How Digital Experience Platforms Are Transforming Financial Institutions

By Jill Homan

Providing customers with optimal digital experiences has quickly become a must for today’s financial institutions as consumers now expect experiences that are consistent and unified across every touchpoint, including mobile, web, the teller line or in their account statements. Failure to provide this can translate into a loss of relevance, consumer loyalty and ultimately a negative impact on revenues.

Imagine these two different scenarios featuring two individuals with very diverse backgrounds and demographics:

Scenario 1: My bank has no idea about me or anyone else who banks with it.

Uncle Joe banks from home these days. He misses going to the bank and greeting his teller friends but is finding some comfort in the convenience and security of banking online or from his smartphone. When he goes to the banking app, he sees a bland and lifeless promotion for a college loan. Really?

Angela, on the other hand, has always used her phone for everything. She just graduated from college and got her first job in customer support at a manufacturing company. Now, it’s become more important than ever to pay attention to her finances. She wants to build for a secure future and she just opened a new account at a community bank. When she logs on to her mobile banking app, she gets an offer for a mortgage. Really?

Many financial institutions are still trying to market to their consumers digitally with technology from the early days of computers. Notionally, they say they are “digital,” but there is no relevance or personal touch with how they communicate. In fact, they may as well blast out a common postcard that looks and says the same thing to all their customers, for all the attention they get.

Scenario 2: My bank truly knows me.

Now, imagine a very different scenario.

When Uncle Joe logs in, he is presented with a selection called “My Financial Story.” When he clicks on it, an immersive user experience is triggered providing Uncle Joe with communication that is personalized and relevant, such as a special CD rate for his savings, information on remote deposits, a continuing education seminar, a pre-approved consumer loan offer and even the opportunity to connect virtually with a teller who knows Joe by name. These are offers that he appreciates very much, and he is going to take advantage of their benefits.

Meanwhile, when Angela logs into her mobile banking app, she is greeted with her own unique “financial story”—one that intrigues and pulls her in. She has a special offer for a gold credit card, she sees an invitation to a seminar on saving for the future and to sign up for bill pay. She also learns she is pre-approved for a new or used auto loan. She could use a new car, to complement her new job. Her bank has just shown her that it really knows her.

The financial institution in Scenario 2 has invested in a digital experience platform that provides consistent, personalized and immersive user experiences. And the bank will see this pay off for them in the form of heightened loyalty and increased revenues.

To achieve relevance, some banks are working to build stronger relationships through targeted communications, but many find they are still struggling to deliver this consistent, personalized message across all channels. In the past, a massive systems implementation would have been needed to deliver consistent messaging.

A new approach is helping banks resolve the problem quickly and cost effectively. Many financial institutions are utilizing the emerging category of software solutions known as a digital experience platform, or DXP, that Gartner defines as “an integrated and cohesive piece of technology designed to enable the composition, management, delivery and optimization of contextualized digital experiences across multi-experience customer journeys.”

It boils down to a simple message: DXPs are the path to consistent, relevant messaging to banking consumers.

The evolution of digital experience platforms

DXPs have evolved over time just as the demands of the digital consumer has. They are designed to offer organizations an integrated suite of tools to foster meaningful relationships by speaking to and more effectively listening to customers, prospects, partners, employees and other audiences.

Many financial institutions have multiple technology applications that they are using. Communications to customers is siloed and jumbled. The DXP has evolved from having separate marketing campaigns from each digital channel to needing one that integrates easily into all the tech platforms already installed at an institution.

Successfully having conversations and listening to customers and prospects in today’s digital world can present many challenges. It requires not only delivering relevant content at each touch point—online, on the phone, at the branch—but also connecting the experiences with a consistent, continuous platform that nurtures people toward a clear outcome. As an example, a mom who receives an advertisement for a college savings account after her youngest child has just graduated may begin to question whether her bank truly understands her financial needs.

The digital experience is no longer just a way to acquire new customers and deposits but rather is a critical component to growing customer satisfaction and loyalty post acquisition. The digital journey within financial institutions has expanded, and more front- and back-end applications are being used by different departments to handle individual pieces of that journey. For the customer experience to remain consistent from acquisition to cross-sell, these fragmented systems need a centralized DXP to help manage communications, offering the right services and products to the right person at the right time.

2020 and beyond: Foundational features of digital experience platforms

Financial institutions of all sizes can benefit from utilizing a DXP designed specifically for the financial services industry, and some of these advantages include:

  • Actionable insight. DXPs connect internal operational systems with all digital channels, which enables customer data capturing, processing and profiling and provides a unified “360-degree view” of the customer or member. Comprehensive reporting gives managers a window into which campaigns are working and which are not.
  • Customer/member-oriented processes. DXPs can track customers, map their journeys and identify crucial bottlenecks and opportunities. This helps the institution offer more relevant products and services, ultimately leading to increased loyalty and retention rates. The ability to learn from past actions and information leads to the next step: use of machine learning to power targeted campaigns.
  • Open architecture. DXPs operate as an open platform, enabling disparate systems such as CRMs, contact centers and social media platforms to easily integrate with the solution, as well as easily integrate new technologies as they appear.
  • Controlling every channel. DXPs give the institution more control to ensure that each unique channel is consistent in content, feel and logic. Automating the content delivery across all channels frees up personnel to not only continue to create unique content, but also focus their attention on additional revenue-generating activities.
  • Immersive user experiences. For social apps such as Instagram, stories are a powerful medium, engaging and captivating over a billion of us each month. Stories stitch us together and each one of us has a unique one that belongs to us, personal, meaningful, and a part of the reality of who we are. Innovative DXPs are using immersive user experiences such as AI-powered financial stories as a medium to maximize user experiences and results.

A bank’s perspective: The benefits of a DXP

DXPs made specifically for banks are designed to manage the complete engagement-to-results lifecycle across all digital channels, ultimately driving:

  • Increased revenues. DXPs help financial institutions increase loans, grow deposits and issue more cards, all by engaging at the right time with the needed service.
  • Increased loyalty and trust. Providing resources customers need, like or want drives customer acquisition and retention. Institutions should consider integrating new rewards, financial education videos, critical community outreach initiatives, or nudges toward downloading apps such as bill pay, personal financial management, business banking, and more.
  • Decreased costs. Banks can eliminate siloed communications and redundant efforts with a single command and control center for targeted campaign management and analytics, which generates a higher ROI on their investment and eliminates unnecessary or redundant operational costs.

A bank’s perspective: The potential challenges of a DXP

  • Cost: A DXP is another infrastructure investment for your bank. Costs vary wildly by vendor and capabilities, but many community institutions achieve this capability with expenditures of only a few thousand dollars per month.
  • Implementation: It’s critical to find a DXP vendor that integrates with your existing digital (desktop and mobile banking) vendor. That will allow your bank to sidestep integration challenges and delays.
  • Time: Your team will need to find time to implement the system, and train to use it well.
  • Technical risk: Many DXPs are very new. Seek out one with a proven track record.

Managed correctly, none of these are insurmountable challenges to using a DXP at your bank and generating strong ROI. Research and good project management will assure your success.

Intelligent digital marketing and sales campaigns enable financial institutions to connect with their customers with messages that truly resonate. For banks that are committed to delivering the very best experiences for their customers, DXPs provide a proven path to consistent, relevant messaging to consumers that also positively impacts the bottom line.

Jill Homan is president of DeepTarget, a fintech company developing and deploying an open, data-driven customer engagement and cross-selling platform for credit unions and banks.