Are we headed towards a future where our key financial services provider will be a brand that started off by selling books online?Well, why not? With open banking becoming reality, any digital platform can become a bank. All that a good financial services platform needs is the ability to do three things: help people move their money easily, provide access to credit when and where they need it and provide value added services such as insurance and investment options. With an open banking system, any service provider can tie up with the best in each of the verticals and offer a bouquet which is quite literally, world beating. But my guess is that the brands that will win will be the ones with the best customer experience and not the most disruptive offering only.
World of finance is daunting. It is pedantic and pedagogic. Undoubtedly, one needs more help and support to make a financial decision or even a transaction.
Here's where Amazon comes in. It is one brand that repeatedly tops every customer experience lists and there is a good reason for that. In his annual letter to his shareholders, Bezos wrote “Our focus is on customer obsession rather than competitor obsession, eagerness to invent and pioneer, willingness to fail, the patience to think long-term, and the taking of professional pride in operational excellence.” Undoubtedly, the company's obsession with customers makes it stand apart from its competition. Not only competition in its own space but other best in class brands from the services industries such as airlines and hotels.
This obsession will one day help Amazon beat any Fintech giant at its own game.
Typical Fintech companies obsess with data. With increasing computing power, there is a ginormous increase in the amount of data that can be collected from web browsing history, social media and now the fitness trackers and even internet of things. New methodologies and tools to analyse this data is emerging every day. Fintech companies focus all their attention on providing disruptive offerings by combining innovative business models, technology and big data. But are they as obsessed with customers as Amazon is?
If the Fintech companies want to win the race, they must look sideways at Amazon to pick up a tip or two which will help them stay ahead. A simple Google search will throw up 'n' number of articles on Amazon's superior customer service. But the three strategies that I find most relevant for Fintech companies are:
1.Power of DIY service
People who want to use a disruptive Fintech services are also most comfortable finding a solution most suited to their needs. Give people the power to find their own solutions.
Amazon has an incredibly detailed yet easy to navigate Help Centre which lets people drill down to a number of specific concerns. While on the surface, the experience is streamlined to Amazon's overall shopping experience where people can search by category, under the hood, there are thousands of articles that help people find their own solutions.
2. Power to reverse their decision
People are scared of purchase decisions they make online. A 2016 study by Shippo showed that most customers checked the return policy before they make the decision to purchase an online product.
The fear is more palpable among shoppers who purchase financial products which protect their long term needs. For example Insurance. Amazon has a no questions asked return policy which provides an immense sense of comfort to shoppers. While it has become a norm among eComm players today, Amazon started the trend in the market.
Can Fintech players give people the option to reverse their decision without a heavy penalty?
3. Power of personalisation
Amazon's personalisation is legendary. What makes them stand apart from everyone else is the way they can make people feel that they are dealing with a person where there is a connection, not just a transaction. Having access to Big Data is not the only answer. It is not good enough to have the right data and do the right things with the data.
Amazon is a startup at heart. Their personality is that of an explorer while their processes are nimble. They swiftly move in and out of businesses. There is absolutely nothing stopping them (except the regulators) from becoming our key financial services provider. And when that happens, I will surely move my business to them.