Your customer portal matters more to your customer attraction and retention strategy than you think.

As the world starts to move on from the effects of Covid, one thing remains clear – we are never going to go back to “the way things were” in the pre-pandemic financial services industry. There’s been a huge shift in how we need to engage and service customers, and the financial services industry is long overdue for an upgrade.

Take digital investment platforms for example. They saw a gap in the market to improve the accessibility and overall experience of investing. While many people regarded investors who utilised these types of digital platforms as those that were in it for fun, recent data proves otherwise. Up to 80% of these investors describe themselves as “buy and hold” investors, indicating they’re in it for the long haul.

These platforms took inspiration from the digital interfaces and experiences of Bigtech giants, such as Google and Amazon, and paved the way for a new style of investing. This new style places investors at the heart of each decision and utilises technology to deliver a seamless and intelligent experience.

This is the new standard, and providers must (at the very least) match these standards to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world. Failure to meet this could spell the beginning of the end for many of these firms given the growth and high customer satisfaction levels these platforms have accrued in such a short space.

So what’s the best way to hedge against digital platform encroachment? It’s simple. Financial service businesses need to start engaging and interacting with their clients more, particularly in the online world, where the population today spends a large amount of their time. The technology is readily available for companies to take advantage of and build a client-centric business. And one of the easiest ways to start addressing this is by implementing an enriching client portal.

Building a portal that excites, delights and educates investors

Emerging technology combined with animation and digital tools has completely reinvented the way that we present, consume and engage with data and technology. We’re starting to see a shift away from the data-heavy static displays in favour of interactive graphics that are akin to modern mobile apps.

I’ve put together a few key steps that I think are important when deciding on how you want your portal to look and function. These are the same steps we follow when guiding our clients at Invsta, and I’ve found them to be really helpful in nailing down a client portal “roadmap” of sorts for each client:

  1. To start, you need to understand the steps your customers take to complete certain goals. Let’s say that the goal you want them to achieve is for them to update their account details. Journey mapping is incredibly useful to plot out the route customers currently take, and gives you a framework to create an ideal-state future journey for this task.
  2. Identify where the bottlenecks or pain points are in each of these journeys. These could be from both the client and employees perspectives.
  3. Then work out whether these pain points are affecting the businesses resources – ie. is it having a direct cost or impact on the bottom line. This will help you to measure the resource-saving potential of any systems you are looking at implementing, as well as identify which issues will become a priority to address.
  4. Once you’ve worked out the above, you can then start to map out how you want each customer journey to look. This is an idealised vision that outlines a high-level journey for each task or process.
  5. Lastly, you can then do a comparison to see whether you will want to build your own platform or leverage a third-party fintech provider. Time to market, cost, capabilities, urgency and future optimisation plans can be used to evaluate which option is best for your company.

So what does a new-age, modern customer portal need to provide an engaging experience for customers? The biggest difference is that modern platforms present data and information in a really dynamic, digestible and easy-to-navigate manner, creating an effortless experience for investors.

Data and information transparency is a must-have for modern investors who are used to getting information at the click of a button. Not only does this transparency help to build brand trust and image, but it can also be a key tool in supporting customers to invest more. The old adage “knowledge is power” springs to mind, as enriching data and information can help to improve financial literacy levels, and in turn encourage investors to improve their financial wellbeing.

I’ve put together a list that shows how you can elevate your customer portal by switching up how information is presented:

Comparison of modern versus traditional platforms

Make sure that your portal is built on a solid base of intelligent technology. This will enable your business to seamlessly evolve and adapt in line with your clients and market changes. An API-driven platform is a great way to support digital innovation. This type of system flexibility allows you to add in new features and functionality to keep clients engaged throughout their investment journey with you.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your customer portal certainly won’t be either. It’s important to start somewhere, and then work out a phased approach of layering on more complex functionality as your company evolves on its digital journey. It’s important to seek out a technology partner that will help you to achieve your vision, and provide a flexible solution that scales with you as you grow.

For more advice on how to adopt a phased approach, read my article on building a tangible fintech roadmap for your financial service business.