Banking software expert Dharmesh Mistry is a judge at the upcoming UK Digital Experience Awards, which take place in London on July 12. Here he discusses how customers increasingly judge a bank not by how easy it is to pay a bill, but by how many of life’s hassles it can manage for them…

Too many senior bank executives still think a good user experience (UX) is synonymous with a great user interface in a cool mobile app. I’ve got news for them – the game has changed and new digital banks are ahead in mastering it.

The UX has become something much bigger, deeper, and more complex than how the customer interacts with the bank through a screen. As the Internet of Things – including data analytics and voice apps such as Alexa and Siri – handles more aspects of our lives, banks will have to follow suit. Great UX will be defined not only by how banks manage their customers’ money, but by how they help with planning for life’s big decisions – and much more besides.

Banks are beginning to provide some of these services. Barclays recently introduced voice-recognition software for phone customers, eliminating the need for multiple security questions and passwords. Santander has an app that allows customers to voice questions about their transaction history rather than have to search manually for the data.

BBVA’s Valora goes further still. A home-buying app, Valora helps customers work out what they can afford in terms not just of borrowing but also running a home. It will even check the sale prices for similar properties to stop customers from being fleeced, help them get the right kind of insurance and find a builder for any renovations. There’s a similar one for showing how much having kids costs.

BBVA’s service represents a radical change. It encapsulates the idea of banks as life-service providers, using data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to help customers understand the financial implications of life’s big milestones, like buying your first home or having children. It helps customers make the best decisions about their money and more besides. It’s open banking – and if banks are to remain open they need to take note because customers like it.

Digital banks that offer these kinds of new services are signing up customers at enviable rates. For example, Tandem Bank, which allows customers to track all their accounts on one app, hit 100,000 within five months of launching. 

Meanwhile, BBVA, with its array of digital life-enhancing apps, saw profits grow 20 percent in 2017. Its Chief Executive, Carlos Torres Vila, acknowledged the role the whole UX had to play, STATING: “As soon as the customer becomes digital, the satisfaction level increases, the engagement with the bank grows and it leads to more revenue.”

At Temenos, we understand that the scope for providing good customer experiences is so broad that we, as a vendor, cannot do all of it on our own. Instead we work with third parties – fintechs, regtechs, and service providers – to create ecosystems that help banks deliver what customers want: a great experience.

As data and analytics underpin more of a customer’s life, so the need for a digital banking core will become ever more vital. Our software is as open as possible to third parties, so our customers’ IT systems can take APIs from the widest spectrum. Being open eliminates the need for months of integration work and means the customer journeys are easily adapted to deliver innovation at speed. Functionality can be unlocked quickly and efficiently to allow banks to hook up with new partners and provide hitherto unthought-of new services and products.

 Banks, like people, must have solid foundations to get the most out of life.

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