It’s hard out here for a bank. Your clients are, to put in bluntly, getting older, while the world around you just seems to get younger and younger every year.
“You have to understand who your clientele really is,” Vincent Bezemer, SVO of Americas for Backbase, explained in a recent conversation for Finovate TV. “Let’s face it: most institutions have an aging clientele. And that is really not indicative of what the future of banking should look like. There is this digital divide.”
Financial institutions – from Tier 1 banks to the credit union around the corner – are all working to figure out how to bring a 21st century digital experience to their customers. We caught up with Mr, Bezemer, a technology veteran with more than a decade of experience innovating in the CX space, to hear his thoughts on what institutions need to do in order to not just keep the customers they have, but to attract, engage, and retain new customers, as well.
On the importance of self-directness and becoming the kind of bank that people love
“…(T)here is this need for self-directedness. There is a large part of the population – inclusive of all the demographics – that simply does not want to engage with a person and, if they engage, they want to engage on their own terms.
Supporting that self-directedness – and giving our customers, the banks, and the credit unions the tools to compete in an omni-channel fashion when it comes to digital – is key. The experience on mobile, web, should all be the same. But also the processes should be the same. Whether I’m in collection cycle, whether I’m in a self-service cycle, or maybe when I’m originating products, I want those experiences to be the same. And if I need help, the bank’s team member actually sees that same view that I do as a customer has seen and they can help me with as little friction as possible.
On balancing the unique innovation needs of Tier 1 institutions compared to those of community banks and credit unions
We approach both sizes of our customer base with the same principle that is that we are a platform. As much as Amazon is an e-commerce platform and Netflix is a content platform and Uber is a mobility platform, we really approach it from a banking platform perspective.
With our proposition, you can take the platform as is and build on top of that, which is what a lot of Tier 1s want to do. They have built everything themselves. They basically had unlimited innovation power. But they saw that 80% of their IT budget was there to basically keep their legacy systems afloat. They are now seeing that all of these non-functionals – whether its from an auditing or security or entitlements perspective. They say, “why don’t we just outsource that? Why don’t we just get a product with a roadmap that is supported by hundreds of thousands of people in the Backbase ecosystem, so we don’t have to worry about that any more. Then we can apply our resources to actually create the experiences and the innovations that actually matter in our competitive landscape.”
On the nature of personalization in banking
I think in financial services specifically, personalization falls into two categories: one, do you understand your customer? Do you understand the moments of truth that matter to that customer when they start engaging with you for a certain product? And this is where market data, behavioral data, any type of database you can procure can really help you have that understanding.
But then the second kind of personalization is really a “mass personalization.” Can you give your prospective customer – and also existing customers – the feeling that they can tweak the product ever so slightly? Because if you can, you are relating more with the needs of that person.
So you want personalization in the top of the funnel, driving them to the moment of truth where you want to be there for them. And then, subsequently, you want to understand how you are going to create that process so that the customer feels that you truly listened and that they can make those small customizations.