Race is on for lenders to find a competitive edge
When designing or implementing technology in the race to maintain a competitive edge, many lenders fall into the same cycle of enhancing what every other lender is doing to fit their own processes. The real opportunity for a lender to embrace technology for that competitive edge, is to focus on the customer experience and benefit.
When a customer uses a piece of lender technology, they are not benchmarking it against that lender’s competitors, they are benchmarking it against every experience they are having with technology in their day to day lives. Be that paying an electricity bill, buying something for the house, booking a holiday or maybe looking for finance. The customer is looking for the ease of application to them, the impact it has on the lenders processes or as comparison to the lenders competitors will not be a factor in the customers experience.
Looking outside of financial services for the optimum customer experience through technology is imperative to enable a lender to remain relevant in an ever-enhancing digital consumer world. I’ve lost count of times that in a blue sky session a colleague will describe the Domino’s app as something they think would be beneficial to a customer in the lending journey, but the sentiment remains true, what do we see outside of financial services that gives that same impact.
The demands and needs a customer has for their digital experience is constantly evolving. Those customers who are maturing from more accessible forms of technology and social media, Tik Tok etc and now have the need for finance to assist them in their lifestyle, will want an experience and process that is recognisable to how they engage with other technology.
The appetite to complete online forms, enter data, gather data sources will not necessarily remain as the customer demographic evolves. There will be an expectation that lenders should know more as opposed to the customer having to prove as much. Internally, lenders are embracing API links to consume this information therefore enhancing their own processes, however, the data entry is still required from the customer and is not consistent from one digital journey to another.
A roadblock lenders will continually face is when another party is introduced to the process and the synergy of the customer experience is transferred from lender to third party. In specialist lending, these third parties traditionally consist of brokers, valuers, customer’s solicitors and lenders solicitors. Each of these parties will have their own technology and customer experience plans, finding a way to have a consistent journey for the customer becomes challenging. This is where a lender can embrace technology and the customer experience to pioneer change across all parties, not just the part of the journey they are responsible for.
The opportunities to look outside of lending for technology and customer experience inspiration are all around us. How we as individuals interact with technology, how our friends and families do, getting that feedback about what does good look like, who the benchmarks are in terms of experience. Then look at how that can help your customer base, what is transferable, what would be pioneering. When it comes to technology and customer experience try to not just focus on your competitors, focus on what other industries are doing for your customer.
Michael Allison, Head of Transformational Change at Roma Finance
*Michael will be part of a panel discussing Digital Business Transformation at the forthcoming Online Lending Technology Think Tanks. Join Frank at the event on Tuesday 12th October from 9.30 am.