Everyone knows what businesses like Uber and Airbnb are; they are platforms that connect vendors who have something to sell with people who want to buy those goods and services.
The platform concept brought a significant change to the business world by making traditionally challenging tasks, like finding accommodation or transportation, easy, fast, and convenient.
That’s key. It has meant that the modern consumer now expects and demands this type of frictionless experience. Banks are about as traditional a service as you can find, yet technology has enabled them to shift into the platform space.
The reason banks are shifting towards becoming platform businesses is that there are many facets to managing money. It’s not just about collecting and saving it; it is also about spending and transacting. If you consider that the concept of a platform is to connect those offering products and services with those ready to spend their money on products and services, banks that are agile and move towards platforms become far more competitive.
A bank has a captive audience because everyone needs a bank account to participate meaningfully in the economy. However, it also happens the other way around—general commercial service platforms can offer banking and banking-type services to their customers, so banks that don’t shift into this realm will lose customers and be left behind.
If we shift our gaze to the strength of banks, it starts with acknowledging that they have a lot of data about their customers’ spending habits. This opens up immense potential to partner with other service providers and to start offering relevant services and products to their customers. Besides adding new revenue streams, this can go a long way toward keeping customers happy and loyal—as long as the value-add is simple, easy, convenient, and frictionless.
But just how does a bank ensure that this platform works the way it was intended? Customer communication management (CCM) is fundamental to the process. If a bank cannot communicate well, effectively, quickly, and accurately, it will lose customers. Good communication builds trust. If there is no communication after a purchase, a customer may ask: Did the transaction happen? What did I sign up for? What should I know? Doubt erodes trust.
Clear, synchronous communication is crucial. Modern customers expect it. In their lives, when they order an Uber, they get instant communication. If they order a food delivery, an instant receipt and news of the driver and expected delivery time are available on their phone.
The CCM component of any banking platform should be considered right from the initial concept phase through to the design and implementation of the platform. However, in many cases, banks are currently using a variety of disparate tools, such as plain document automation, for their customer communications. These tools don’t provide the agility and intelligence of a modern CCM platform, and they don’t enable the ease of integration that a modern cloud-based solution does.
Harnessing a modern CCM solution into a banking platform can be the antithesis of a typical legacy integration, where code has to be meticulously and carefully added directly into the bank’s back-end systems. Using modern APIs, a good CCM platform can talk to any system, and certainly to a platform. Banks can add elements as and when they’re needed in the live environment without needing to turn the system off, integrate, and then restart.
A good CCM platform, which integrates with third-party applications such as SMS, WhatsApp, email services, and different design and output format solutions, provides a no-code or low-code environment. By separating the content and the business logic elements, a CCM platform such as GhostDraft enables business users to create and deploy communications. This is important because you’d rather have your legal team draw up legal documents and your marketing team design communications that are true to the brand, than IT staff with no knowledge of that business unit designing and sending out communication.
One of the most crucial benefits that a powerful CCM platform provides is agility. The world evolves quickly. Interest rates change, terms and conditions change, and these changes need to be made in real-time. Similarly, if a bank and one of its partners spot an opportunity, the time to market using a modern CCM platform is reduced dramatically. Changes that previously took weeks and months using old technology can now be made in a couple of hours.
The horse has bolted, and banks and other financial institutions are already on the platform journey. They’d do well to seek an industry-grade, cloud-based CCM partner such as GhostDraft. A good CCM platform is the glue that binds customers to the bank and its third-party partners.
By Peter Ottermann, CTO at GhostDraft.