Credit Intelligence COO Will Banks talks about customer experience and loyalty as the keys to success in the post-COVID digital world.

Long before COVID-19, the customer experience provided by companies through their digital offerings was already a pivotal point of differentiation.

Although the “customer is always right” slogan still holds true, the pandemic has accelerated contactless commerce, and increased the focus on technology as a way to deliver the best customer experience.

And that’s especially true for companies that ordinarily do business face to face, like Credit Intelligence (ASX:CI1).

Speaking directly with Stockhead, CI1 COO, Will Banks, said the pandemic has changed customers’ behaviour,  which resulted in greater customer expectations.

“The COVID-19 has had an immediate impact particularly on the customer journey, and how customers interact with businesses”, Banks told Stockhead.

This rapid change has also resulted in a digital landscape that ’s extremely competitive, which has forced companies to adapt and focus on their digital experience offering.

“My view is that digital innovation really can be the difference between a successful business, and one that falls behind competitors and can essentially be wiped out,” Banks said.

Listening to the customers

Banks believes the digital experience goes hand-in-hand with customer loyalty, which in turn is all about listening to what the customers want.

He cited the experiences of two companies, Blackberry and the now-defunct Blockbuster Videos, which failed to engage in digital innovation and eventually alienated their own customers.

Nurturing customers and taking a long-term view are therefore key ingredients that will create a sustainable long term revenue stream, according to Banks.

So how does CI1 stack up against competitors with regards to customer loyalty?

Banks said CI1’s approach to retaining digital loyalty from its customers falls around personalisation.

“We model what customers are expecting, and this drives our marketing, sales and leads as well as customer acquisition.”

By getting to know its customers better, Banks said his company is able to give people what they want.

He points to the upcoming launch of the company’s Chapter Two app, which gives clients a holistic view of their debt position, and how they’re paying down debt on a month by month basis.

This personalisation helps the client to see their financial situation from a top level, and helps them not only from a psychological perspective, but potentially also from going into bankruptcy.

This same principle has also been applied to CI1’s lending ecosystem platform, Yozo, where customer personalisation was designed to become a big part of the platform.

“For Yozo, we’re taking that to the next level where we’re looking at the client’s financial wellbeing, and how that’s changing over time, instead of just focusing on the offering,” Banks said.

CI1’s goal, Banks said, is to make the customer feel special, which in the long term will create a long-term relationship and loyalty.

However, Banks acknowledged that digitisation and customer experience are limited by the regulatory landscape the business is operating in.

He points to CI1’s personal and SME lending business in Singapore, ICS and HHC, which has received a significant amount of technology investment.

In Singapore, there has to be a face to face assessment and a physical signature in every loan transaction.

“Whilst you can completely automate the whole of the lending experience on a loan, for example in Australia, you can’t do that in Singapore and that limits the amount of digitisation you can do,” he said.

Inconvenience vs security

Part of the customer’s digital experience, according to Banks, also revolves around security and privacy, and how far customers are willing to put up with the inconvenience associated with it.

Most people would accept to wait a bit longer for emails to be scanned or for password renewals, as they understand these are necessary for the protection of their data.

But when they can’t see the benefit, that’s when they consider it to be inconvenient, Bank says.

The challenge then, he said, is how to balance improving security solutions with methods that are seamless for the user.

He gave the example of the fingerprint security technology on our mobile phones, which offers minimal inconvenience yet improved security for users.

“This is something that we’re always looking at in terms of onboarding and retaining customers, but at the same time ensuring that their digital security is paramount,” he said.

Banks acknowledged that CI1 is always looking at ways to automate and streamline its customer onboarding experience on a massive scale.

And scaling indeed has been his main focus since joining the company this year.

Banks told Stockhead that his current focus is to build out and expand CI1’s Australian operations.

He also has plans to expand the business globally once certain milestones have been reached.

“My focus is to drive the business forward and turn it from a smaller sized business to thinking as a business with a big attitude, so to speak,” Banks said.

“Once we put on these big boots, then we’ve got plenty of space that we can grow in.”

This article was developed in collaboration with Credit Intelligence, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.