Highlights from 2015 Fall Finovate Conference

Whether your company is “customer-obsessed” or you’re earlier in that journey, improving your customer experience often starts with finding and fixing pain points. From the fix-it stage and beyond, it’s important to explore technology solutions that can help fuel innovation.

In the financial services industry, the Finovate conference showcases how tech can help companies transform, and our live blogging from the September 2015 event unveiled many compelling offerings. Here we’ll highlight three top tech trends that could help you can make it easier for customers to do business with you.

1.   Using technology to create a smooth welcome experience

Adobe Marketing Cloud
Have you journey-mapped the customer experience of opening a new account? Do your customers have to fill out a lot of paperwork to get started? You may be shocked at how many steps new customers need to take. To set the stage for a more positive relationship, Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions can help you simplify the onboarding experience.

As Jim Marous of The Financial Brand noted, Adobe “demonstrated how financial institutions can transform current complex paper forms and document transactions into much more engaging digital experiences, on any device.”

2.   Natural language processing gets customers to relevant help quicker

Many of us dread calling for customer service, wasting time navigating a mostly-irrelevant interactive voice response (IVR) phone tree. Instead of getting caught in an endless loop of menu options, what if your customers could just say what they want?

Tech innovator North Side “enables a new customer experience – using English conversation (speech or typing) to do transactions or access self-service information from mobile devices or computers.”

Siri voice recognition by Nuance

Using the Nuance speech recognition solution, USAA, a leader in financial services and insurance, rolled out their free Savings Coach app in July 2015. Customers can talk to the app about their financial goals, and the virtual assistant provides personal and proactive information about “the importance of saving, analysis of spending and ongoing suggestions for a savings plan,” noted Eric Smith, vice president, technology architecture at USAA. “We’ve seen the benefit proactive financial information can bring to our members,” said Smith.

3.   Get ready for the “blockchain” to make transactions faster and more secure

Imagine your bank’s database goes offline just as you’re trying to transfer money to close on your mortgage? Most companies run their business using massive databases of customer and transactional data, but the challenges of managing security and uptime can be overwhelming. The fallout can have serious impacts on the customer experience.

An emerging solution is the “blockchain” – but what is it? A January 2015 article explained it this way: “The blockchain is similar to a database, except the way you interact with that database is different… it transfers authority and trust to a decentralized virtual network and enables nodes to continuously and sequentially record transactions on a public ‘block’ creating a unique ‘chain’: the blockchain.” As an encrypted log of transactions you can store and share securely, a broader population can be granted visibility into transactions, while being blocked from seeing confidential details like account numbers or personal information.

Blockstack was one of the Best of Show winners at Fall Finovate 2015. According to the company, their platform provides four functions: “a private ledger optimized for high transaction volume; asset issuance to represent real-world assets; transaction management that allows users to describe transaction flows between parties; and multi-signature wallet security.“ This technology has the potential to make transactions more secure, faster, and more convenient for all parties.

If your eyes glaze over whenever you’re in the room with IT, it’s time to shift the conversation. Instead of getting caught up in techno jargon, ask your internal business partners how these new technologies can help you better serve your customers.