Connected Customer, Interactive Presentations, Financial Services

Making Client Reporting an "Amazon-Like" Experience

As business processes become increasingly digitized, the lines separating departmental functions such as client service, marketing and sales are rapidly blurring. Many companies are starting to realize that the best client experience lies at the intersection of marketing and service - an experience that requires a new approach to selling.

Technology now controls much of our lives and the way we communicate, so businesses are responding by digitizing every step of the business process. According to McKinsey, B2B digital leaders drive 5x more revenue growth than their peers - a compelling statistic.

The blurring is based on a new and necessary focus on the needs of the customer. Customers expect an "Amazon-like" experience, which requires all departments to be synced completely instead of approaching them in a piecemeal way: advertising a product, pushing a sale and then delivering a product or service. Clients now expect every interaction to move at "Amazon speed."

Those who have shopped with Amazon before (and who hasn't), will be familiar with the delivery model. Amazon targets potential customers with ads and deals on products they've viewed or products related to their searches; then, the company guides customers through a personalized sales process and follows it up with immediate or near-immediate delivery. There are no gaps in the process. The customer is in charge the entire way and has agency in determining how they will be served.

Future of Client Reporting

A clear and definite line once existed between client service, marketing, and sales. Everyone knew his or her role in the process and soon developed a unique and unconnected approach to it. Now, with the rise of the "Success Manager" there is a need for these elements to become interconnected in order to best serve the client. Just like Amazon, the future of client reporting now puts clients in the driver's seat.

shutterstock_453811957In fact, the act of offering the customer more control is what is currently driving business agendas, especially with presentations, reports, data points and dashboards. Customers want access to this information on their timeline and in the fashion that serves them best: on demand. Businesses are scrambling to increase transparency with innovations like client portals and online sharing capabilities. Online portals allow for an organization to be "open" 24/7 without actually extending its hours.

This change actually redefines the meaning of customer service. Roughly 60 percent of businesses expect to implement self-service portals within the next 12-18 months to give customers instant access to information, to allow for more personalization, and to save time and resources. They put personal information to use, which will provide enhanced assistance, teach customers new skills, offer them additional tools to better serve their needs, give them mobile access to services, and more. Online sharing capabilities provide better security and more flexibility than traditional options.

The Amazon Model

Amazon uses all kinds of tricks and tools to make its model possible and to continuously improve the customer experience. The company uses digital recommendations to target customers with products that are relevant and compelling to them, and it also provides help articles that walk customers through certain aspects of using products or dealing with issues that may arise. Peer reviews and ratings help to give customers an idea of how well a product has worked for others and what to expect from it. And instant fulfillment means that customers can have a product in their hands right away, without having to wait a long period for delivery - something that could be an impediment to making a purchase.

Just like with Amazon, automated processes in the FinTech industry are on the rise. There are a number of reasons why it's a good idea to embrace them:

Lower Costs

Automated processes help to lower costs by increasing efficiency. Marketing and sales can be better targeted toward the clients who are interested in or more likely to go through with making a purchase.

Codify Best Practices

Automated processes also help to codify best processes. Businesses can streamline services by collecting data on operational measures in order to set a gold standard for different departments and functions; when these measures are codified, the organization will run more smoothly and efficiently.

Ensure Compliance

Automated processes reduce the risk of compliance issues by ensuring that business practices comply with internal and external regulations.

Mitigate Losses

Finally, dark process and human error can lead to big losses. Automated processes reduce the money lost on these issues and help organizations focus their efforts on larger business objectives.

The Power of Interactive Content

In a Total Retail study, 77 percent of respondents reported that their online customer experiences had been influenced by Amazon and its customer-focused business operations. A huge part of what Amazon does centers around allowing customers to interact with content via detailed product pages, view personalized product recommendations, leave reviews and ratings, and customize orders and shipping, etc.

Like Amazon, financial reporting will become both digital and interactive, offering clients the same abilities. Allowing conversations within content will empower clients to benefit more fully from the content, share it more easily, like the good and thumbs down the bad, and so on, making the reporting experience seamless and more effective.

About the Author

Jeff Williams is a Customer Advocate and Director of Content and Design at Xinn. His main passion is to design next generation communication technologies that match the direct needs of today's complex business and financial world.

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