Building a customer-centric culture – Top tips for employee buy-in

Co-author: Carrie Deakin

To deliver the great customer experiences that foster brand loyalty and increase profitability, businesses need to embrace a customer-centric culture across their enterprise. Research often shows that positive customer experiences trump price, and satisfied customers are more likely to maintain a long-term relationship with a company, and recommend it to family and friends. As a result, customer-centric businesses benefit from higher rates of retention and acquisition.

So how do you transform your company culture? While it may take time to build buy-in and change processes across an entire business, the most successful initiatives start at the top. With executive sponsorship to drive customer-centric changes, employees can better understand the big picture impact of delivering great customer experiences. Then, like any effective change management effort, the business can focus on a variety of strategic approaches that support employees toward adopting more customer-focused behaviors and processes.

5 strategies for motivating employees to be customer-centric

1

Communications

Communications are crucial to building buy in for initiatives focused on transforming your company culture. Employees need to understand what’s happening, what’s expected of them, and how they can play an important role in driving measurable success. Engage team members from across the organization (whether they’re in sales and customer service, or IT and operations) with communications across multiple channels that highlight ways to put the customer first. Team brainstorm sessions or videos on your company intranet can be effective in reaching team members. Think about the work environment as well – eye-catching posters with customer-focused themes can help promote an ambient awareness that motivates employees.

2

Training

Forrester® Research recently reported that in many companies “even though parts of their organizations wanted to be customer-centric, employees lacked a shared understanding of the intended experience they were supposed to deliver.”

Market Overview: Where To Get Help With Culture Transformation” August 11, 2014 Forrester Research, Inc.

Make it easy for employees to learn how to deliver exceptional experiences through a variety of everyday moments and “moments that matter” with customers. Team-building events, workshops, and communication tools are great ways to help employees understand what a customer-centric experience really looks like and how it can strengthen relationships and build brand loyalty.

3

Rewards

Incentives such as raises, promotions, and bonuses can motivate team members to go the extra mile for customers. However, rewards don’t have to be monetary to be effective. Celebrations and awards can recognize employees who deliver outstanding customer experiences. Rewarding customer-centric behaviors can be a powerful way to “move the needle” especially for businesses that are very process-oriented in which employees may be used to focusing on functional responsibilities, more than the people they’re serving. Yet by shifting focus to the customer, employees may see they can have a real impact on satisfaction, retention, and profitability, which reward the company as a whole.

1

Rituals and routines

Rituals and routines also help reinforce customer focus across an organization. Encourage your teams to share success stories about their engagement with customers, and role-play to gain empathy on how customers experience your company at various touch points. At Ritz-Carlton Hotels, for instance, employees have 15-minute meetings, or “daily lineups,” during which team members share the positive guest experiences they delivered the day before. It’s an effective way to build customer-centric momentum and continuously highlight best practices that other employees can adopt.

2

Hiring

As you evolve the customer-centric culture across your company, you’ll gain a clear idea of what an ideal customer-focused employee looks like, so you can hire the right people. When you post job descriptions, clearly convey how and why customer experience is a key focus in your company. Create interview questions and screening tools that help identify candidates with desirable behaviors and traits. For current employees who may prefer non-customer-facing roles, consider shifting their positions to something better suited to their personality and skills. During onboarding, familiarize new employees on what it means to be customer-centric in your organization, and support them with training and communication tools, as noted earlier.

For most companies, your customer experience IS your employees, directly or indirectly —so it’s simply good business sense to invest in building a customer-centric culture. To drive that transformation across an enterprise, well-communicated change efforts can empower your employees to take an active role in growing the business, and encourage a company-wide commitment to a common goal. As a result, your business will most likely increase efficiencies and build stronger, lasting customer relationships, which can translate into greater profitability.

Like this post? Take it with you – download the PDF >

Free Workshop: Increase Business Value with Predictive Analytics

Join us Thursday, November 13 for an exciting hands-on workshop where you can quickly learn to build predictive models with IBM SPSS Modeler to drive actionable insights from your data.

When:

November 13, 2014

10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Where:

IBM Innovation Center

San Francisco, CA

In this free 4-hour workshop on November 13, you’ll get:

  • Experience using the intuitive SPSS software, including expert nodes for experienced analysts and automated modeling feature for novices.
  • Step-by-step guidance for predictive modeling techniques that you can apply to your own data to create immediate value.
  • Insights on how SPSS incorporates structured and unstructured data from many sources so you can focus on analysis instead of prep work.

Workshop Instructors

Beyond the Arc

IBM

  • Arik Killion, IBM Technical Specialist – Predictive Analytics
  • Matt Hosman, IBM Business Analytics Specialist
  • Matthew Slovitt, IBM SPSS Specialist

Workshop Agenda

10:00-10:30

Intro to Predictive Analytics and SPSS Modeler

10:30-12:00

Hands-on Tutorials

12:00–12:30

Lunch

12:30–2:00

Applied Learning and Case Studies

Don’t miss this great opportunity – you’ll be able to start building a predictive model within the first 30 minutes!

Space is limited, so please register today >

5 Proven ways to optimize your customer experience

In today’s highly competitive markets, consumers demand real value and exceptional experiences in return for brand loyalty. Businesses need to continuously raise the bar on how well they understand the customer and meet their needs. This becomes more challenging as technology and social business are evolving rapidly, which means organizations need to adapt quickly as consumer expectations change.

The following five strategic approaches have proven effective in helping companies understand how to design customer experiences that build brand loyalty and win new business.

1

Look at the big picture

Before you start making ad-hoc improvements, first make sure you truly understand your customers’ experience with your business as a whole. Customers see one company; they don’t care if you operate in silos, they want a seamless experience from one touch point to the next. Start by “journey mapping” to gain a complete picture of the customer experience across all interactions with your company, as well as their lifecycle of interactions over time.

For example, how smooth was the sales process? What kind of continued support have customers received, if any? Do you know their preferred channels of interaction and are you making that easy for them? Are you tailoring new offers to meet their unique needs? Are customers demonstrating their satisfaction by recommending your brand to others?

Taking a holistic perspective helps you focus on optimizing the entire customer journey, rather than isolated touch points. To gain insight, be sure to look at both structured data (e.g., transactions, surveys) and unstructured data (e.g., call center transcripts, social media) as this can uncover connections between interactions across your company, and help you understand how to create an end-to-end optimal customer experience.

2

Listen first, then take action

Key to understanding the big picture of your customers’ experience is to listen and learn –before you take action. That way you ensure you’re making changes that really matter to your customers, and prioritize improvements that create the biggest wins first. Voice of the Customer (VOC) analytics are a powerful tool for gaining insight about what works and what doesn’t at each touch point as well as across the entire customer journey. Customer “listening” programs (such as VOC and social media monitoring) can also help you identify unmet needs and opportunities for increasing value, which can drive brand loyalty.

Make sure your VOC efforts align with key business objectives to help ensure that any improvements you make will generate measurable value for your customers and the business. For example, to acquire more profitable customers, you can use predictive analytics to define targeted segments based on purchase and interaction patterns, preferences and feedback, and then deliver highly tailored experiences and offers that are most likely to appeal to those customers.

3

Think global, act social

When it comes to designing optimal customer experiences, today’s business simply cannot ignore the value of social media. By monitoring social networks, you can learn what your customers really think about your products and your company, which helps you better understand how to deliver experiences that create value and delight.

Similarly, with an effective social engagement strategy, you can influence how consumers feel about your brand. For instance, by providing prompt, personalized responses to customer concerns (on Twitter or Facebook), you can transform negative sentiment into brand loyalty. In fact, improving your risk management is a key way your business can gain valuable ROI from social media, as you can reduce attrition and increase customer satisfaction.

3

Build a customer-centric ecosystem

Another vital component to delivering an optimal customer experience is to have a company culture that places the customer at the center of everything you do. The customer journey is not simply about meeting needs, it’s about creating feel-good experiences that people want to repeat or recommend. To ensure your employees help make that happen, develop initiatives that build buy-in across your organization and encourage everyone to play a part in optimizing the customer experience –whether it’s best practices in store service, marketing communications, product packaging, technical support, billing, you name it.

Creating a company-wide eco-system focused on the customer helps you increase collaboration across lines of business and build a cohesive understanding of how all the various touch points impact the customer. As a result, the entire collective can work together to deliver a consistently great experience throughout the customer lifecycle.

3

Define metrics: Lather, rinse repeat

Central to optimizing your customer experience is making sure you’re doing the right things to deliver value to both your customers and the business. That means you’ll want to define metrics early on that align with key business objectives and customer experience goals. Then, after you’ve taken action, measure the impact. For example, did you reduce customer service calls? Increase response rates for cross-sell offers? Boost customer satisfaction rates and increase word of mouth referrals in social media?

Once you’ve got answers, keep refining the customer experience to meet evolving needs, and keep measuring the impact of your changes. Don’t just focus on measuring volume; be sure to track the impact you’re having on how customers feel about your brand, and look for clues on how to make the right offers at the right time.

By taking a holistic perspective on the customer journey, and nurturing a customer-centric culture, your organization will be well-equipped to deliver the experiences and value that keep customers coming back, and reduce the cost of acquiring new business.

 

Video interview with Finovate founder Jim Bruene on financial innovation

After two full days of product and technology demos, quite frankly, we were overwhelmed. Payments, personal financial management, gameification, mobile, millennials, robo-advisors, crowdsourcing– and crowdfunding– just a dizzying array of strategies that banks and financial institutions can use to differentiate. How to make sense of it all?

We turned to Finovate founder Jim Bruene for his take. After all, we estimated that Jim has now seen over 1,400 tech demos from 20 Finovate shows, taking place in New York, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Singapore, and London.

Just one problem. We know that Jim just doesn’t do on-camera interviews. He told us he has turned down TV interview requests, preferring to comment over the phone. Imagine our surprise when he said “Yes!” to our request to talk about Finovate Fall 2014.

In this short video interview, Steven Ramirez, CEO of Beyond the Arc, picks Jim’s brain on technology, innovation, and what it ultimately means for customers.

 

 

Finovate 2014 - the final chapter

This is our last post of the 2-day conference with about 10 more companies presenting.

FamDoo    Mark Lacek (CEO & Co-Founder, FamDoo) and Michele Landis (VP Business Development)  Mark’s experience is in creating and managing loyalty programs. Family-focused product, with an under-10 year old co-founder. This rewards program replaces the typical kid allowance, with the goal of promoting saving behaviors. “The modern allowance”. ^SR

US BANK and their customers are their first loyalty partners. Users can convert FamDoo points to real cents for savings. “Reward work.” Assign tasks to kids/family members where they can gain points that can be converted to currency (I would imagine). Now showing iPad version. Very cool. ^WM

Sr. Pago    Pablo Gonzalez Vargas (CEO & Co-Founder)  Currently addressing 78 million unbanked in Mexico, including small business owners. Debit card without a bank account or tax ID. It isn’t immediately clear what makes this offering unique. A bundle of card, card reader, and mobile app for card system. ^SR

From BIC: The solutions is aimed at the unbanked market. It allows users to accept credit card payments using their smartphone or tablet. They have raised more than million in VC (they are based in Mexico City) but are looking for other partners and investors. ^WM

LOYAL3    Barry Schneider (CEO & Chairman) and Matt Gidney (VP Corporate Marketing & Business Development) Most Americans don’t have brokerage accounts. As an alternative, Loyal3 is a crowdfunding platform for capital markets. People can invest as little as $10 in the brands they love. One of their offerings is a “social IPO” and they helped raise $1.3 mil in 32 minutes. This enables very small investors to invest in companies. They are a scalable platform, that is fully-sclable. The website has a video testimonial from CEO of GoPro. A lot of people got a chance to participate in the IPO. ^SR

Easy, affordable and FEE free for capital markets. It looks like they are getting ready to show an IOS app. Should be App Store next month. Very easy to view. How can folks invest w/o fees? They are showing brands (like Kraft) and people can invest as little as . I really like their concept. I want to know how they make money with their app/platform. “not about buying stock, but becoming an owner of a company”. I like it. They are getting ready to show their social IPO i.e. GoPro. Man, I wish I had invested with GoPro when they went public and I had the chance (I’m glad I did not invest in Vonage many years ago). The have done six IPO’s I BELIEVE were social media-based. This is very cool. Raised .6 million in 32 minutes for one IPO. Now showing a video testimonial on LOYAL3 from GoPro’s CEO. Very cool. Raised million within days with GoPro. They might be a BEST OF SHOW winner. ^WM

MoneyStream    Mike Bertrand (CEO) and Gillian Verga (VP Product)  A personal financial assistant to make managing your money easier. The platform creates the budget for the customer, based on advanced data analysis. Very easy to swap bill payments between credit cards, really at the click of a button. In addition to reporting and analysis, it has integrated bill presentment and payment. ^SR

“PFM’s just didn’t work for me and my family. That’s why I started MoneyStream.” Here is an excerpt from their blog. It was a big surprise to hear last Friday that Manilla is closing its doors effective July 1st. And since we’re very familiar with the pain consumers have trying to get their money organized, we’re deeply sympathetic to the frustration Manilla users must feel, after working to get their bills and accounts set up only… It seems like it was only a year ago Manilla was presenting at Finovate. Times change. ^WM

Linqto    Dune Thomas (VP Mobile Banking Solutions) and Bill Sarris (CEO)  Remote capture of a check, during a live video call with a banker. Location information is delivered to the banker. Video chat with the customer represents a huge potential for improving customer experience. You can see the banker, and both people can communicate non-verbally as well. PersonalBanker+ Linqto powers online video seminars that can be delivered over mobile. Also integrates text chat. “Remote banking, done fact-to-face.” ^SR

“50% of all banking customers do not want to bank online” I’m not sure I’ve heard that but I believe it. Now showing video banking BUT here is the twist; it’s on his phone not at a self service terminal. The call center person knew the customer is in NYC due to geo location. Showed a check capture and now the CSR is showing the teller screen. ^WM

SignLive by Silanis – Tommy Petrogiannis (CEO & Co-Founder) and TJ Witte (Sr. Technical Consultant) From BIC: Silanis Technology is the leading provider of electronic signature process management solutions. The world’s largest insurance providers, financial services companies and government agencies depend on Silanis to reduce the time, cost and risks of getting signatures in critical business documents. Silanis enterprise platform solutions and cloud services enable organizations to replace their manual, pen and paper processes with an all-electronic web-based process for e-commerce and e-government transactions.

I think I’ve seen these folks at mortgage industry events or perhaps at ESRA. Very nice e-sign capture platform. They are a big player in this space. This is their first Finovate. I believe their HQ is in Montreal. ^WM

Backbase    Peter Chapman (Fintech Strategist) and Jelmer de Jong (Global Head of Marketing) Today they are launching the mobile banking marketplace with Widgets that include several companies from Finovate: MoneyDesktop, Geezo, and others. Mix-and-match the best of breed of bank functionality. The marketplace allows you to easily implement technologies from fintech leaders, without having to work with each on a one-off basis. They offer one unified customer experience across a number of different providers. Backbase is known for their strong web design, including very simple, elegant mobile UIs. On Apple iOS, they can use native Apple device functionality.  The Widgets run on any screen, any device. ^SR

I’m sure I’ve seen them before, perhaps at Finovate. I’ve noticed a lot of folks are no longer saying mobile banking, it’s “digital banking.” Now showing a web browser view of their platform which is widget-based which makes a lot of sense. It almost looks like an application. From their web site: ABN AMRO uses Backbase CXP as their enterprise portal, both employee and customer facing…

It would not surprise me if it was originally developed for ABN AMRO. Summary: Backbase is a software company, founded in the Netherlands in 2003, which has offices in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, New York, United States, Moscow, Russia and Singapore.

Now this is interesting. They are showing tech partner logos like MoneyDesktop (now MX), ensenta, Geezeo and Payveris (where my friend Mickey Goldwasser works). I’m interested in how many US FI’s use Backbse. Now show IOS version. Very cool. ^WM

EyeLock    Anthony Antolino (Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer) and Jeff Carter (CTO)  It is an iris-scanner that unlocks all of your passwords. “Scans over 240 points on the iris of each eye.” It seems to me this would work well with Google Glass, if you had a front-facing camera.  “We are privacy advocates.” They see themselves as a player in the internet of things (IoT). ^SR

Irish based authentication company. Now showing video that highlights their television and other press coverage I think much from the CES show. Facial recognition. Walt Mossberg seems to like it.

Guys, I think what you have created is great BUT I don’t think what you are about to read. Your corporate video was more about how much press coverage you have received as opposed to a demo of your system. I would rather have seen more examples of your product in use as opposed to how much press coverage you have received. Kudos to you and your PR team.

There are 2 minutes left and NOW we are just starting to see your demo. This is what we came here to see and I hope to see you here next year. ^WM

###

Thank you!  It has been two long days, over 70 companies, and a ton of insights about financial technology! We’ll post later when we learn the Best of Show winners!

Financial technology and innovation - live from New York

This is one in a series of posts live from Finovate Fall 2014. We’re seeing great demos of new technology in mobile, risk/fraud detection, small business lending, and Big Data. We’re in the home stretch with about 20 more companies to to come. ^SR

CR2    Kieran Kilcullen (Director, Sales & Marketing) and Patrick Simons (Principal Consultant) CR2 has an omni-channel platform for self-service banking and have now added mobile. The channels include ATM, mobile, online — all for a fairly seamless experience. It works with the bank’s existing channels. You can also send money, that a friend can retrieve from an ATM. Cool! ^SR

’ve seen these folks before and believe they have a pretty good offering. Now showing a “Dublin Bank” mobile banking app that LOOKS like a Windows Mobile app but I’m pretty sure it’s on IOS. Lots of “tiles”, which I think will be more popular as Windows 8 becomes in wider use. ^WM

SAS Games    Siobhan Mullen (CEO) and Stephen Scully (President)    It is a game-a-thon for college savings; it helps families to focus on saving for college. Saving is done in the name of the youth. They have a game engine and a number of kids-focused marketing promotions. Game-a-thon is like a walk-a-thon, and the games are educational, kids make progress in the game and get sponsored by friends and family. FIs can partner with SAS Games and the game can be named after the bank that sponsors a particular game. They are looking for a bank to sponsor the money transfers, into the savings accounts. Hmmm, that might be an issue if they are still looking for an official bank. ^SR

“Game-A-Thon” for college savings. Marketing tool for commercial and personal banking. I don’t recall seeing this company before. From BIC: Fully automated, easy-to-use, market-disrupting, patent-pending, activity-based fundraising tool for children’s college savings.

I have the pleasure of serving on Florida State’s College of Communication & Information Leadership Board and every year the total cost of higher education continues to skyrocket. In many cases it’s not the tuition; it’s the housing and other costs.

In Atlanta, the AVERAGE cost for an underclassman to attend Emory University is almost ,000 PER YEAR. I applaud what these folks are doing. It’s a game engine connected to social/mobile networks. “The best indicator whether someone will attend college is the amount of money saved in the student’s name, not the wealth of the student’s family”. Interesting information. It’s kind of like Kickstarter within a family network to help children attend higher education. ^WM

NopSec   Michelangelo Sidagni (CTO)  They use data science and analytics for vulnerability to internet hacks and attacks. They also have a platform for managing remediation, identifying what you need to fix on the website. Has a built-in collaboration tool to fix problems that cross silos. They also use predictive analytics. ^SR

From BIC: NopSec helps businesses to reduce the risk of cyber-attacks by managing the IT security vulnerabilities that matter most. We holistically manage IT security vulnerabilities for applications and infrastructure, on premises and in the cloud. NopSec’s software-as-a-service, Unified VRM, aggregates the results of vulnerability scanners, proactively prioritizes vulnerabilities based on business risk, and expedites remediation by automating the ticketing process and reports. I’m struggling to ascertain exactly what they do. I’m thinking it’s a platform for machine management to prevent fraud/malware. Perhaps this is something that Home Depot or Target should have used. I will have to learn more about these folks. URL: www.nopsec.com. NopSec: vulnerability risk management, vulnerability scanning, and penetration testing solutions.^WM

Kapitall    Gaspard De Dreuzy (Co-Founder) and Antonio Reyes (Head of Development)  An online platform for an investment-based tournament, sort of like fantasy football meets Wall Street. Investors find and trade stocks in the DJ Index. This is an interesting idea, but not sure I understand the audience. ^SR

More information from their web site: About Kapitall, Inc.
With an intuitive and playful user experience, Kapitall is the next generation investing platform where modern investors can learn about the market, research stocks and funds, share investing ideas, and build virtual and real brokerage portfolios. Interacting with company stocks is as easy as drag, drop and trade?. Founded in 2008 by video game entrepreneur Gaspard de Dreuzy and financial technologist Serge Kreiker, Kapitall uses the gaming experience to break the established online trading mold, as the leading investing platform for emerging investors. Jarrett Lilien, former E*TRADE President and COO, joined the team as CEO in 2012.

This is the “gamefication” of trading/investing. I suspected they are well-capitalized and found out that they have raised more than million in VC. ^WM

Minetta Brook – Deepak Bharadwaj (CEO & Founder) and Viplav Nigam (VP Engineering) “Big data Intelligence” Realtime Computational Linguistics Technology.  Today, announcing knewsapp for the first 100 users. Interesting use of news analysis and how to value the coverage to be of value to investors. Now showing the stocks where Soros is an investor and if any are getting more coverage in news, Twitter or blogs. I think this is pretty cool and have asked to be a beta user of their product KnewsApp. Web-based and I think mobile versions are available. ^WM

Geezeo – Shawn Ward (CEO) and Peter Glyman (President) “Engagement Banking” “I was the first presenter at the first Finovate” I was there I think I remember their presentation. That was a LONG time ago. Showing IOS app, I think new, SMB cash flow management. From BIC: Geezeo helps organizations engage their base, reach new markets, and increase wallet share. More than 300 financial institutions leverage Geezeo’s PFM platform. Geezeo’s primary focus is to provide services and technologies that enable clients to engage their target audiences to make sound financial decisions around products your financial institution offers. ^WM

Anchor ID – David Schropfer (CEO) From BIC: Anchor ID, Inc. is a digital identity company that allows consumers to use one universal login, combined with smartphone authentication, to access sites across the web. From social networks to entertainment sites, online banking to ecommerce, using Anchor ID, consumers no longer have to remember multiple logins and passwords to securely transact on the web. Headquartered in New York, Anchor ID raised seed capital in January 2014 and will launch in the fall of 2014

“We have been live for two days.” It is authentification technology and gives at least five different choices for authentification: voice, PIN, AppleTouchID, location, etc. Pretty cool and looks flexible. ^WM

Powerlytics    Kevin Sheetz (CEO & Co-Founder) and Pat Brown (Sr. Director, Stategic Sales)  They use Big Data for better investment strategy. Allows FIs to use their data, and combine it with the organization’s own. Benchmark and other interactive reports helps you to explore the data. They also have products for consumers. They also are looking for strategic partners. ^SR

“Powerful data, smarter decisions.” From BIC: Powerlytics’ market intelligence platform provides the most comprehensive, accurate and granular consumer and business financial data available. Underpinned by the financial statements of 27 million business and 144 million households, Powerlytics’ platform and products allow for unprecedented insights to understand risk, identify market opportunities and conduct predicative analytics, analysis and research with a degree of precession that turns insights into action. Launching new product that parallels a lending workbench. Small business lending strategy platform. It looks pretty powerful; I’m not sure where they get their data. Kevin was at KPMG for 17 years and was a partner and later had successful stints at Unisys and other tech companies before starting Powerlytics. ^WM

Algomi    Stu Taylor (CEO) and Usman Khan (CTO)  They use social networks for investment managers and insurance companies. They connect bond buyers and sellers, and many bonds don’t trade very frequently. Which global bank can connect me to the right bond seller, without telegraphing this info to the entire market? Honeycomb platform mines bond trading data to identify likely sellers (or buyers, depending on which end of the deal you’re on).  Billions of dollars of transactions on their platform. ^SR

95 FTE’s with offices in London and New York. Social networking “take” for investment trading. JPMC is a client. “We run the Honeycomb Network.” Showing screen of bonds that look to be the shape of a honeycomb. Their interface is nice and it has a different kind of look and feel. It reminds me of the periodic table in Chemistry class at FSU.

“Bonds only trade a few times a year.” One of the things I like about Finovate Fall is that is in New York City, so we see a lot more international and investment-based technologies that I don’t usually find in the Finovate Spring event in California. ^WM

Finovate Day 2 continues from New York

Our coverage of Finovate continues into Day 2.

Cachet Financial Solutions    Youri Bebic (SVP Mobile Innovations) and Kimberly Timmons (Relationship Manager) Cachet describes themselves as “mobile for the prepaid world.” They aggregate best-in-class services (bill pay, remittance, rewards) and offer it as software as a service (SAAS). They are the first virtual agent of Moneygram. ^SR

I’m sure I’ve see these foks before. Now showing very nice IOS app demo of Cachet’s client MoneyGram. Again, very nice UI. Showing Navy Federal CU app. From our friends at BIC: Cachet Financial Solutions is a leading financial services technology company, specializing in commercial and consumer remote deposit capture (RDC) solutions for financial institutions, credit unions, and financial service organizations. Cachet’s merchant capture solution (for both PC and Mac) and mobile applications provide greater freedom and flexibility for financial institutions and their customers. What’s kind of interesting to me is that I’ve always thought of these folks as more of a remote deposit technology company. Everything I’m seeing now seems to be mobile app payments. Now showing analytics dashboard based on user data.

From their web site:
Cachet Financial Solutions is a leading provider of cloud-based Saas remote deposit capture (RDC) solutions for banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. Remote and mobile deposit technologies are changing business and personal banking forever. And thanks to our leading industry platform, Cachet has simplified the process for delivering, implementing and servicing these remote solutions. ^WM

Hoyos Labs    Hector Hoyos (Founder, Chairman & CEO)    From your mobile phone, they provide facial recognition and retina scan, and logs you in automatically to your account. No usernames, no passwords, no tokens. Launches for consumer use in October. And yes, they do have anti-hack technology (like asking you to raise your eyebrows to make sure you are not a fake picture.) System can tell the difference between live shot of you, and a recorded video. ^SR

Hector is showing the IOS app and the BofA credit card web site and now how it is linked to the mobile app. Using facial recognition for authentication. No user names, passwords, no tokens. “This is the consumer app launching next month for IOS and Android”. Now showing business application/implementation. “BANK OF AMERICAN IS USING THIS”. This is a big deal. B of A doesn’t like to let their vendors publicly speak about how B of A uses apps from bank vendors.

From our friends at BIC: Hoyos Labs is a Digital Infrastructure Security Company devoted to developing highly secured Identity Assertion Platforms capable of authenticating and assuring identities quickly yet accurately. Headquartered in New York City, Hoyos Labs Research and Development Division operates at the various geographies.

Now Hector is trying to “spoof” his own system using a video of himself. As expected, the app rejected the session. Pretty cool. ^WM

Larky    Andrew Bank (Co-Founder) and Gregg Hammerman (Co-Founder)  White-label, merchant- funded, point-of-sale (POS) discounts for consumers. Their aim: drive loyalty and card revenue. The answer is “contextual engagement” with set-it-and-forget-it functionality. My question is if the customer is going to make the purchase anyway, do you really want to offer them a discount?  Perfect use case for predictive analyitcs: let’s just serve up discounts for customers not likely to buy without receiving a discount. ^SR

Larky helps merchants build loyalty programs through their platform. From their web site: “Solutions for Credit unions, banks and health insurers.” Now speaking that most financial products (or at least 1/2) are not from a consumer’s primary FI. Now showing their IOS app but I believe they are launching their Android app today. I know I’m sounding like a broken record but once again, it’s a beautiful interface showing location-based services to show a consumer offer based on location and I assume banking/purchase behavior.

From their company’s blog: Infographic: How Are Millennials Transforming the Banking Industry?

With over 86 million people in the generation known as Millennials (born early 1980?s to early 2000?s), the banking industry is poised to see a major shift in how people want to interact with their financial institutions. LARKY INTELLIGENCE has uncovered some amazing statistics to give you a glimpse into the future.

Now speaking to engaging millennials. This is the FIRST company this event that I can recall that is addressing millenials. ^WM

WingCash    Bradley Wilkes (CEO & President), Steve Curtis (VP & Director, Sales), and Vilash Poovala (CTO)  Cloud-based wallet for gift cards, currency, and “brand cash”. They include US$ currency, waiting to see how that gets funded. Brand Cash is a loyalty currency. The offering is focused on processors and acquirers of merchant accounts.^SR

“Revolutionizing the mobile wallet” Now showing IOS app. Speaking to the challenge of carrying all our credit/debit/loyalty/gift cards and frustration at the register. Their motto is “Life is Better With Cash”. WingCash carries payment cards, loyalty cards and more. I’m interested in how they make their money and their go-to-market strategy. Focused on processors and the merchant business. ^WM

Behalf    Benjy Feinberg (CEO) and Andrew Abshere (Director, Product)  Financing for small busines customers – they pay the vendors on behalf of the company. This helps SMBs to manage their cash flow; Behalf pays the vendor, and provides repayment terms.  I see the appeal of this offering and it takes some of the hassle out of vendor management. ^SR

Again, another company that provides small business financing. Like I wrote earlier, this category is HOT. There must be a huge need as so many folks are here showing solutions in this area. Again, I it is my belief that Behalf and other organizations like it leverage 21st century technology to get cash to SMB’s in a way that is just not practical for traditional FI’s. Now showing web-based front end for the borrower. ^WM

Rippleshot    Randal Cox (Co-Founder & Chief Scientist) and Lucas Ward (CTO & Co-Founder)  They offer enhanced detection for fraud and data breaches. Interactive dashboards help to pinpoint vulnerable merchants, compromised cards, and more. They offer their service via PCI-compliant cloud, can provide time/location of every breach, and can quickly identify both large and emerging breaches. This is an important service given increasing exposure to merchants for data breaches. ^SR

Knox Payments    Thomas Nicholas (President & Co-Founder)  Easy to sign up for a merchant account, online and in minutes. Funding accounts is also very straightforward. ^SR

From our friends at BIC: Knox adds an additional layer of security on top of users’ online banking, and allows merchants and other users to make payments to and from bank accounts online for $CONTENT.18/ transaction, without the “middlemen’ of Visa or MasterCard. Now showing web app for a new account setup. New account opening technology is HOT. uMonitor sold to Harland FS (now D+H) and Andera recently sold for a TON of money (Kudo’s to Charlie on that). Knox Payments is now showing how fast to set up the account and then trade on a platform such as FOREX. “We are the only alternative to the credit card networks to underwrite transactions at a much lower cost.”

Thinknum    Justin Zhen (Co-Founder)  This is a web platform for financial analysis; most financial analysts are not computer programmers. The UI looks like Google Docs, with a web-based spreadsheet. They’ve added functions that make it easier to do financial analysis, like grabbing data automatically from 10K reports. Also moves the computing power off your desktop, and over to the compute power of their cloud servers. ^SR

Showing Thinknum’s technology creating Excel data. I’m not quite sure of the Unique Value Proposition so I will have to do more reach on the company. From their web site: A powerful web platform for financial analysis. Our Cashflow Model engine helps you value companies like a genius. I think it’s interesting technology and a fine company but I’m noticing a trend. It seems like 1/2 of all FINTECH companies use the same template for their home pages of their web sites. Perhaps it’s a WordPress template. Again, I think this is pretty powerful technology for those who need this kind of data and presentation. ^WM

Malauzai Software    Robb Gaynor (Chief Product Officer & Founder) and Danny Piangerelli (CTO) They build custom apps for community banks, with an emphasis on next generation of mobile. “Apps running on the desktop.” I like this — really starts to bring a “mobile, first” philosophy to market. Large banks are far along this road, Malauzai Software looks like they are helping community banks with this challenge. Nice drag-and-drop functionality for the desktop. ^SR

Malauzai Full disclosure: William Mills Agency provides public relations for Malauzai Software. From their web site: “Cool SmartApps, Easily Managed and Easily Measured.”

Based in Austin, Texas,  Malauzai is one of the rare companies I know that have clear, concise vision coupled with smart, experienced talent with one of the best work environments. I believe this is the FIRST time the company is presenting here but Malauzai technology has been a major part of at least TWO other Finovate demos over the years. “We serve over 300 FI’s around the United States. We create smart apps and end users have a much better experience. Internet banking as you know it is DEAD!” Lots of users are demanding a better experience, especially for tablets and desktops.  “Smart phones are where we started.” They are now showing their smart web browser experience.

Now Robb is showing their iPad app and it’s REALLY slick with a “carousel” view. What they are showing, which I have NOT seen from other folks (yet), is the mobile experience in a browser environment. “Smart Web Apps driven by same mobile user experience (because it is easy, people know how to use mobile apps intuitively) (paraphrase). One of their real cool functions is the ability to turn debit cards on and off manually using the Malauzai mobile app and know it looks like it will be very popular on tablets and web browsers on a computer. MOX, Convergence and superior economics. I bet they will be a best of show winner if not a strong contender. ^WM

Video recap: financial services technology and innovation from Finovate

We’ve recapped some of the highlights and our observations from Day 1 at Finovate.

Innovation in financial services - Finovate Day 2

We’re back for another marathon of financial technology. Day 1 covered a range of new developments in mobile payments, automated financial advice, and personal financial management. There are several interesting companies lined up for Day 2, and the presentations begin in a few minutes. ^SR

Kabbage  Rob Frohwein (CEO & Co-Founder) and Kathryn Petralia (COO & Co-Founder)  Kabbage provides working capital to small business, with over $400 million in loans. Their new offering is Karrot, a consumer loan product. They note it is the lowest cost loan option on the market. Their demo focuses on debt consolidation. You only need to submit last-4 of social security. It isn’t even a hard inquiry to the credit bureaus until/unless you accept the loan. Your financial information is pulled from your accounts automatically. Approval is within seconds, provided online. They don’t use ACH for money transfer, you link your debit card to your Karrot account for funding. Origination fee is deducted from the accepted loan. Institutional investors are funding the loans on the platform. This service can be provided white-label to banks and FIs. ^SR

This Atlanta-based company has a great reputation. I believe I first saw them at a Finovate several years ago. Loans to SMB market. They put out more than 0 million last year (I believe in lending to SMB’s).  They did launch in May 2010 at Finovate (San Francisco). Announcing “Karrot” “least expensive, fastest loan for consumers.  I’m interested in who will be doing the funding for Karrot. I think of Kabbage of a technology company as opposed to a lender but technology is changing that.  Capitol Access Network, OnDeck, Kabbage seemed to have unlocked the code on better financing using technology. What are FI’s role with Carrot?  Now discussing the problems with ACH (24 -72 hour turnaround) and their solution using payment through debit card exchange for faster funds movement.

One smart thing Kabbage has done is that they announced this PRIOR to today so there is some press coverage of the new product during their presentation. Great kudos to Kabbage and their PR team. ^WM

Sender & PrivatBank    Egor Avetisov (Creative Director) and Maria Gurina (Deputy Head of E-Commerce)  Sender has their client, PrivatBank, up on stage with them. PrivatBank is one of the largest banks in Eastern Europe, and had a great presentation themselves at the last Finovate. Sender offers a chat-based peer-to-peer payment system. Very simple setup on the bank side, as well as easy to use by the customer. Sender is a platform for customer communications and payments. ^SR

Sender.mobi “MC has only one product, a credit card. Each bank needs to create their own online bank.” I’m quite sure what their app does but hopefully we will get to that. I think it’s awesome that they have one of their customers, a large bank with them doing the presentation. They are now showing a chat-based IOS app where the person doing the demo is sending an invoice via the app and the recipient gets the invoice and pays via the app.^WM

Vantiv    Coy Christensen (VP Product Management) with Jesse Kunicki (Development Manager)  Demostrating their TriPOS system.  Vantiv has a tough challenge here. This is more of an infrastructure and pipes play, and I think they haven’t articulated their real value. The demo requires too much knowledge of payment processing. They are talking features, but not really benefits to the bank, to the merchant, or to the consumer. However, EMV is the story of the day in the card industry. They have technology to help companies make the transition to EMV. This is a product for payments developers. ^SR

I met with folks from Vantiv last year at Money2020 and have been tracking them for the past year. In this demo they are showing triPOS (“try pos”) which I think is a merchant solution; perhaps like Square. We will find out but uses the existing PIN device (like VeriFone). I’m not sure what the difference is between triPOS and existing merchant point-of-sale systems. Perhaps it’s an easy way for merchants to be able to EMV certified easily as it only requires one EMV certification. Vantiv, Inc. is a U.S.-based payment processing and technology solutions provider headquartered in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area. ^WM

CrowdFlower    Tatiana Josephy (VP Product)  Product to clean and complete your Big Data. Data scientists spend 80% of their time cleaning up the data. They provide the person-power to help train machine learning algorithms. Their example is spotting cars in a parking lot, to help train an image recognition application. CrowdFlower can extract data from PDF, manual process to identify the key information. CrowdFlower is vetting who is working on your tasks. This is another competitor to Amazon Mechanical Turk. CrowdFlower’s online workforce analyzes sentiment and purchase intent from social media. For AppleWatch, they analyzed 27,000 tweets for $280.  It isn’t about Big Data, it is more about Rich Data (annotated by people). ^SR

“We collect, clean and label data.” “Rich data, clean and easy to use.” Skybox/Google is a current client and they are showing a demo using Skybox. This is pretty cool. Skybox is a satellite imaging company that collects photos and has scientists to mark/input data based on satellite photos. For example, counting the number of cars in a parking lot to determine how much traffic/business may have.  Another client utilizes Crowdflower to collect data from SEC PDF documents. Their online workforce combs through SEC filings to collect the data. I’m guessing that CrowdFlower utilizes a paid crowdsourcing work force so people can work when they want for as long as they work (as opposed to outsourcing). I REALLY like what these folks are doing. Last example, one customer uses Twitter data to predict stock prices. CrowdFlower helped this company analyze Twitter data on whether the Apple Watch will be successful. In 24 hours 1,400 people in their workforce studied thousands of Tweets for a cost of 0. That is amazing to me. I can see big thing for these folks. It’s a fast, easy, low-cost solution that takes big data to rich (usable) data. I’m impressed and think they might be a “Best of Show” winner. ^WM

BioCatch    Uri Rivner (Co-Founder & VP, Business Development & Cyber Strategy)  They are trying to reduce customer “friction” from cumbersome fraud and authentication, by use of biometrics. Their example shows the onscreen pattern when you swipe your device. It tracks how you respond to the application. People actually are consistent, and the way they physically handle the device is unique. You can establish a baseline based on these user behaviors, and use this to detect fraudulent users. They also look at how you use the mouse, do you use the tab keys, do you click or hit “submit” to enter, do you use cut/paste, etc. Biometrics are really taking on a new character, with very different ways to analyze customer behavior. ^SR

Showing an iPad based application. Studies how a user is interacting with a mobile banking application, I’m assuming for authentification. Perhaps the platform might provide an ability to cross-sell or create offers based on the movement of a smart phone. I heard a presentation from an ex-RSA last month on authentication via a person’s movement so I think this is very cutting edge. Even is you have someone’s mobile phone, their email, password, bank account information and all passwords it is impossible (for now) to mimic someones unique movements: how they walk, hold their mobile phones, height and more. Very complex and interesting. ^WM

Ayasdi    Michael Woods (Principal Data Strategist) and Max Song (Data Scientist)  This is a data science company that has commercialized techniques developed by DARPA. In financial services, they are looking at predictive models and customer intelligence. They have a data visualization platform, but it is not ready for primetime. This sounds like a data science lecture, not a discussion of innovation. (Not that I’m complaining!  But they’ve completely lost the audience.) The finding: low FICO scores had higher risk of bankruptcy.  Wow, hope the client didn’t have to pay for that!     ^SR

Now showing very cool data helix, much like human DNA. Boy, this is VERY cool but way over my head. Color coded by FICO score. These are smart folks. It almost looks like like something out of “The Matrix”. Now showing how an FI would use the helix. I’ll try to upload a photo. Very interesting. ^WM

Financeit & FIS    Michael Garrity (CEO)

I was meeting with one of FinanceIT’s investors last week and I am really looking forward to their demo today. Katie from FIS is speaking today. FIS is led by a great guy, Frank Martire and they have acquired a TON of financial technology companies.

Launching FinanceIT product to US market today. Four years of operation in Canada. “POS Financing Platform”: We Offer Financing Everywhere.” Showing a demo of a merchant that uses FinanceIT. About FinanceIT from the TTC Capital web site: Financeit is a platform that makes it easy for businesses to boost sales by offering consumer financing to their customers from any device. The company brings point of sale financing tools to main street merchants to increase close rates and transaction size – a proven strategy previously reserved for big box retailers. Since launching in 2011, Financeit has signed up over 2,800 retail, vehicle, home improvement and healthcare businesses who have processed more than 0 million in loans.

Now showing the browser-based merchant dashboard and a customer is now at the merchant making the transaction and showing monthly payment and schedule, loan documentation and it looks like it is on-the-fly loan agreement based on geography and regulations using an e-signature. Very slick.^WM

Yodlee    John Bird (Product Marketing, Yodlee), Jon Petz (Product Evangelist, Yodlee)  and Avi Lele (CEO, Stockpile)  Yodleee presenting the frequent tension between developers and bankers; Yodlee helps to bridge the gap by aggregating bank data and exposing it to developers via robust APIs. Yodlee is uniquely positioned to serve both developers and banks. The developer panel makes working with the platform simple. Yodlee is having fun with their demo, I like the “Jekyll and Hyde”-inspired character who melds the hoodie-wearing coder and the straight-laced banker. Where’d you guys get that costume? ^SR

I’ve know Yodlee since the “dot com” days besides being a survivor they now seem to dominate as the personal finance data provider in this part of of the financial industry. I bet 50+ companies use Yodlee’s data to drive the front end screens of their apps. I believe they are on a “road show” and I expect an IPO from Yodlee some time this year. From BIC: Financial management platform that uses data analytics to provide financial insights to users. Platform components include data aggregation, Money Movement. ^WM

Matchi    David Milligan (CEO, Matchi) and Warren Bond (Co-Founder, Matchi)  Matchi is a matchmaking service for member banks and innovators. The platform enables banks to create “challenges” that go out to fintech entrepreneurs. For banks, it is a way to grow and find innovations in your areas of interest. ^SR

We need to move beyond where we are on a continuous basis. That’s what Matchi does.” Co-presenter is from KPMG. Their url is www.Matchi.biz. 30 banks have signed up (I haven’t heard a US bank yet, International so far.)

From their web site.
How does it work?

Founded by people with years of experience in selling into the banking world, Matchi is an Innovation Matchmaking platform that brings banks and innovators together. Co-designed with leading banks, Matchi showcases a collection of market-ready solutions for many of the challenges that impact delivery to your clients.

I’m not familiar with this organization or their market category so I will need to learn more. It was wise for them to bring KPMG with them as a part of their presentation today. “Rippleshot signed up with us and we have introduced them to several FI’s around the world” (I’m paraphrasing here). Announcing Global FINTECH Innovation challenge hosted by Standard Bank. Winner of this challenge will be flown to South Africa for presentations to at least six major banks. Interesting. Bankers will like it as well as innovative Fintech companies.

Our video blog with an overview of Finovate Fall 2014

Check out our video blog from Day 1 of Finovate