In response to the global pandemic, businesses in the financial sector focused heavily on digitally transforming their customer-facing applications and processes, and rightly so.

With their ability to conduct face-to-face business taken away literally overnight, branch- and office-based businesses had to scramble to launch or refine digital proxies of their in-person interactions.

As the post-pandemic future becomes a reality, the temptation to continue to refine these customer-facing platforms and applications will be strong. After all, these front-end systems are what the customer engages with, and the customer experience has never been more critical to delivering value and differentiation.

However, focusing on the front-end systems alone would be a huge mistake.

Here are four reasons why, drawn from a conversation I had with Doug Villone, Global Head of Operations for Marcus by Goldman Sachs.

  1. Your front end can only be as good as—and never better than—your back end: You can’t just do one and forget the other. They must go hand-in-hand to deliver the total customer experience. You can have a beautifully designed app, but the whole experience falls apart if the back-end processes can’t deliver on the user expectations of real-time services.
  2.  The back end serves your customers too: We tend to look at the digital transformation of the customer experience as app-centric these days because it’s tangible. We can’t see it on the screen, but a modernized and integrated back end is what empowers your team members to serve your customers better. They get better tools, better integration, better automation to help them do their jobs better and focus more on high-value engagements.
  3.  Data is the new oil, but vehicles run on gasoline: Raw data itself is as helpful to a financial sector company as a barrel of crude oil. That data must be refined and delivered to the exact location it’s needed to fuel your organization. Over the last 20+ years, there’s been a lot of emphasis in the financial sector on browser-driven experiences and then mobile-first experiences. The focus on data took a bit of a back seat. But as machine learning, AI, and deep learning technologies have become more readily available, the focus on data has returned. The pandemic also exposed businesses that didn’t have the back-end architectures necessary to share critical customer and account data freely and securely across departments, branches, regions, and more.
  4. Back end powers the three Ps of the customer experience: Today’s financial sector customer experience must be predictive, preventive, and personalized. Customers today understand a transaction is taking place- In exchange for my data, you should be delivering more value to me.

For example, every time I log into my bank’s mobile app, it should be analyzing what I’ve done and what accounts and credit cards I’ve used, then use that information to dynamically curate the options that are most relevant and valuable to me.

Taking things to the next level, my bank shouldn’t always wait until I reach out to them to provide this value. This outreach goes beyond today’s fraud protection alerts, which just protect the bank. If my bank sees I have an automatic payment coming due and knows I don’t have enough funds in my account to pay that bill, it should ping me in advance and let me know so I can take appropriate action.

That’s converting a historically negative experience with banks—overdraft fees—into a positive customer experience. It’s a great example of how banking can be more frictionless, seamless, and a positive experience for everyone.

We’re not there today. Which is why Persistent has been developing a customer engagement engine that sits silently in the back end, processing data and delivering personalized, value-added prompts to customers and team member alike.

These kinds of predictive, preventive and personalized customer experiences set a new bar for the industry and help financial sector businesses serve their customers better, no matter what front end is being used.

So while much of the focus in the financial sector has been trained on dazzling front-end apps and systems recently, it’s the digitization of your back-end operations that unlocks the kind of customer value that transcends the competition and delivers a lasting competitive advantage. 

To find out how Persistent Systems can help you accelerate your digital transformation and maximize your customer experiences by streamlining your enabling operations, Learn more.