Category: Conferences and Events, Innovation

Friction is the Enemy of Speed

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SpeedSkating“Friction is the enemy of speed.”  I learned this principal racing Pinewood Derby cars with my sons in Cub Scouts.

This principal is relevant for all types of activities where speed is a goal and based on the new financial tech coming out of Silicon Valley, this principal is relevant to customer experience too.

I recently attended Finovate Spring 2015 in San Jose, CA. It was a two day conference focused on new financial technology products. Over 70 new products took the spotlight with a six minute demo; no sales pitches or “Shark Tank” questions, just product demos. One after the other tech companies held the stage in front of hundreds of financial company executives and decision makers. They demonstrated use cases for their products and invited attendees to their booth for more information during the networking sessions.

Two major themes were evident right from the first demo:

  • Frictionless Customer Experience (CX)
  • Mobile is a Must

The new buzz word in customer experience is “Frictionless.” Every piece of Fintech (that’s what Silicon Valley calls the category of products that focus on financial technology solutions) demoed during this conference claimed to be frictionless for the customer. Many of the companies backed up that claim with stories of how fast customer could complete financial activities with their product. One product enabled customers to complete a loan application, on their mobile device, in less than three minutes. They proved it by completing an application during their six minute demo. It was a frictionless experience.

The problem friction causes is customer abandonment. One presenting company claimed that 70% of customers will abandon online activities that have more than three pages of forms to complete. This becomes critical to new business when we consider more and more activities are originating from mobile devices. Financial firms that want to convert customers through web products must have simple, quick, and easy to complete interfaces – in one word, they must be frictionless.

In addition to being frictionless, every demo at Finovate presented a mobile application. Let me repeat that; EVERY financial product demo had a mobile application. Mobile used to be a differentiator, now it’s a must. There were 1.8 billion smart phones sold worldwide in 2013 with an 82% saturation in the millennial demographic. Just take a look around, everyone is on their smartphone, and since this is where customers spend the most time, this is where financial companies need to target their products.

Fortunately, the companies presenting all understood that the financial industry has been around for generations and has some legacy systems and processes that make mobile integration expensive. To address this, products focused on doing one or two things really well and offering frictionless integration with legacy systems. For example, there were a few demos that included inserting 2-3 lines of HTML code into a website and instantly creating a new account application process on any mobile device, compete with photo ID verification and lots of cool bells and whistles.

It was all very frictionless.

The Fintech coming out of Silicon Valley is an indicator of things to come. Speed and convenience is their focus. Traditional websites accessed from a desktop or laptop computer are becoming too slow for customers, if only because they need to physically be somewhere they can use those devices. Mobile access enables customers to perform activities anytime from anywhere, and the new generations expect that speed of access. It is clear that financial activities historically completed in person, on the phone, and/or by mail will need to be self-served  from a mobile device and completed through a frictionless process with very little human action or interaction.

Boston Financial is committed to helping our clients take advantage of the growing mobile market and leveraging industry tools and products to deliver frictionless customer experiences. Staying informed of the new Fintech is one way we continue to evolve from transfer agent to smart servicer.

Matthew Gould

Matthew Gould

Matthew works for Boston Financial's New Business and Product Development Team listening and researching the challenges of our industry and exploring creative solutions. He spends most of his time with new product development; exploring, evaluating, designing, and delivering innovative solutions for our clients' business. Matthew started with the enterprise in 1992 and during his tenure has implemented innovation in a variety of areas, including customer service, technology solutions, relationship management, and operations oversight. Matthew leverages his varied experience, adds in his endless curiosity and passionate creativity to deliver innovation for our industry.

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