Why digital customer journeys are not a ‘silver bullet’

Ellie Duncan
23 Jul 2021

Digital client workflows are “beneficial” but not a “silver bullet” that will solve for all challenges, particularly given that consumer expectations are changing, according to Experian’s managing director of software Scott Hardiman.

Speaking on Open Banking Expo TV, Hardiman said that creating a seamless customer journey is about identifying the most appropriate channel “depending on the transaction you’re looking to work with the client on”.

In the second instalment in a three-part series of Open Banking Expo TV in partnership with Experian, Hardiman was joined by Conrad Ford, chief strategy officer at Allica Bank, to discuss the acceleration of the digital onboarding process in light of the pandemic, and the data and biometrics increasingly being used to simplify customer journeys.

Hardiman said one of the ways in which expectations among consumers have changed is that “immediacy” is now important, resulting in the expectation of a “value exchange”, whereby the consumer invests “time and effort in a digital journey” on the basis they will get a digital output.

“In prior years, it would have been a part-digital journey and the consumer didn’t get the outcome they were expecting,” he said. “What you’re starting to see is that the consumer expectation is ‘I will get an outcome, I will apply for a mortgage and I’m expecting to get a mortgage in a very short space of time’.”

Hardiman added that digital is now “the norm” and the digital channel “is becoming more trusted than it perhaps was previously”.

However, he acknowledged that certain demographics still value “picking the phone up and having a conversation with somebody”.

Ford explained that Allica Bank’s aim is not to be entirely digital because among the established SME segment that it serves “an element of human interaction is valued on both sides of the transaction”.

“So what we’re trying to do at Allica Bank is reimagine relationship banking because there is a long-term secular trend of the incumbent banks walking away from relationship banking. If you go back 10 or 20 years then a business would have had a relationship manager in their local branch,” he said.

“These days, they don’t have a relationship manager in a branch and they probably don’t have a branch either.”

But he added that trying to achieve this “brings its own set of challenges because we want our customers to be able to interact with us how they choose to”.

“For us it’s about offering a wide range of channels, some digital, some personal and making sure that they coherently fit together,” Ford told Open Banking Expo.

To watch the TV episode ‘Meeting higher digital demands’ in full, click here.