Thanks to companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Waze, people have come to expect their favorite products and services to adapt intelligently to their unique behaviors and preferences. But what happens when these people get to work, sit down at their computer, and expect the same types of interactions?
Consumer technology innovation has forever changed the expectations of business users—especially when it comes to their banks. Corporate customers want the same level of personalization, simplification, intuitiveness, and usefulness they’re used to in the rest of their lives.
Most business banking applications are “static” simple resources that people extract information from. But what today’s users really need are “smart” applications that act as valuable assistants. Because most past innovation in the space has focused on driving transactional efficiency instead of improving the customer experience, the way the application works for each business is exactly the same—even if customers’ expectations, behaviors, and needs are very different. The experience is not unique or particularly insightful for the individual user.
More and more, businesses will come to expect their applications to act as a digital assistant. This means not just providing insights, but suggestions about what to do with those insights. To do so, the application must be able to understand the personal behaviors and preferences of the user, the business context of the company’s transactions, and then have the intelligence to make the right recommendations that can be turned into action. Banks will need to pivot from both legacy technology and a transaction-focused culture to provide the transformational, personalized experiences that business customers expect.
Another area where personal experience will drive business expectations is real-time payments. While true real-time payments aren’t supported by Venmo or Zelle today, for consumers it feels real-time enough. Business users are starting to ask, ‘If I can pay you money for lunch right now, why can’t I pay my business invoices the same way? These users expect the same level of instant gratification in all aspects of their lives.
In addition, commercial banks will soon need to replicate the contextual and conversational components of social payments in their business payment solutions. Being able to send additional detail around why payments are being made in the same application as the funds are traveling will be an important benefit.
As consumer behavior drives the expectations in business, banks that have focused on the customer experience of their consumer applications need to make sure their business applications aren’t too far behind. Banks need to start rolling out business-based, real-time payment solutions quickly. If they wait another 18 months to start thinking about it, they will have a big problem and will surely be left behind.
And for further insights into the payments industry and beyond, subscribe to SmartPayments.com now and stay up-to-date on the latest tips, trends, and topics. You can also check out The Payments Podcast, where experts weigh-in on real-time factors impacting the payments industry.