Confidence in security and data privacy are increasingly important too, yet across the industry paper, phone and unsecure email are prevalent.
So before turning to tomorrow’s technologies, we should consider how to shift away from these slow, clunky channels today.
The best place to start is to keep it simple. It’s not about a complete, integrated, omni-channel experience, that’s just consultancy buzz, no customer ever asked for it.
Far more effective is to have a sharp focus on letting customers do as much as possible in a single, convenient mobile channel – think Monzo, Revolut and Uber.
WhatsApp for mortgages
We’ve seen financial services organisations, faced with demand from customers wanting to engage over instant messaging services such as WhatsApp, respond by enhancing such services to meet compliance and security standards, share files and photos, verify IDs, confirm income and collect signatures.
This means they can now offer a complete range of sign up and service through this digital channel. It is an incredibly fast and low risk way to unlock immediate benefits.
The flexibility of secure messaging suits the nuances of the mortgage market well.
Any wrinkle and niche case can be handled without a ‘computer says no’ objection, which is crucial as an increasingly personalised customer service is required and no two cases are ever the same.
Companies that invest in such natural language-based platforms are laying down a core foundation from which to exploit new, powerful automation services.
It is simple to start manually, by offering a staffed service, then over time, layer in basic automation bots for lower value activities while retaining the ability for a human adviser to step in as required.
Following initial simpler automation steps, we expect an evolution towards bolder, machine learning leaps.
The technologies which have powered the emergence of Amazon’s Alexa are available to any organisation that is engaging customers digitally through natural language.
As the volume of conversations increases, so does the accuracy of these machine learning engines. This is a particularly powerful route to delivering ongoing efficiency and experience benefits and one which we expect to drive the next major shift in efficiency automation.
Winners will experiment and learn
Outside of natural language, biometric identity verification, Open Banking and E-signing were highlighted by United Trust Bank’s broker survey as three technologies with the highest potential to impact the mortgage industry from 2020.
These technologies have been proven in the wider market, so the mortgage industry can safely adopt them with minimal risk.
Looking further to the future, I see richer sets of personal information being shared across organisations with lower effort, higher transparency, and with the customer more clearly in control.
Future winners will understand that technology is simply a means of making things as easy as possible for the customer.
They will invest in developing a culture of agile experimentation based around quickly getting new services in to the hands of customers, measuring results, learning quickly and doing more of what works.