Salesforce: The customer experience will be vital in 2021
That financial services have changed in the last 12 months is an understatement. Digital transformation has become a necessity, customer expectations have changed, and new technologies promise to deliver products and services with previously unthought of efficacy.
He also holds over 15 years of additional experience within financial services, including taking the lead of IBM’s sector-based business analytics solutions.
FM: What do you think will be the primary difference between financial services in 2020 and 2021?
RM: In 2020, COVID-19 really elevated customer expectations around companies’ digital capabilities. As more and more consumers turned to apps and websites for rapid, personalised service à la Amazon or Netflix, they carried those heightened expectations over to other industries. This has upped the ante for financial services providers to simplify their own customer journeys in 2021 and beyond.
This year, financial services providers must focus on getting customers to their desired outcomes while minimising friction. At the end of the day, consumers don’t dream about finding the perfect lender, applying for a loan, and getting the right mortgage product – they dream about owning a home. As we look towards the rest of 2021 and beyond, financial services providers will shift their focus to an ecosystem model to provide more connected, simplified customer experiences.
FM: Data will play an important part in enriching CX, yet it also carries security issues. How can companies reap the positives of data while protecting against the negatives?
RM: AI’s biggest benefits include the ability to humanize customer interactions and improve customer experiences. Though it might sound counterintuitive, AI reduces rote tasks and processes, freeing agents up to have more personal, strategic interactions. In essence, agents act like coaches or advisors, enabling them to focus more on customer well-being, something .
And when it comes to data, having solid security and compliance is nonnegotiable. Financial service institutions (FSIs) must be transparent about how customer data is being used and what goes into automated models. Further, FSIs must receive consent before personalising products and services or taking action. Transparency and consent are critical for earning and retaining customer trust.
FM: After omnichannel communication has become the standard across the industry, what do you think could be the next step?
RM: Setting up the right channels like chat, call centres and self-service are a great first step, but certainly not the only. Rather than implementing chatbots as a point solution, financial services providers must consider the role of chatbots in the end-to-end customer journey.
A chatbot might be a great source for account balance information, but when it comes to more strategic decisions like setting up a retirement plan, speaking with an advisor would be more appropriate. Being able to connect the dots across different channels – from chatbot queries to loan application details – to facilitate valuable interactions will be critical.
FM: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to mention?
RM: I believe FSIs will begin to develop a comprehensive strategy around sustainability as this will become a business necessity. The industry has the ability to take a leadership role by addressing environmental and climate risks. We’ve been seeing the pivot happening in wealth management as these institutions have established sustainable investing strategies and this will only become more comprehensive. I believe customers will use this as criteria as they evaluate various FSIs.
Pictured: Rohit Mahna, SVP of Industries Advisors, Salesforce
Findexable: COVID-19 hasn’t slowed down fintech investment
The release of Findexable’s 2021 Global Fintech Rankings report seems to confirm that the COVID-19 pandemic has had no deleterious effect on sector growth.
Compiled annually, Findexable’s report provides one of the most comprehensive surveys of global fintech. From regions to countries and individual cities, it compiles and analyses key performance data and gives insight into the leaders and up-and-comers.
In total, the company explored 264 cities across 83 countries and incorporated data from various media outlets, SEO databases, and over 60 fintech associations. CEO Simon Hardie spoke enthusiastically of the findings:
“The level of investment and activity in the fintech sector is hugely gratifying for those of us who have been championing the industry. It is especially good to see that the pandemic didn’t slow down, and may have in fact accelerated, the adoption of fintech in parts of the world that have previously been underserved.”
The leading hubs
Notably, there has been no movement in the 2021 list’s top three fintech hubs. While most others made incremental gains, it was Tel Aviv that made the most significant leap from 20th to 5th. Meanwhile, in a surprising shift, Singapore slipped from 4th to 10th:
- San Francisco Bay (same as 2020)
- London (same as 2020)
- New York (same as 2020)
- São Paulo (+1)
- Tel Aviv Area (+15)
- Berlin (+3)
- Boston (+1)
- Los Angeles (-2)
- Hong Kong (+2)
- Singapore (-6)
The leading countries
Findexable’s top 10 countries for fintech reflect the generally incremental shift observed among the hubs:
- US (same as 2020)
- UK (same as 2020)
- Israel (+9)
- Singapore (-1)
- Switzerland (same as 2020)
- Australia (+2)
- Sweden (same as 2020)
- The Netherlands (-2)
- Germany (+3)
- Lithuania (-6)
UK fintech has continued to ramp up at an accelerated pace: three new cities entered Findexable’s index for the first time, bringing the country’s total up to 13. The country remains fairly secure as Europe’s fintech leader, particularly as strong competitors like Lithuania fell in the rankings. However, Germany’s ascendance to the top 10 could indicate the beginning of a new challenger.
In North America, the US remains practically unchallenged by Canada. Meanwhile, both Australia and China have gained on Singapore, with the former seeming to be a likely APAC leader by 2022 if current trends continue.
As can be observed from the top countries and hubs, Israel’s fintech output has been proportionally one of the most impressive exhibited. It has claimed the top spot for MEA, followed by the UAE and Kenya - both of which also made significant gains. Finally, Brazil and Uruguay lead Latin America and the Caribbean.
Fintech: The global revolution
Reviewing the statistics compiled in Findexable’s report lends credence to Hardie’s words: fintech is greater than ever before and not even one of the world’s most disruptive events (COVID-19) has been able to prevent its growth.
Elliott Limb, Chief Customer Officer of Mambu, which sponsored the report, called every fintech part of a “global revolution” that is transforming financial services for the better.
“They are changing the way we save, spend, borrow, and invest money. Whether competing, cooperating or supporting traditional financial institutions, they are reshaping digital services for a real-time, on-demand world.
“Whether it is an aspiring unicorn, a neobank seeking new markets, a provider that wants to go digital, or a financial institution that wants to act like a fintech, you need a roadmap [...] a guide to where to begin and where to go. This is why a ranking system is important.