A payments transformation that delivers smiles

Keep customers and employees happy by delivering digital payments faster and removing a system’s complexity.

Imagine a customer trying to make a payment on a mobile banking app, but taps the wrong button and the payment doesn’t go through. The customer reaches out to the bank for a quick resolution, but instead this seemingly simple issue starts a complex, 16-step process involving multiple employees working across systems and tools to try to recover the funds.

Institutions have made significant investments to create more intuitive online, mobile and omnichannel experiences for customers. Now they need to create a comparable experience for employees—one that eliminates the need to swivel across multiple payment systems, look up information in various portals and follow up on issues via email. The answer is a digital, connected “system of action.”

To stay relevant and remain competitive, financial institutions must deliver superior experiences through the end-to-end customer journey. Yes, the “happy path” works increasingly well for the customer-facing experience, but banks need to invest just as much in the back end by empowering employees with the connected tools and information they need to be more effective in servicing customers when there are issues, such as a failed or disputed payment.

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Let’s put some numbers on this: In 2020, failed payments globally led to $100 billion in cost. Much of that cost fell on financial institutions through a mix of labor costs, lost business via customer churn and fees. And this is only the price of failed payments. Add in other payment issues, such as disputes and fraud, and the number swells.

We have identified three key ways to transform operations to improve the customer experience:

Create connectivity

Highly fragmented systems and manual processes create enormous inefficiencies across operations teams, where customer and account information remains siloed. Companies should connect existing systems across the institution to ensure that everyone serving customers has real-time, relevant information on each customer’s accounts and can resolve issues quickly. Institutions must also offer the right experiences and channels for each stakeholder, whether they be a customer who wants to interact with a virtual agent for an omnichannel experience, an operations analyst who wants to work entirely through a single interface, or an approver who wants to quickly review and approve a request on a mobile device.

Build automation

Once you have systems and people that are connected, it’s much easier to build automation into any business process. For example, you can automatically route work to the person who is most experienced in handling a certain type of payment issue or to a team that has the most capacity. You can leverage artificial intelligence and decision logic to automatically make decisions on how to handle a payment exception. And you can trigger automated communications using preconfigured, dynamic templates.

Improve continuously

Once you’ve established a centralized system of action, it’s easy to scale and adapt to change. New payment capabilities can easily be integrated to maintain that connected and consistent experience. As you identify opportunities to improve processes, you can make adjustments to achieve greater efficiencies. And as regulations change, you can adapt your processes, service-level agreements and reporting to comply. Further, by building the system on a low-code/no-code platform, you can adapt to change much more quickly and easily.

In an improved end-to-end environment, that customer who tapped the wrong button making their payment wouldn’t have to endure a belabored recovery process. Integrating multiple systems into a single system of action can automatically route work through that system in real time and expose digital channels so customers can submit issues and check on the status themselves.

Digitally transforming end-to-end operations gives financial institutions the speed and resilience to win and keep customers while retaining valuable talent. The bar is high, and Big Tech continues to raise it, making the time to act now.

Tammi Shapiro is global head of product, financial services industry, at ServiceNow.

Pick up valuable intel on emerging methods, technologies and competition in the payments world in the BAI Executive Report, “Payments: Increasing competition in the fast lane”