How can the consumer finance industry modernise in person and remote experiences?

A recent thought leadership webinar with OneSpan and BuyWay explored key elements of modernising in person and remote consumer experiences, including how to integrate human interaction in digital processes and tackling customer abandonment rates.

The pandemic brought about a seismic shift to remote engagement. As a result, transforming the customer experience has become more important than ever. Consumer finance companies are now faced with the challenge of delivering a high-quality customer experience both remotely and in person, whilst balancing compliance needs.

The webinar was conducted between Belgium-based financial services company BuyWay operations director Peter Goossens and Rahim Kaba vice president, product marketing at cybersecurity firm OneSpan.

Goossens explained that companies can be split into three categories when it comes to customer experience management: preservers, transformers and vanguards. The preservers have a customer experience programme, but “it is kind of a window dressing. So, it’s merely a rebranding of what used to be called customer service,” he said.

“Transformers actually put their money where their mouth is. They listen to the customer and they use client facing personnel as a key component for shaping the customer experience products. And then you have the vanguard. Their customer experience is not just a division, it is really everywhere. It is embedded in every little detail and every frame of the company.”

Importantly, Goossens warned, 90% of customer experience programmes are not profitable, so companies must be careful with how they handle such processes. Measuring client behaviour through advanced data analytics is a key element, he added.

Goossens admitted that BuyWay is not a vanguard yet, but that is beside the point, the aim is to take the road towards this. Only 0.6% of companies can call themselves a vanguard, and those that do, outperform the others by up to 600% in terms of profitability, he added.

He went on to highlight a number of insights into modernising consumer finance throughout the course of the webinar. For example, he recommended companies follow customer experience over cost in order to be competitive. He also said companies can adapt their organisation, not just “put someone in charge of customer experience, but really embed it into your organisation.”

The role of digital

OneSpan’s Kaba went on to state that digital is becoming the real facilitator of customer interactions. He pointed to market research data from Forrester Research which revealed that in the UK, 80% of respondents said they applied online for new accounts and new loans.

However, in-person interactions still have a significant role to play. Kaba said the dominance of in person channels still persists in certain countries, such as Italy, where 51% of consumers applied for accounts or loans in person. Spain and France followed closely behind with 45% and 44%, respectively.

Kaba went on to discuss the evolution of remote signing practices. During the pandemic, remote signing made big improvements because it was forced to tackle remote identity verification challenges because individuals were no longer in the same room to sign agreements. Unfortunately, this was not enough and the process is still a bit clunky and there is room for it to be further optimised, he said.

That is where remote signing with smart digital forms is a great improvement, Kaba said. “Because now you can automatically guide individuals, step by step, to complete the relevant parts of the form and you know, potentially skip parts of the form that aren’t really necessary. So, essentially adding some intelligence and automation to the forms completion process.”

The latest evolution is the introduction of virtual signing, Kaba said. This takes place via video conferencing and is well suited in agreements that are more complex and require human assistance.

Abandonment rates

Another key topic discussed during the webinar, in the context of optimising customer journeys, was dealing with customer abandonment. Kaba pointed to research from a US analyst firm that saw abandonment rates in the 20-45% range for digital checking account applications, 20-26% for auto and personal loan applications, and in the 55-66% range for credit card applications.

What’s key to note here, is that for any type of account application that started in person or through a call centre, the abandonment rate dropped to 5%. “That really demonstrated the effectiveness of mediated interactions for certain types of financial activities,” Kaba said.

However, Kaba advised that it is important to shift the traditional thinking away from the concept of humans or digital. “It’s not really a tug of war between these two entities, but rather, how do you interlace humans and digital together to solve the needs of your customers. So, we should always be thinking about hybrid human and digital experiences, where it makes the most sense.”

Considering where consumers perform certain banking and lending activity is important. The use of self-service online and mobile channels to pay bills, track finances, and send money to family and friends, for example, requires less human interaction.

On the other hand, applying for loans or making changes to an account or products, which are typically more complex, can sometimes benefit from human interaction.

Kaba said there has been a lot of innovation with respect to modernising customer experiences. For example, banks and lenders have adopted video conferencing technologies to enable virtual interactions with their customers, as well as chatbot and instant messaging services.

“We’ve also seen call centres adopt what’s called co browsing technologies to enable call centres to review contracts and other agreements simultaneously with their customers to help address questions and concerns in real-time.”

So, what would blending human and digital experiences look like? Kaba suggested this could look like video conferencing that mimics as closely as possible an in-person interaction.

Legal and compliance considerations 

The final portion of the webinar addresses legal and compliance considerations. A key issue examined was considering security and identity verification with electronic signatures.

Although e-signatures have been used in a remote capacity for some time, what has changed, OneSpan’s Kaba said, is the increased use of online and mobile channels. That has resulted in an increase in digital fraud across all types of industries. So, OneSpan recommended adding some level of authentication to external and remote e-signature processes.

Kaba and Goossens outlined that e-signatures are categorised into three types: electronic signature (ES), advanced electronic signature (AES), and qualified electronic signature (QES).

The main difference, Kaba said, is the level of identity proofing that is required to verify the identity of the signer. Which e-signature type to use is a risk management decision, in which various trade-offs between customer experience and speed must be considered.

However, Kaba said that one of the biggest challenges moving to a fully digital process is considering how to deliver both customer experience and security, while ensuring a frictionless experience.

OneSpan offers a full service electronic and digital signature platform that delivers the perfect balance between security and customer experience, according to Kaba, which also achieves the highest completion rates possible.

“You get a global solution that helps you deliver superior customer and employee experiences while staying compliant with laws and regulations, such as the EI does regulation in the EU, and meeting all requirements for all three types of e-signature, the simple, the advanced and the qualified.”

In addition, if your organisation is struggling to understand the legality of electronic and digital signatures, Kaba added, OneSpan has developed a free resource on its website in partnership with a multinational law firm called Baker McKenzie, it provides users with all of the details around whether e-signatures are legal in a particular country or region.

The full webinar can be found here.


Enjoying the stories?

Subscribe to our daily FinTech newsletter and get the latest industry news & research


The following investor(s) were tagged in this article.