times. The largest share of the overall Fintech funding, in fact, has gone to the payment Fintechs, spanning from wallets to integrated POS systems, P2P payments, and cross-border transfers, etc.

Some startups such as Ant Financial Services Group (China), First Data, Stripe and Mozido (USA) and One97 Communications (India), have grown to over USD 1 billion in valuation.

Evolution of a more demanding digitally-savvy consumer.

The tech-savvy consumer today has shifted to the digital platform for a lot of reasons, and hassle-free money transactions are one of them. The emergence of non-banking tech players along with retailers and e-commerce enterprises and the advent of features such as biometric authentication from ApplePay and integrated rewards from Starbucks, have to meet the customer’s expectations changing from payments solutions.

The consumer today expects a seamless digital experience from every interaction they have with brands in the virtual world. Hence, there is a growing need for an intuitive and frictionless user interface and design.

The digital wallets are expected to offer a seamless interaction on smartphones and apps to deliver on par with the evolving customer needs, both enhancing and increasing customer interactions and building relationships.

The emergence of new markets

According to a recent study, consumers in markets like India, South Korea, and China are more open to experimenting with mobile payments than the US, UK, Australia, and others. One of the reasons for this shift is the growing number of internet users in these countries.

Internet Users by Country 2016 to 2021

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A DCR Strategies report revealed that by 2020, every 1 in 2 dollars spent online will come from a purchase made by a mobile phone. The same report also revealed that the global mobile wallet spends increased by 32% in 2017 to $1.35 trillion. Here are some interesting facts from the report : more than 50% of smartphone users don’t prefer carrying any payment instrument (cash or card) with them, one in three Canadians already paid for something through their mobile phone, and two thirds of Canadians are looking to stop using cheques and other outdated modes of payment.

The growth story of digital payments in India

The Indian economy has traditionally been dominated by cash. However, the increased adoption of smartphones together with a favorable regulatory environment is pushing the economy to a less cash-dependent state and promoting the usage of digital payments.

The growth story of digital payments in India

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This report by Statista shows the rise in transactions on mobile phones in the past few years:

Transactions on mobile phones

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The parliament released a statement in July stating that the overall digital transactions in India increased by 51% to reach INR 3,133.58 Crore in 2018-2019.

According to a study by Assocham-PWC India, digital payments in India will increase from $64.8 billion to $135.2 billion in 2023, which is more than a 100% increase. The study stated that India is expected to clock ‘the fastest growth in digital payments’ between 2019 and 2023 with a CAG of over 20.2%. It also stated that on a worldwide transaction scale, India’s share in digital payments will increase from 1.56% to 2.02% between 2019 and 2023.

To further emphasize the move from cash to cashless transactions, a report by economic times India stated that debit and credit card transactions until September stood at 2.9 billion, mobile wallet transactions at 2.1 billion, and UPI at 1.5 billion.

The major contributors to this estimate will be the person to merchant (P2M) transactions driven by digital payments at the physical point of sale, followed by business to business (B2B) and peer to peer (P2P) transactions.

Digital wallets gained a major boost during the demonetization drive of 2016. Further, some key actions like – expansion of the digital payments infrastructure at merchant establishments, expansion into rural areas, relaxation in the PPI norms, incentivization of digital payments at fuel pumps, toll plazas, insurance portals, etc. and launch of the Bharat QR codes, have helped further in the adoption of technology.

The fastest-growing segment of digital payments is Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs), which has grown at a CAGR of 97% in the same period that now accounts for 10% of the total digital payments volume.

Mobile-wallet is the largest category within PPIs, but the segment also includes prepaid cards (including gift cards) as well as other paper vouchers.

Paytm leading the way to a cashless economy in India

Paytm is India’s largest mobile commerce platform. It started by offering mobile recharge and utility bill payments and today it offers a full marketplace to consumers on its mobile apps.

PayTM’s total annualized gross transaction value (GTV) grew four-fold to cross $20 billion in February 2018, as compared to 2017 and hit $50 billion GTV in FY19.

As of July 2019, PayTM has over 450 million registered customers with over 130 million of these as active users and over 12 million registered merchants. They are investing heavily to reach a target of 250 million monthly active users by March 2020.

Emerging markets to lead the way

Today’s consumers prefer faster and convenient solutions in all walks of life. As the world moves towards becoming cashless, initiatives taken by enterprises and governments to promote cashless societies, technological innovation, and financial inclusion will emerge as the key drivers of the significant growth rates of the non-cash transactions in the emerging markets.

While the proliferation of mobile payments and digital innovation are expected to be the levers of high growth across all the regions, differences in adoption patterns and development of new use cases are likely to shape the individual regional trends. Due to the entry of new players, the ability, new technologies, and the expansion of traditional payments infrastructures into the digital world will lead to the growth of the digital payments industry in the upcoming years.

According to Statista,

  • In India alone, the total transaction value of digital payments in 2019 amounts to US$64,787 million.
  • This total transaction value of digital payments is projected to increase with a CAGR of 20.1% between 2019-2023 resulting in a total value of US$134,588m by 2023.
  • Globally, China has the highest value of digital transactions at US$1,570,194m in 2019.

New technologies will lead to new use cases of digital wallets

When it comes to mature markets, a combination of NFC/contactless technology and mobile payments may lead to the development of new payment use cases. Countries such as Australia, Canada, and the U.K. are exhibiting this trend. Further, as new technologies like IoT and Blockchain are adopted by a greater volume of enterprises, the digital wallets industry will disrupt.

In the future, many more use cases of IoT and blockchain are expected. Firms such as mobile payment company Abraare are experimenting with blockchain technology to enable mobile P2P payments and cross-border payments. Blockchain also can be leveraged for digital cash by mobile wallet providers such as Coinprism and Xapo; the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently embraced blockchain as the basis of digital currency within the country. Further to incorporate IoT enabled payments banks will also create more digital touch points.

In the mobility segment, connected cars may turn into new POS for in-car services, including infotainment and real-time navigation.

OpenAPIs is another breakthrough technology disrupting the digital wallets industry. OpenAPIs provide secure and standardized interfaces across all stakeholders, enabling data to be gathered in one place by aggregators.

Regulators will create policies to enable the digital payments ecosystem

As the new technological innovation is transforming the payments landscape, regulators and central authorities across the globe are taking measures to make the digitization of payments easy. Regulators will work towards creating a level playing field for all stakeholders in addition to implementing consistent standards for cyber-security, data privacy, messaging formats, and interface standardization.

Some such key regulatory and industry initiatives are:

  • Regulators on the reduction of risk at banks have given traction to initiatives such as BaselIII’s Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR).
  • Cyber-security and data protection are witnessing a renewed focus, especially within the EU through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Network and Information Security (NIS) directives.
  • The arrival of PSD2 in early 2018 is expected to meet regulators’ ambitions to create a level playing field for all stakeholders and promote competition by opening the payments market to new entrants in Europe.

The emergence of a collaborative ecosystem

Technological innovations will drive the digital payments industry to evolve and adopt a collaborative ecosystem. As Fintech players and other Third Party Payment (TPP) enterprises give way to better and faster payments interface, banks are opening up their platform to these enterprises. Some of the players like PayU have already acquired Citrus Pay to become a larger group. This consolidation was aimed to expand into more offerings around banking and other services.

Further, new entrants into the payments space, are increasing competition and forcing payments services vendors to consolidate to capitalize on economies of scale. Some examples of such collaborations would be Fiserv acquiring Monitise and PCLender to provide a broader range of customer offerings, and banking players Misys and FIS integrating operations.

In the coming years, the industry will see more such consolidations and Payment vendors with advanced digital capabilities could become acquisition targets as incumbents look to scale up operations to make the most of the expanding digital payments market.

Benefits of consolidation for payments vendors

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Stringent data privacy laws will be established:

In recent times, data breach cases and cyber-attacks like WannaCry Ransomware have created the need for more stringent data privacy and security laws.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) and New York Department of Financial Services’ regulation on cyber-security are already in place, and more regulations from different central authorities are expected with steep penalties for non-compliance. Further, the U.K. announced a data-protection bill24, which gives more control to consumers on their data. China’s new cyber-security law includes liabilities such as suspension of business activities and fines up to 1 million RMB for violation.

The growth of the cyber-security industry is also a sign of increased emphasis on cyber-security. According to a Forbes report, The overall spending on cyber-security services and products increased over $114 billion in 2018, a rise of 12.4% as compared to 2017. The report further states that the cyber-security investment will continue to grow by 8,7% to $124 billion.

The digital wallets and mobile payments industry will expand in the coming years owing to the infrastructure becoming more robust, enablers like NFC, POS acceptance devices and online integrated mobile payments.

However, security, ease of transactions and enabling multiple transactions on a single platform will be of key importance in gaining more users. The digital payments ecosystem is on a growth curve, and a collaborative ecosystem with financial services, Third Party payment vendors and Fintech enterprises will emerge in the years to come.

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Banking Fintech Mobile Opinion

Customer Experience: The Next Battleground in Digital Lending

The banks and lenders today face a stern test of how they can reduce the customer attrition rate for their institutions. Today’s borrowers expect the onboarding and lending process to be fast and convenient – more and more customers now expect it to be done digitally without an actual visit to the lender’s premises.
It is the driving factor behind lenders going through a digital transformation for their services to provide the best customer experiences.

Digital Lending has been an exponentially growing global phenomenon over the past few years. It may have been initially dismissed as a ‘buzzword’ with no universally articulated definition, but the bold foray of Fintech startups and tech giants into the grey space has resolved all market doubts.

And the result has been spectacular.

The global market size of digital lending platforms reached a value of $8.6 Billion in 2021 and expected to reach US$ 20.3 Billion by 2027. This translates to a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.39% during 2021-2027.

Increasing consumer demands and expectations have created new markets for alternative methods of borrowing money. And businesses have been quick to understand the importance of customer experience as a differentiating factor. They are proactively leveraging the opportunity to drive efficiency, cut down on costs, and expand.

The competition in the post-pandemic digital lending market is intense, especially for the prime Millennial segment. With a plethora of such players in the market today, it is indeed becoming increasingly difficult for companies to differentiate their offerings. This is precisely where customer experience takes precedence. A great digital customer experience involves understanding user needs, creating a strategic design framework, creating design with emotion and empathy among others. With all other key variables being in a level field, customer experience in digital lending is set to be in the driving seat.

Digital lending: primary drivers of growth

Here’s a close look at the primary factors that are driving this revolution and contributing to superior customer experience in digital lending today:

Digital Lending key growth drivers

Market Impact of Millennials and Generation Z

An influx of tech-savvy Millennials and Generation Z consumers into the financial markets has brought a fundamental shift in consumer ideologies and behaviors. ‘Instant gratification’ is the key for them and digital habits such as online food delivery, cab booking, and grocery/essential shopping has only reiterated this mindset. They have a stronger emotional connection with technology and new-age brands such as Apple, Uber, Amazon, and Google. The perceived ease of use and delight of digital-only products (e.g. Dropbox) is sought to be emulated across all digital experiences.

Hence, this is both an opportunity and a threat for financial organizations. To stay relevant in the market and fend off competitors, there was a dire need for both short and long-term financial instruments that fit into the profiles of such consumers.

Data Collection and Associated Analytics

The proliferation of smartphones in consumer habits is driving more than half of the traffic on the Internet today. With access to a number of digital services, engagement is being driven like never before. The result is an accumulation of data points that can be smartly leveraged by financial companies.

The silver lining? Lenders have the ability to actively analyze the spending habits and repayment schedules of users and profile them with unprecedented accuracy. With such abundant data sets, significant value in the financial sector can now be driven.

Added capabilities in their arsenal include:

  • Generating new revenue streams via data-driven offers and recommendations.
  • Extending better services and security features to customers, such as the detecting card frauds.
  • Managing the risk of lending to customers by determining the probability of repayments.
  • Leveraging Machine Learning techniques to connect relevant card members with the right merchants.
  • Offering market insights to customers while boosting engagement and trust.

Introduction of Innovative Business Models

The inception of multiple digital lending business models to meet varying customer needs and regulatory requirements has only made the case stronger. With niche operations, companies are now able to reach customers who were not able to access financial services in the past. Innovation in space has fended off challenges related to geography, higher transaction costs, and transparency.

Primary digital lending models today include:

  • Online and Mobile Lending Platforms: Offer end-to-end digital lending products via purely mobile or web-based platforms. The entire workflow of lending ranging from customer acquisition, loan distribution, and customer engagement is digital.
  • E-commerce and Social Platforms: Lending is not the core value proposition of such platforms. They instead leverage it as an engagement strategy to boost customer retention and sales.
  • Marketplace Platforms: A typical marketplace where specific algorithms match borrowers and lenders. An initiation or subscription fee is usually charged by lenders.
  • P2P Platforms: Such platforms use profiles and data to match borrowers with institutional or individual lenders. They often include support for repayment and collection processes.
  • Supply Chain Lenders: Short-term and digital working capital loans for SMEs for various needs such as purchasing inventory from distributors or pay-as-you-go financing.
  • Tech-powered Lenders: Traditional lenders with digitized lending processes that include digital acquisition channels and repayment options.

Enablement of Regulatory Environments

With the economic benefits of digital lending now evident, governments around the world have been embracing the shift. In fact, they have been coming up with regulatory frameworks that protect the interest of all the involved stakeholders. Prominent motivators in the sector by global governments include:

  • Issuance of Bit Licenses by the US Government for businesses that deal in cryptocurrencies.
  • Drafted rules for digital lending, such as the ‘Guiding Opinions on
  • Promoting the Healthy Development of Internet Finance (GOPHD)’ by central regulators in China.
  • Implementation of India Stack, an open architecture platform for authentication and data access in India.
  • European Union’s PSD2 (Second Payment Service Directive) regulation enables customers to share sensitive financial data through secured third-party APIs.

With a legal and officially recognized framework of operations, market inhibitors have been efficiently combated. For instance, due to the legal, regulatory vacuum in China, ‘shadow banking’ participants prevailed in the market. This often led to funding mismanagement and liquidity issues for key stakeholders.

Better Speed of Operations and Lower Costs

Digital lending is backed by technologies that eliminate operational bottlenecks and significantly speed up the process of loan approvals and dispersals. An ideal tool can automate the underwriting and approval processes. As a result, lenders are now able to:

  • Execute real-time data assessment for application approvals or rejection.
  • Undertake quicker loan decisions and maximize customer engagement.
  • Constantly monitoring the creditworthiness of borrowers.

At the same time, digital lending business models are much more cost-effective than traditional banking models. Lenders do not have to maintain brick-and-mortar structures or pay for expensive legacy IT systems. Hence, with a significantly lower cost structure, customers receive more affordable loans and access to new financial tools.

How to build a great customer experience in digital lending

The first step to building a great customer experience in digital lending begins with the onboarding process. The very first contact with your website, company and services need to leave a lasting impression. You need to prove why your lending terms are good for users, how they can get money, and which services might be in their scope of interest. The whole interaction should make the potential customers familiar with your services. It inadvertently increases the chance of them wanting more and coming back often to you. Below are 5 ways you can enhance the customer experience to lower the churn rate.

4 Ways to Enhance Customer Experience in Digital Lending

#1. Allow customers to self service

Lenders can provide a good customer experience by eliminating excessive or unreasonable document requests or the submission of multiple applications for multiple products. They can include provisions for easy-to-use and quick processes such as eKYC, e-sign and digital locker with intuitive third-party integrations. Also, easy access to credit scores from the relevant credit bureaus and the subsequent verification of documents in real-time enhance the experience.

A borrower will need more than just necessary product information to make an educated choice. A website or app that can provide support related answers to all their queries across the platform is what every customer requires. Allowing such self-service capabilities improves consumer satisfaction levels, customer retention, and increases conversion rates. User-friendly design, cohesive domain, and consistent web design show customers that they can trust you.

#2. Maintain consistency across all touchpoints

Modern borrowers expect an omnichannel experience from their lenders.

People using digital lending services often switch between devices before completing the activity. Today lenders need to understand the importance of cross channel journeys and the need to extend innovative cross-channel integrations. Also, frictionless digital experiences with near-real-time accountability and continuity across digital and in-person experiences go a long way.

Successful digital lending customer experiences are the ones that deliver a truly seamless multichannel experience.

#3. Adopt financial technology

The time is now for lenders to catch up with the latest technologies to find great opportunities to improve their customer experience. Enhanced security of platforms using biometrics such as voice identification and eye scanners is a great example of how digital is improving the lending business in appeasing customers. Not only this, lenders now have provisions in place for detecting frauds and integration with payment gateways for quicker decision making and disbursal.

Old obsolete banking systems are one of the major attrition factors for lenders as customers now have multiple options to choose from. Good-architectured mobile apps, statistically, have lower churn rates after customer onboarding. This is because the majority of users download an app following the reviews in the Play Store or App Store or recommendations of friends or relatives.

However, when developing an app, consider making it easy to navigate. Solutions with everything at hand are highly appreciated by customers.

#4. Curate personalized customer experience

Personalization and segmentation of messaging and services using marketing automation tools such as CRM systems help a lender stay relevant in this highly competitive market. Successful lenders offer relationship and loyalty pricing tiers and exclusive benefits in a bid to boost retention. They also extend real-time visibility into the status of applications and deliver effective customer-centric communication.

Lending institutions need to leverage customer data to capture untapped opportunities for personalization. According to HubSpot, 59% of customers value the personalized banking experience approach over response speed when it comes to customer service.

Transforming the loan origination journey

#1. Customer Acquisition and Data Capture

Banks use a combination of online channels like emails, social media, SMS blasts, AI chatbots, etc. to attract customers and gather customer data. Banks then use this data to curate personalized digital lending offerings to the customer in an attempt to acquire them to offer their services.

Once the customer data is acquired, banks use the eKYC (electronic Know-Your-Customer) system to automate identity verification. The customers no longer need to physically visit a facility to submit documents for verification. The majority of eKYC platforms also give users access to public or private sector records, which can be useful when a bank wants to improve the quality of its customer data.

#2. Analytics & Data Consumption

Digital lending is mostly about having access to more data and using that data to generate more precise, timely, and automated underwriting decisions. Banks can quickly rate customers and make credit decisions automatically by deploying sophisticated algorithms and data.

A lending software called a Loan Origination System (LOS) uses relatively little manual intervention to automatically gather customer information from pertinent sources, score their credit, and make loan credit choices. The data is loaded into sophisticated algorithms or a ready-made solution to forecast customers’ ability and willingness to repay. The result is obvious: decisions are taken quickly, turnaround times are shortened, and customer satisfaction levels are raised.

#3 Disbursement and Repayment

In the case of digital lending, banks use digital means to both remotely disburse loans and collect repayments. Effective channels for loan disbursement and repayment from partners include things like mobile wallets and e-commerce accounts. By removing pointless paperwork, these cashless channels demonstrate that operational efficiency may be increased.

Additionally, they offer a transparent audit trail, which can help lenders stop fraud. Banks can also consider a Loan Management System if they wish to get a comprehensive perspective of each customer’s lending journey. Customizable repayment plans and durations, aid banks in the proactive identification, classification, and management of loans.

#4 Collection and Asset Management

Data and algorithms are used by banks to support their collecting efforts. Software called Loan Collection System can also assist banks in streamlining disbursement and repayment.

Digital loans, like other loans, include delinquent borrowers being blacklisted and losing access to future credit, which can be a great motivation for them to repay. To help customers comprehend the long-term financial consequences of a bad credit score and to minimize collection efforts, banks are advised to provide them with the required information.

#5 Customer Engagement

By utilizing digital channels and client data, one may create an intuitive, practical, and customized customer experience. This is a two-way communication that involves both inbound (borrower to lender) and outbound(lender-to-customer) channels.

Banks analyze a customer’s spending pattern and send them personalized messages, reminders, and product offers. Customers also can take control of their loan account and manage repayment schedule, raise complaints, ask queries via simple SMS services, contact center help, self-service portals, chatbots etc. This clear open two-way communication enhances a bank’s effort to improve customer experience at every touchpoint of the customer’s digital lending journey.

Additional tips to design a human centric borrowing platform for customers

Appeal to the rational mind

When it comes to money, the rational mind takes over the emotional mind for humans. And if someone had a bad lending experience previously, they are less likely to entrust a new lending platform. Thus, it is important to be as transparent as possible in all the digital lending steps from onboarding to payback by customer. Despite all that, some customers just won’t use your platform more than their utmost requirements and you have to accept that fact.

Give back control to customer

People like to be in control of their finances. A lending platform that allows customizing loan offers based on loan tenure, loan amount, repayment dates, repayment modes, etc. will always be preferred by customers. Designing the app for simple navigation and actions allows customers to have a great experience during the whole lending process.

Keep it simple

Customers already feel overwhelmed by their monetary needs, they don’t need a poorly designed app to add to their misery. The whole process of onboarding, loan assessment and EMI calculation, document uploading and verification, and loan disbursement should be as simple as it can be. Every step should be clearly instructed on what’s been asked from the customer and how to proceed further.

Build intelligent chatbot AI

Another factor that can surely enhance customer experience during the whole lending process is the presence of an assistant. An intelligent chatbot AI can actively help the user to not only guide to their required sections in the app, but also provide necessary information on the go to help ease the whole process.

Consumer credit market trends in the USA

The immediate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a dramatic slowdown of unsecured credit products such as personal loans and credit cards when compared to previous quarters. However, after the reopening of America and the expected addition of jobs and wages helped turn around the declining trend and enable consumers to manage their debts going forward. The US consumer borrowing witnessed a month upon month surge in March-April 2022. This growth was aided by rising prices and continued purchasing power of American consumers.
As the image below shows, the total credit increased $38.1 billion from the prior month after a downwardly revised $47.3 billion gain in March.

Digital lending trends

Source: Bloomberg

Digital Lending Platforms: many players, many intents

Let’s take a quick look at the existing digital lending ecosystem and look at what global market players are offering in this space:

  • U.S Bank: Recently launched a digital lending platform that automates the process from application to funding. Applications can be submitted and reviewed on any device and borrowers can even review loan terms remotely and electronically sign documents. And with an integrated ecosystem, customers can initiate application processes on one channel and pick them up on another.
  • The Halo App: This is a peer-to-peer digital lending platform that leverages an intuitive mobile application to connect borrowers and lenders. It has been specially created to cater to the small-dollar loan requirements of users. It is borrower-centric in the sense that they can slice their payments into smaller pieces. Lenders are available round the clock and borrowers can receive instant cash.

The Halo App

  • Kabbage: Dedicated platform for entrepreneurs and small businesses that provides them access to up to US$250,000 in loans. It takes users just 10 minutes to verify their eligibility. A highlight of the platform is the elimination of origination fees and prepayment penalties. And with an integrated interlinking of business-related information, users can drive automated financial reviews.
  • Faircent: a P2P lending platform that ‘connects individuals in need for credit with individuals and institutes willing to lend their access funds’
  • TurnKey Lender: Intelligent and all-in-one lending automation platform that leverages AI and big data to streamline the elements of a lending process. This ranges from origination to underwriting and servicing to the collection.
  • Better: Better provides mortgage lending, real estate, title insurance and homeowner’s insurance while removing lender fees and commissions. Better’s lenient lending policies and large agent network resulted in acquiring more than $400M in funding and providing $7.9B in home loans to date.
  • PayPay: PayPay is a fintech giant in Japan who is revolutionizing cashless payment. It has more than 47 million customers and offers a range of financial services, including banking, securities, loans, investments, and insurance, to services available across various scenes, such as tax & bill payments, online shopping, restaurants, hotels, and more.PayPay
  • Open Lending: Open Lending serves automotive loan borrowers using big data and high finance to provide risk modeling and decision-making software. The company’s Lenders Protection solutions help lenders utilize proprietary data and advanced decision analytics to increase near and non-prime auto loan volumes, leading to higher yields with less significant risk.
  • SALT Lending: The unique feature of SALT is that it lets borrowers leverage their cryptocurrency for loans. Borrowers can agree to terms ranging from one to 36 months on loans available for Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin and Dogecoin. It uses blockchain evidence-based, chain-of-custody smart contracts to ensure the crypto is safely transferred. After its huge success in the US, SALT is now expanding its business to countries like New Zealand, Brazil, Switzerland and the U.K.
  • OnDeck: OnDeck is a B2B digital lender which provides personalized loans and lines of credit to small and midsize businesses. Businesses can identify the type of business they operate (restaurant, retail, tech company, etc.) and even define the purpose of the loan (expanding business, hiring employees, etc.). OnDeck accordingly personalizes the payment structure that best fits the situation.

The Verdict

As we venture into a bold new era of digital lending, customer experience is set to play the lead role in the story of financial empowerment. Lenders that can smartly manage ever-changing customer expectations, emerging technological capabilities and shifting market conditions will always be a step ahead of their competitors. As sources of consumer data grow every year, lending institutions will be able to increasingly focus on consumer needs.

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Mobile Opinion

6 Revolutionary Technologies That Are Driving Personalization in Retail

Personalization has inherently been associated with digital commerce where technology and data often go hand-in-hand. But owing to the proliferation of new-age tech inside brick-and-mortar stores, the trend is now seeping into retail.

In the past, in-store personalization was mainly attributed to a sales assistant interacting with customers and asking them relevant questions to map their shopping behaviors and needs. Modern-day technologies have been able to capture and scale this behavior towards better avenues of segmentation, customization, and contextualization. Armed with a plethora of solutions, retailers are now able to combine historical cross-platform knowledge of every visitor with a real-time context. A study from Accenture reiterates the importance of such a strategy. According to it, 75% of the customers are more likely to buy from a retailer that leverages personalization elements such as their name, personal recommendations, and preferences.

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The same research also reveals that most of the consumers comfortably share their data with businesses that are transparent about how they use their data and lets them control how the data is used.

Leading Technologies Personalizing Retail

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Even after all this, there is a knowledge gap between the expectations of the market and the response from retailers. For instance, research by Retail Week in the UK revealed that only 14% of retailers consider personalization as an essential consumer experience strategy.

Key Technologies Personalizing Retail

To successfully leverage personalization, it requires a prompt understanding of the customers and their needs in a way that collects, analyzes, and streamlines data. Here’s a look at the various technologies are helping retail companies in this regard:

1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Retailers are leveraging AI and Machine Learning to Automate workflows and drive better decisions. With AI, they are now able to track the buying behaviors and lifestyle choices of customers, automate redundant tasks, and improving the productivity of employees. Emerging AI trends in retail include:

  • Customer Insights and Journey Mapping: Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning can sift through copious amounts of customer data to understand them better and accordingly personalizing product recommendations, designs, and end-to-end shopping experiences.
  • Virtual Personal Assistants (VPAs): VPAs such as conversational chatbots can now address customer queries in real-time and at scale. Digital retailers can cater to thousands of customer queries simultaneously, boosting response time and query resolution.
  • Predictive Analytics: By analyzing data about historical sales, marketing campaigns, website interactions, and customer support, prescriptive and predictive modeling is being used in marketing, merchandising, and even hiring.


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Case Study: Sephora is equipping its employees with hand-held devices that can scan the faces of customers, capture their exact skin tone, and recommend products by matching it with relevant shades. The AI-powered device even creates a four-digit code that is known as the Color IQ of the customer. All associated data with every ID is then securely stored to personalize future shopping experiences.

2. Voice Recognition Technology

With numerous voice-powered devices such as Amazon Alexa, Apple Home Pod, and Google Home being launched by tech giants, use cases of voice technology in retail have been on the rise. It is revolutionizing shopping by making it more accessible and conversational. This has presented retailers unique opportunities to target more customers by optimizing their digital listings for voice searches. Marketing opportunities that retailers can leverage in this regard include:

  • SEO Optimization: By targeting long-tail keywords that are more oriented towards conversational searches, retailers can optimize their SEO scores and increase their voice search rankings on SERPs.
  • Platform Listings: Product listings on e-commerce websites such as Amazon and Flipkart can also be optimized to improve the chances of being recommended by voice search assistants such as Alexa.
  • Content Marketing: By creating niche content that is specifically targeted for voice searches, retailers can increase the organic footfall on their websites and shift their marketing stance towards inbound.


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Case Study: Coffee giant Starbucks has embraced voice recognition by going a step ahead and including the capability in the My Starbucks Barista app. Customers can directly place their orders with voice commands before they visit their local Starbucks and find their orders waiting for them.

3. Mobile Point-of-Sale Terminals

Research suggests that in the United States alone, more than 50% of all digital shopping would be executed via mobile devices. Retailers are catching on with this trend and leveraging Mobile POS (mPOS) devices inside their stores that are blending the boundaries between digital and in-store shopping.

A mPOS is a smartphone, tablet, or a wireless device that functions as an electronic point of sale terminal. It enables sales associates to conduct financial transactions. Various benefits of this technology include:

  • Reduced queuing and idle time of customers, especially during times of peak footfall.
  • The system can easily collect and store personal information of customers such as their email IDs. Feeding the data in the ERP system and connecting it with marketing campaigns, such as a loyalty program, can then help to retarget these customers in the future.
  • Since the mPOS devices run on a high-caliber point of sale software, they include an added level of security that is backed by reliable servers.

Case Study: Apple has been successful in eliminating cash registers from its stores around the world with the implementation of mPOS. Every store associate is equipped with a mobile device that includes the information of customers and multiple digital payment capabilities. This has helped them to eliminate checkout lines and improve customer experience in a manner that fares well with their brand strategy.

4. Computer Vision and Sensor Fusion

Powered by computer vision, deep learning, heavy-surveillance and sensors, retail giants like Amazon have been working towards the implementation of a next-gen shopping ecosystem. This is being executed with the aim of eliminating redundant steps associated with purchases, checkout, supply chain, and inventory management.

Interestingly, the result amalgamation of these technologies has been dubbed as ‘Just Walk Out’ and works similar to that of a self-driving car. In order to remove human cashiers from the workflow of such a store, it leverages a high level of surveillance on all shoppers. Although there is no intervention of facial recognition technology, the store would use hundreds of cameras to monitor the activities of shoppers.   Powered by computer vision, the core system would be able to identify every object in front of it. As soon as customers pick up products and place them in their shopping carts, the same would be placed in their virtual carts as well. It can even remove the item from this digital cart if a product is put back on the shelf.

Amazon Go stores

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Case Study: Amazon Go stores are leveraging these technologies to extend a cashless and instant shopping experience to their customers. Powered by deep learning and a plethora of smart algorithms, the system is able to identify customers with the help of advanced pattern recognition that draws conclusions from vast datasets. As a result, customers are automatically charged from their credit cards or digital wallets as soon as they walk out of the stores.

5. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA in the retail industry is paving the way for better productivity by catering to administrative processes such as product scanning, data analytics, and inventory management. This results in better customer relationship management, easier and quicker auditing, reduction in administrative costs, and more. The various use cases of the technology in retail include:

  • Returns Processing: With the ability to make automated changes to the inventory database and billing details, RPA can drive redundant tasks like product returns.
  • Workflow Management: Management of shifts, measurement of time and attendance, auditing of sales activities, performance monitoring, and payroll management can be easily executed.
  • Customer Support Management: Sending real-time updates to customers, extending round the clock customer support, and capturing feedback from customers after the sale.
  • ERP Integration: Tracking price changes, generating reports, monitoring employee vacancies, managing billing, and more.
  • Supply Chain Management: Automation of emails among customers, suppliers, and distributors along with monitoring inventory levels and tracking shipments.


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Case Study: Walmart is leveraging RPA along with smart robots to patrol stores and automatically scan shelves for missing items. This will allow them to identify the products that need to be restocked while also identifying pricing details and misplaced items.

6. Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS) and Geofencing

IPS is another leading technology that is overhauling the retail industry by empowering brands to stitch together digital and physical shopping experiences. With IPS, retailers can:

  • Track the movement and location of customers inside their brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Help customers by empowering them to find their way around it and locate the products.
  • Send personalized discounts and offers to customers based on their shopping needs and preferences.
  • Boost the conversion rates of customers by making physical shopping more targeted and personalized.

On the other hand, Geofencing creates a virtual boundary around a physical location. The boundary then acts as a trigger system when customers cross it. For instance, as soon as a customer walks into the store of a particular brand, the app on his/her phone can identify this and automatically switch to the in-store mode. A navigation map can then pop up that displays the exact location of all product types inside the store.

Case Study: Aswaaq, a leading supermarket chain in Dubai, has equipped its stores with a connected lighting system that communicates with its customers. It enables them to find items that are on their shopping lists with an accuracy of 30 cms through the brand’s app.

The Verdict

Successfully mapping the present technological backdrop in retail and planning for future disruptions requires meticulous knowledge about consumer behaviors. Retailers that are able to use data as a precursor to change management while adopting these technologies would be able to foster a sustainable technological ecosystem.

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Mobile Opinion

Customers Are Here To Stay: How AI can Boost Customer Lifetime Value

Retaining customers and building customer lifetime value is a crucial aspect to increase conversions. Digital disruption with the advent of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning has resulted in a unique challenge for marketers. Though it allows them to provide customers with experiences like never before, it also opens a myriad of options for consumers to choose from. This may have made customer retention a tricky task for organizations. After all, repeat purchases from existing customers is a sign of a healthy brand, since acquiring new customers can be expensive and may often impact the bottom line. While expanding the value and building lasting loyalty cannot be created overnight, disruptive technologies can help.

Let’s understand how organizations around the world are deploying cognitive technologies such as AI to create brand loyalty and adopt agile strategies using their existing data.

Current Scenario

Most organizations understand the importance of collecting data and do it through several digital marketing strategies. But analyzing and implementing this data still remains a distant dream. At best, companies analyze data in silos for a specific campaign. The result is that these organizations only influence a few touchpoints of the buyer’s journey while focusing on specific data related to online conversion rates. To combat this problem, businesses have slowly started embracing AI and ditching data processing through traditional methods.

Harnessing the Power of AI

There are several ways in which organizations can harness the power of AI to empower decision making. The low hanging fruits such as sales forecasting and cross-sell/up-sell can help companies showcase proof-of-concept while understanding how vital it is to change the company culture for it to be successful. A mindset shift is required if teams want to adopt agile strategies by acting on crucial insights and create longer customer lifetime value. Some of the ways that AI can be incorporated into effective decision making include:

Sales forecasting

Traditionally considered a nightmare by management teams, AI algorithms can predict revenues for the upcoming quarter with higher accuracy. This helps the sales team and leadership to take a data-driven decision and achieve operational excellence.


Cross-selling and or up-selling is the easiest way to increase marketing ROI. To determine which customer segments will have a bigger value, use AI to identify the clients that are likely to upgrade or broaden their purchases across various products/services.

Price optimization

AI-enabled campaigns can help you identify what type of promotions incite buyers to make a purchase.

Up the Ante on Digital Marketing

2019 is the year to up the game in terms of digital marketing. Customers are no longer going to just click targeted ads based on their demographic information. As such, several organizations have started using AI to detect how consumers are engaging with content across different touchpoints. It also identifies marketing messages that may boost audience engagement. These insights are instrumental in refining marketing campaigns and boost overall ROI.

By mapping out the factors that affect customer lifetime value, both marketing and sales teams can create customer loyalty and advocacy programs targeting their most valued customers. AI is no longer being used to only improve the value, it is also forcing marketers to use it as a major KPI metric. Since AI is vital to understand the impact of several aspects of customer behavior, it also helps the team fine-tune their strategies and make metric-driven decisions for improved user experience.

How AI Increases Customer Lifetime Value

How AI Increases Customer Lifetime Value


Create Personalised Experiences

AI’s ability to analyze data makes it possible for marketers to deliver personalized experiences to customers and make them feel special. Armed with insights from AI algorithms, teams can deliver relevant content that can further strengthen the relationship and build customer loyalty. Not so long ago, Netflix and Spotify started using AI-driven insights to provide recommendations to its customers, and today, all other brands are trying to provide the same level of personalized recommendations to its customers.

More Sales

AI can transform the way organizations engage customers with their products. By taking advantage of data, AI can be used to create a holistic and hyper-targeted approach that compels customers to purchase more. E-commerce giant, Amazon does a great job by suggesting other products, based on the historical preferences of the customer. As teams gain a deeper understanding of personal preferences, they can deliver tailor-made offers for their customers. In other words, AI equips organizations with tools to create trust and change short-term sales pitches into long-term loyalty.

Renew Faster

When customers are made to feel more valued and understood, they tend to stick around and become advocates of the brand. And as an AI-empowered marketer, the insights will predict what your customers might need next. By incentivizing longer-term commitments, businesses can grow their customer lifetime value at a fraction of the cost when acquiring a new customer.

Visual Search

Customers are gradually moving away from text-based search to more visual searches thanks to advances in AI image recognition and analysis. Platforms like Pinterest and technology such as Google Lens are making it possible for brands to improve merchandising and provide a personalized shopping experience. US retail giant Target’s partnership with Pinterest in 2017 shows their determination to integrate visual search in their e-commerce experience. The partnership allows users to take a picture of an item and find similar products on Target’s website.

Evangelize Eagerly

Implementing AI demands marketers to focus more on lifetime value. When this shift happens, customers see brands as an indispensable entity and start loving it. And with AI’s help in calculating lifetime customer value, organizations can determine the reward for their best customers.


Traditional marketing channels have considered all customers to be equal. But today, things have changed. Customers demand personalized experiences to make them feel special and build better brand affinity. For this purpose, organizations are embracing AI to make full use of their data, collected at various touchpoints of the customer’s journey. Primarily because not all metric-driven decisions make it easy for everyone to collaborate and create a customer-centric business model.

AI-driven marketing empowers teams to deliver better ROI (Return on Investment) from their marketing investment. It also helps businesses and companies make data-driven decisions and see what works for their brand and what doesn’t by forecasting sales, up-selling/cross-selling, and renewing clients’ contracts. Thereby, accelerating customers ‘ purchasing decisions and help organizations better tailor their content strategies.

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Mobile Opinion

The Convergence of Traditional Financial Services and Fintech: Opportunities and Challenges

The financial services industry is at a crossroad of digital disruption in Fintech and legacy systems. The wave of digital transformation which has impacted several industries including retail, media, and transport is making great strides in the financial services industry with several non-banking innovators providing both clients facing and back office technologies.

The last few years have also seen several acquisitions of finance technology software providers by banks and holding companies. These acquisitions have the potential to define the norms in the industry and the way in which software is deployed and utilized by money management firms including wealth management firms, RIAs, hedge funds or pension funds, fund managers, and large banks.

As these money management companies embrace technology, their bet is on offering their clients great solutions that deliver fully-integrated workflows. Even though this sounds compelling, there are several emerging industry trends that currently pose a challenge to this ostensible emerging paradigm.

This article will explore some of the challenges and opportunities provided by Fintech in the banking and financial services industry.

Challenges faced by the current financial services sector

Legacy Systems

To begin with, the likes of computing power, extensive connectivity, large data storage, and advanced analytical solutions provide a feasible digital alternative to both financial institutions and customers. It also poses several challenges for these money management firms. Even though this was inevitable, banks are finding it difficult to strike a balance between its legacy operations and the emerging technologies.

For decades, financial institutions have been dependent upon localized ‘on-site’ computing technologies. Therefore, the rate of adoption of disruptive Fintech solutions has been restricted by various factors, including a lack of better understanding of the technology in financial services.

Shrinking Fee

As money management companies are witnessing fee compression; the financial services industry is shifting its focus towards cost containment. This has seen several physical manifestations of this including the rising number of merges in the asset management space. This poses a unique challenge to the bank and software solution provider model as their acquisitions will mean that the companies can only achieve their ROI by significantly cross-selling to their client bases.

Think of it this way, as a money management firm facing razor-thin fees, what will be your priority? Not boosting your spend on technology in Fintech. On the contrary, investing in software to provide comprehensive solutions to the client doesn’t seem a great idea when there is a constant pressure of reducing costs. Such money management firms will then need to either charge extra up front or charge more on the back end.

Lack of Specialization

The myth that software solutions increase efficiency falls flat particularly in the financial services industry since most software solutions that are known for doing everything generally often lack specialization. In other words, most technology in Fintech cannot handle one particular functionality if it is known for having a great feature in another area.

This poses a great risk to the money management firms since investing in a software solution may help them at a given point in time, but not in the longer run. As the requirements of companies continuously evolve and as the industry’s priorities change, the technology that might appear ahead of the curve today may probably be behind the curve in months to come.


Innovation is another challenge facing the large bank and software provider model. Technology in financial services has been changing as fast as the blink of an eye. So, when the vendor sells their solution, it is usually nearing the end of its innovation life cycle. The seller usually sells the software to the larger banks in the hopes of being able to continuously innovate and keep abreast with the latest technology to maintain its growing market share.

But there is a fundamental glitch: most of these large banks that use these software solutions serve a huge client base, who operate on different software versions. This makes technology updates even more difficult. With digital transformation in Fintech, the future of software is moving towards artificial intelligence, big data, advanced analytics, machine learning, and cloud computing. However, in reality, the technology currently being used by the clients mostly do not align with this model.

New Business Models

The rise in technology companies has forced several large money management firms to acquire these start-ups in order to remain relevant. However, there are emerging business models as well, which pose a challenge of inconsistencies within the industry. The digital disruption is causing banks and solutions provider to rethink their business models that align with their goals.

For instance, one way of operating is when the bank continues to be the face for customer interaction android offer products in a segment where they do not have the capabilities. While this is great for the customers, who will benefit from more product choices, it will also allow the banks to generate fee-based revenues from the software provider. This is one such model, and it is up to the money management firm to decide whether they want to acquire, partner or outsource Fintech provider. But these different models eventually create differences within the industry and provide inconsistent experience to the customers.

The rise of digital banks is another shift that the current banking industry is witnessing. According to a study, visits to bank branches are expected to drop 36 percent between 2017 and 2022, while mobile transactions are expected to grow 121 percent in the same period.

One such digital bank Revolut provides a finance app that enables currency and cryptocurrency exchange. Users can also control their finances by setting up a budget and tracking their daily spends. In 2018, Revolut has more than 2 million users. Another such mobile bank N26 allows its customers to open a bank account and manage money using their mobile devices.

Advantages of Fintech in the Banking and Financial Services Industry

The digital transformation in Fintech provides a great opportunity to large banks who can automate much of their manual tasks. It can help banks provide comprehensive solutions to deliver services directly to their customer’s mobile devices. Such technologies can also help banks to send sensitive communications with the help of encrypted Internet transmissions and also broadens the horizon for the banks to use cloud computing and save cost spent on data centers.

As rightly quoted by Jamie Dimon, Chairman & CEO of JP Morgan Chase “Hundreds of startups with a lot of brains and money are working on various alternatives to traditional banking.”

In addition to this, several Fintech companies like OpenLink, TransferWise and Poynt also provide point solutions in areas such as remittances, payments, savings and investments, trade and invoice finance, lending, and insurance. There are robust models being created for Anti-Money Laundering-Know Your Customer (AML-KYC) compliance, underwriting and risk management, credit scoring, collections and recovery, customer service, capital markets activities, etc.

Traditional banks are also collaborating with the new-age FinTech to create a mutually beneficial partnership.

For instance- Goldman Sachs works with Symphony, which develops a secure way for sell-side and buy-side firms to collaborate keeping compliance in place. Blend Labs works with banks and financial institutions to develop an efficient underlying technology for mortgage lending. BBVA Compass has teamed up with OnDeck to offer loans to small businesses that would not otherwise qualify for bank credit.

PayTM one of the largest e-commerce payment system and digital wallet company of India, has partnered with leading banks to offer traditional services augmented by technology. The company has partnered with ICICI Bank, to announce an all-new initiative where users can get interest-free short-term digital credit. Called Paytm-ICICI Bank Postpaid, the new offer lets Paytm customers get instant credit for things like paying for movie tickets, bill payments, flights, as well as physical goods. It has also collaborated with Induslnd Bank to introduce a facility that creates a fixed deposit when the customer balance exceeds $16K (INR 100K) at the end of the day.

Final Thoughts

All the opportunities and challenges posed by Fintech in the financial services industry call for a new model for large banks and conglomerate. Instead of offering monolithic systems to the customers, it is time that these money management companies along with challenger banks look at customized and specialized solutions that have the capability to offer a suite of functionalities integrated with by APIs.

Innovation and competition will play a leading role to shape the future of digital transformation in Fintech so that they change according to their clients’ requirements. Least to mention, that this digital transformation in Fintech will eventually lead to the lowering of total systems cost.

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Mobile Opinion

How Automation Is Changing The Insurance Landscape

The use of automation to drive tangible business benefits has become a reality today, with nearly all organizations riding the wave of emerging cognitive technologies. The insurance industry is no exception and lies at the crossroads of digital disruption. Traditionally considered as a highly regulated and cautious sector, today it faces a radical shift due to the rising benefits of intelligent technologies.

According to a research, up to 25% of full-time positions in the insurance industry will either be consolidated or reduced in about a decade as a result of the prevalent digital disruption. With such headwinds in the industry, automation can be a game-changer strategy that can help insurance companies increase their profit margins and revolutionize customer experience.

To gain a competitive advantage, several insurers have already deployed an automation strategy in areas like New Business Processing, Claims Processing, & Finance, and more are following suit.

The insurance industry is now aggressively evaluating use cases for cognitive automation to boost efficiency in their current processes and thereby lower operational costs. They are embracing digital solutions to remain profitable amid stringent regulatory norms while handling complex portfolios in a low-interest rate environment.

The good news is that the insurance sector is quite digitally savvy and an early adopter of new technologies. Especially, the players in the short-term insurance sectors (auto, home, health, etc.). Prudent players who have been the disrupters have reaped the benefits of digitization and will continue to do so. According to a Mckinsey report, a large insurer could more than double profits over 5 years by digitizing existing business.

For digitally savvy insurers, most of the routine activities like quote, purchase, policy documents, renewal, claims (processing) etc. are completely digitized and requires least human intervention and offer higher customization. For example:

  • LexisNexis Data Prefill solution helps in pre-populating insurance applications using only a few customer data points leading to reduce costs, and faster & and accurate quoting and underwriting process.
  • Progressive Insurance, enables customers to “name their price” and choose elements of a policy that fit their budget—the level of deductibles.
  • Some insurers offer pay-as-you-go auto insurance whereby drivers are charged by the mile.
  • Ladder Insurance has partnered with Fidelity Security Life to offer life insurance without the use of agents directly to consumers online without charging any annual policy fees.

Opportunities in the Insurance Industry

The insurance market has become competitive and more robust over the last few years with the coming of the online P2P insurers, technology, and insuretech players.

Far-sighted insurers acknowledge the looming competition from companies such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook, which can leverage their users’ pool of data to provide customized insurance products. Amazon has already taken in a leap in this area by hiring insurance professionals and is set to transform the insurance market in several European countries.

While digitization in the insurance sector is set to create opportunities, it will also present newer challenges for traditional players. With low-interest rate scenarios, the revenue streams of legacy insurance companies are quickly drying up, as investing customers’ premiums in several financial institutions are not paying the same returns when compared to the last few years. In the future, these challenges may increase, owing to the fast pace of digitization and changing customer preferences.

For instance, in the auto insurance sector, traditional insurers might face challenges as the use of sensors and telematics makes driving less risky and liabilities from autonomous cars go to manufacturers. The McKinsey report suggests, in the future profits for traditional personal lines, auto insurance might fall by 40 percent or more from their peak.

Insurers who have picked the pulse of the digital disruption and have innovated their products and value chain have seen growth. Some of these insurers are Progressive, Direct Line, Geico and more.

Opportunities in the Insurance Industry

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It is only a matter of time when the likes of Facebook jump onto the bandwagon and provide stiff competition to the traditional mortar and brick insurance companies. Therefore, the need to adopt cognitive automation in the insurance industry has never been so pressing. And the call of the hour is to optimize operational costs, enhance accuracy, improve customer experience and get the most returns out of the allocated capital.

Challenges Faced By Insurance Companies In Adopting Automation

Challenges Faced By Insurance Companies In Adopting Automation

  • Scattered Data

One of the biggest challenges in the insurance industry is that data is collected both electronically and on paper, making it extremely difficult for cognitive technologies to play their role efficiently. Dealing with mixed data format means that companies need to transfer this data into their machines, which can be costly and susceptible to human errors.

  • Legacy Applications

Larger insurance organizations today use several legacy applications and point solutions. This leads to operational inefficiencies and excessive costs used by administrative functions.

  • Manual Processes

The insurance companies are infested with several back-end processes which are usually labor-intensive, time-consuming and repetitive in nature such as underwriting, renewing premium and conducting compliance.

Use Cases of Intelligent Automation in the Insurance Industry

Use Cases of Intelligent Automation in the Insurance Industry

  • Smart Data Reader

RPA (Robotic Process Automation) can be used to replace the manual paperwork involved during policy issue and claims processes. With the help of RPA, a smart media reader can be developed that can extract relevant information from the scanned documents. This solution has the potential to eliminate the manual extraction of data and its entry into the systems.

The RPA in insurance can use capabilities such as OCR, NLP, and machine learning to read, extract and validate data. This system can be seamlessly integrated with existing operations that deeply rely on extracting information from documents.

  • Customer Service With Chatbots

Over the last few years, there has been a growing geographic and functional diversity of chatbots. Whether it is US-based Liberty Mutual Insurance’s “skills” for Alexa or “Nienke,” the “virtual host of Dutch insurer Nationale-Nederlanden or India’s HDFC Life’s chatbot collaboration with Haptik, all these chatbots have been deployed to enhance the customer support services.

Chatbots in the insurance industry can be used to analyze customer needs, modify product offerings and even solve the customer’s questions or provide them useful links.

  • Automated Underwriting Solution

Creating a rule-based system for underwriting processes can increase efficiency and productivity. The automated system can identify if a submission or renewal can be handled by a machine or needs human intervention.

In the case of the first scenario, predictive models and machine learning algorithms can easily evaluate and provide a price for the submission. In the latter case, human intervention would be required in addition to the insights provided by the system.

  • Smarter Process Analytics

One of the fundamentals to improve processes is by measuring several parameters including the number of requests and transactions processed. In the paper-intensive insurance industry, failing to measure outcomes can result in hefty losses in not just operational efficiency, but also in customer satisfaction.

With automation, organizations can measure not only the number of transactions but also have an audit trail that can be really beneficial for complying with regulatory norms. All this further enhances customer satisfaction, streamline applications, claims, and response of the customer service.

Quick Points to Remember

  • Now that you know the use cases of automation in the insurance industry, let us look at some important points to remember before you decide to automate processes.
  • Identify the areas to be automated. Trying to automate all complex processes is of no use if they do not provide any substantial savings.
  • If you are new to automation, then try to begin with baby steps and then eventually expand. Starting small can help you clearly define objectives, the scope of work and the desired outcomes.
  • Understand the extent of automation and avoid going overboard. Using cognitive automation in all areas may not lead to significant savings. Rather than automating all complex processes, insurers should focus on hybrid processes to achieve desired goals.

Future Of Automation In The Insurance Industry

Use of automation in the insurance industry has had a positive impact on customer experience and satisfaction. Several insurance companies have benefited from this, including a UK-based company that used automation to proactively identify customers inflicted by floods. The system then created a waiver plan for the next month’s credit and notified those people that their dues were waived.

With cognitive automation in the insurance sector becoming more and more sophisticated, it will provide a cost-effective way to meet rapidly changing regulatory requirements and help businesses concentrate on strategic long-term issues. Artificial intelligence enabled assistance can lower the documentation time by as much as 80%, thereby making insurance companies more profitable.

Today, companies need to rethink how they want to use human potential and how much they can trust a computer to handle their operations. By doing this, one thing becomes clear that human touch will become premium in the future, especially when robots will do most of the repetitive and mundane work.

Only the work involving a higher degree of human intelligence will not be automated. Positions in operations and administrative supports will likely be prone to layoffs or will be consolidated. However, the extent of the impact of automation will greatly depend upon the market, group, and the potential for automation.

The high-frequency products are digitized and automated to a larger extent. Whereas there could be challenges in converting the legacy policies into this new arena, it is not just technology challenge, but also the product has to evolve to meet current market conditions and tech/regulatory landscape. Insurers will have to re-look at digitization from a broader perspective which is inclusive of product innovation, services, and business models.

Looking Ahead

While the prospect of automation has been there in the insurance industry, the speed of its adoption has been increasing over the last 12 months. As disruptive technologies challenge the traditional ways of operations, organizations need to become “comfortable” with being “uncomfortable”.

The insurance sector can only optimize costs, enhance decision making & productivity, lower costs, optimize the customer experience and alleviate accuracy by embracing smarter technologies such as RPA, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

As digital technologies continue to disrupt the insurance sector, the industry will have to move from its current – ‘reactive’ mode to ‘predict and prevent’ mode. And, this evolution will have to be at a faster pace than ever before as the stakeholders in the insurance value chain like the brokers, consumers, financial intermediaries, insurers, and suppliers become more adept at using advanced technologies.

Cognitive automation in the insurance sector can help businesses automate key operational processes and maximize returns amid stiff competition. As insurers evolve, the focus will be more towards adding value to key functions by working with intelligent solutions.

All these can only be achieved if organizations strike a balance between automation and human intervention. Businesses who fail to adopt smart solutions will eventually lose to new market entrants, while the ones who do too much too soon to get the early mover advantage will also be at risk.

The key is to have a balance by running test programs to see the capabilities of these technologies and align them to the business’ objectives and expectations. These are extremely interesting times for the insurance sector.

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Mobile Opinion

Besides Blockchain, Technologies That Are Still Reshaping the Banking Industry

Over the years, financial institutions have evolved with and as a result of the current economic, political, and social forces at play. Legal and regulatory reforms matured, and the technology behind the banking world became more sophisticated. According to a recent study by Ernst & Young – “while the recent financial crisis and resulting regulatory reforms continue to play an important role in reshaping the structure and operating models of banks and markets more broadly, technology-driven innovation will lead to much broader, deeper and more rapid transformations in future years.”

Further a Fujitsu survey entitled “Transforming Britain Report” highlighted sentiments from over 2,000 individuals (including roughly 650 business leaders from various industries) that roughly 50% of finance industry leaders are convinced banks won’t be recognizable from their current format in 10 years.

As in most industries in 2018, digital transformation is forever altering the landscape of banking. While blockchain is certainly the most talked-about technology that experts have predicted will reshape this industry, other technologies such as wearables, machine learning and AI, and robo-advisors are creating a new age of digital banking for banks and clients alike.

As of July 2018, 3.2 billion people globally have access to the internet. Researchers estimate that over 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020.

Disruption is occurring at every level in the banking industry, from faster, more transparent customer service to back-end operations and inventory management. From new technology to new competition to heightened customer expectations, incumbent banks have become increasingly vulnerable to outside pressures. Prudent banks are spearheading digital ecosystems for more nuanced customer engagement and forward-looking technology in order to maintain strong client relationships and retain their competitive advantage.


Below, we explore how innovative technologies (apart from blockchain) are leading to digital transformation in the banking industry, with customer-centric solutions front and centre.

  • Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
  • Chatbots, Robo-advisors, & Voice Assistants
  • Big Data & Analytics
  • Internet of Things & Wearables

While these technologies are in different stages of development and adoption, they have varying and increasing degrees of potential to drastically transform how clients bank in the next decade. And with nearly 75% of consumers banking digitally, banks and financial institutions that haven’t adopted future-proofing technology strategies will find themselves obsolete.

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is defined as technology that learns as it researches and analyzes good data. It’s currently being used in the financial and banking industries in areas such as risk and compliance management to better predict and make decisions “beyond human scale”.

Machine Learning (ML) “automates analytical model building, enabling computers to learn without explicit programming when exposed to new data.” ML technology can occur both supervised (using historical data) and unsupervised (finding patterns) to predict future events and to detect fraud, respectively.

Several notable financial institutions have implemented AI and ML technology to ensure they can streamline menial tasks and allow more time to help clients with a more bespoke approach to their finances.

For example, the AI assistant from RBC, NOMI (“know-me”), has over 3.6 million customers and facilitated a two-thirds increase in mobile app usage and a 20% increase in new savings accounts being opened in only eight months after launch. Discount Bank’s DiDi (“Discount Digital”) offers personalized advice and financial management services, along with suggestions to automate transfers of funds to maximize savings goals and to reduce costly transactions in the future (ie: unnecessary banking fees).

Artificial Intelligence

FINRA is testing new ML software to detect typical patterns and use a wide net to catch situations that merit a flag for suspicious activity before humans do, by learning which repeated scenarios have raised flags in the past due to legal action.

While many large banks recognize that banking is not a one-size-fits-all approach, using AI to automate tasks and ML to provide more accurate, up-to-date information about clients helps bank staff create a more nuanced approach to their clients’ financial questions and issues.

Robo-advisors, Chatbots & Voice Assistants

Nearly 4 billion people use at least one messaging app, such as Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp to communicate with their peers and businesses around the world. Banks can reach clients with chatbots or robo-advisors to engage clients ranging from Millennials to Boomers through platforms “like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp without extending business logic.

Chatbots & Voice Assistants

With technology in voice assistance and natural language processing (NLP) advancing at a rapid pace, banks can harness chatbots in messaging apps to deliver advice, assessments, and customer support in an environment rich with a user base that is already familiar with the technology.

Today’s technology can analyze and determine the nuances of our voices to grant us access to our bank accounts, and several large financial institutions have deployed speech analytics software to enhance sales personalizations, customer service processes, and regulatory compliance requirements.

Credit Suisse has offered individual clients and legal entities a completely digital onboarding experience since 2017, providing a convenient method to attain new clients. Since the launch of this Online Relationship Onboarding program (or ORO, for short), Credit Suisse has seen a 65% reduction in the number of data entry errors that typically plague bank employees during a conventional onboarding process.

Erica, the chatbot behind the Bank of America, helps customers through a variety of tasks, from showing the progress for financial milestones to helping track unnecessary payments and fees that could reduce the drain of their resources. The typical use case shared by Bank of America shows Erica sending a predictive text that outlines how a client might reduce their annual fees while also reducing their credit card balance: “Based on your typical monthly spending, you have an additional $150 you can be putting towards your cash rewards Visa. This can save you up to $300 per year,” she writes.

Chatbots in messaging apps

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Technology like Erica offers clients much greater control over their finances and the sense of security knowing their bank is working diligently to anticipate and meet their needs.

While banking can be frustrating for many people, if technology is used intuitively, banks can leverage chatbots and robo-advisors to reduce errors and simplify signups and transactions for clients, freeing up valuable time and solidifying client relationships.

Big Data & Analytics

Big data enables “the sourcing, aggregation and analysis of large amounts of data,” while analytics is “the discovery, interpretation and communication of meaningful patterns within data,” giving banks the power to predict future trends and evolving client needs, and subsequently offer actionable items for areas such as risk management and personal goal tracking.

Based on research from IDC, over $20 billion was invested into Big Data in banking in 2016 alone; the amount of data created each second is predicted to increase 700% by 2020, with banking and financial data dominating that increase.

Big Data & Analytics

Today’s advanced data analytics tools harness valuable data related to customer spending habits, personal goals, and general financial activity. Digital strategies should not be focused on new UI, but rather on transforming how quickly and efficiently customers can be reached. Advanced Big Data and Analytics tools offer banks access to new customers and greater visibility into their behavior, to be able to predict future financial patterns and to suggest suitable products for their customers.

Programs such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) are at present viewed rather negatively by Tier One and Tier Two banks because they are seen as restrictive and a barrier to be overcome in order to do business effectively. However, banks can and should see these regulations as a way to become a leader in the governance of their clients’ data and privacy.

GDPR compliance offers banks an opportunity to reform their data collection and storage systems, not only giving their teams a better understanding of the flow of data throughout the organization, but also instilling confidence in clients that their data is secure. Build your bank’s ecosystem and infrastructure around the needs of your clients, using what data they share with you to create a nuanced, tailored solution to their needs.

Internet of Things & Wearables

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical devices connected to one another through the Internet in order to collect, send, and share data across the web with people and other devices. IoT offers greater connectivity to the existing data being shared by clients and other industries, and creates more opportunities to use that information to improve and enhance their internal processes and external exchanges with clients and third-party vendors.

Also referred to as the Internet of Everything, IoT is the intersection of the physical and virtual worlds to allow people and technology work more seamlessly. While IoT is still in its infancy within banking, early adopters will focus on applying it to digital product enhancements and harnessing its capabilities for financial services to other industries (such as mobile payments).

Internet of Things & Wearables

Much like IoT, wearables have become commonplace in daily activities, supporting users as they search, process, and utilize data when and where they need it. The best example of wearable technology is smartwatches that connect to a user’s mobile phone, transmitting data in an easy-to-digest format. Through banking apps, clients can access their account data using a series of voice commands or simple clicks.

Australian bank Consumer Bank launched its own version of wearable tech PayWear through the Westpac Group in 2017, allowing users to arrange payments, alerts, and other account options hands-free and on the go. PayWear was developed after Apple banned a keyboard function which would have allowed users to pay through Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp. bPay in the UK allows users to pay for anything under 30£ using something as simple as a fob or a sticker at select retailers.


Banking leaders that prioritize a digital-first strategy to carry them into the next decade with a clear path to customer-centric solutions understand that embracing technology won’t make banks redundant. Implementing the right technology offers security, more personal interactions with clients, and more intelligence for issues that arise. With financial markets in turmoil as we near the end of 2018 and consumers losing confidence in large financial institutions, banks need to prioritize client relations now more than ever…and technology can help tremendously.

“The whole notion of customer experience for banks is so, so critical right now,” said Daniel Latimore, Senior Vice President of Celent. “They have challenges like security and being bulletproof — but consumers don’t care about all the constraints. They just know they can get great experiences elsewhere and they want it from their bank too.”

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Mobile Opinion Uncategorized

Will Chatbots Replace Traditional Apps for Brands?

Last year, the marketing promotion for the movie Insidious: Chapter 3 included a chatbot where fans could talk on the Kik app with a bot version of a character from the film.

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Mobile Opinion Uncategorized

Of Quartz’s news app and emotions in apps

The new iPhone app from Quartz was all the rage in social media last week – it generated a lot of coverage and buzz. Dubbed as an ongoing conversation about the news, it breaks all the conventions about how a news app should be.

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