Excellence in customer engagement has become paramount for commercial bankers. A confluence of forces is pushing the engagement bar up: customer touchpoints are multiplying, demand for real-time data and transactions is growing, and nimble digital competitors are vying for revenue share and threatening select banking services with obsolescence. Underperformance could lead a bank to be relegated to commodity parts of the value chain, for example, data custodian and payment processor. Outperformance leads to greater share of wallet and new revenue streams.
As the customer engagement bar up gets pushed up, how can banks stay in front of the commercial customer and engage through value-added services? Celent observes five traits in the pacesetters:
They have shifted from a product-centric to a workflow-centric view. Pacesetters are embracing new approaches based on design thinking and focusing on the customer journey from their front to back office. For example, product development is based on customer journeys instead of being driven by bank parameters. In addition, they are inventing on the customer’s behalf, that is, determining what customers would find useful/valuable before they realize they need it.
They are engaging in partnerships and pursuing a platform-based strategy. Pacesetters recognize that some customer journeys and workflows extend beyond their domain and that they occasionally need to partner and either embed third party services in their platform or embed their services in third party platforms.
They are responding to demands for real time data and analytics. Making access to bank and external data (e.g., accounting system data and other bank accounts) and synching are core value propositions.
They are democratizing small business access to data through APIs and to value-added services, such as, cash flow forecasting and invoice processing. Those in the digital vanguard recognize the importance of being the go-to platform and data aggregator to stave off non-banks, which are vying to play this role.
They are exploring how artificial intelligence can contribute to new engagement models; for example, AI assistants for both customers and the front office.
In my report, Pacesetters in Customer Engagement: Top Trends and Best Practice Players , I spotlight 13 pacesetters. Under the customer journey category, there are four banks: DBS (Treasury Prism), JPMorgan (Data Once), HSBC (Core Docs), and Live Oak Bank, and one technology vendor, nCino. In customer workflows, I profile three banks: Azlo Bank, Citibank (Payment Insights), and Credit Suisse (Multibanking Cashmanagement), and three tech vendors: iGTB CBX18, Bankifi, and MineralTree. Under UI and channels, I showcase Bank of America Merrill Lynch (CashPro) and mBank (mAccountant).