Financing is at the forefront of today’s digital society, and there is a high expectation for lenders to adapt in a “self-serve capacity,” Steve Taplin, global digital lead of Alfa Systems, told Auto Finance Excellence.
There are five main aspects that drive the traditional business model towards digitalization: competition, cost efficiency, customer behavior and demand, regulation, and fintechs. However, companies simply can’t, “put a website out there and think that’s your strategy,” Taplin said.
Digitalizing lending practices is a big task that lenders should not tackle alone. But first, it’s vital to understand the beginning steps that are necessary to develop and fully embrace digitalization to keep a business growing. Taplin identifies those steps in three main points.
Recognize the Challenge
First and foremost, it’s important for a business to recognize the problems it faces when developing a digital strategy, then determine its customer demand.
“Consider what the current state is and the responsibility of personnel to respond to the challenges,” Taplin advises. “Analyze your business process and where the friction points are for a customer, and try to minimize or eradicate them.”
Most finance companies — 98% — understand the need for digitalization and that there are challenges behind it, according to a whitepaper by Taplin. While digital gateway systems attempt to push companies toward innovation, large-scale lenders may proceed with caution as they may be uncertain how to make progress and move forward.
In fact, identifying the best way to proceed is difficult, especially with the emergence of a lot of new technology companies.
“Many technologies are very new, only two or three years old,” Taplin warned. “They might not have the skills to help an organization deliver.”
With so many options to choose from, comes a healthy amount of skepticism. It makes it even more important for lenders to understand what it is they want to achieve.
Deliver On The Promise
Digital solutions in lending are more than moving back-office processes online — it’s about adapting to customer needs, Taplin notes.
Lenders should strive to “open up original ways of operating, selling, and improving, including providing a compelling experience that encourages customer loyalty.”
But, only 16% of companies have created a fully digital business, establishing a digital ecosystem that connects internal and external processes and suppliers, according to Alfa Systems.
“Chances are they have multiple systems that aren’t talking with each other or in the same way,” Taplin said. “Once they are able to get this common access layer across all their business, that’s when they will be able to radically deliver solutions on top of it.”
Keep it Personal
Once a plan of action is established, the process may lose a bit of its former personal touch.
According to Taplin, chances are businesses will experience different types of customers, but despite the demand to go through processes all online, staying personable is relevant. Lenders may want to observe their own customer to better understand the reason customers are responding the way they are. Taplin first suggests the ability to request a call back as one technique to keep it personal, especially since it initiates the process through digital, but still enables customers to interact at their own convenience.
Another option is to incorporate human chat boxes and user surveys, which could be “mutually convenient” for both your business and customers, Taplin said.
Ultimately, digitalization should serve as a “win win” for every party involved in the lending process. Adapting digital processes to your company’s business model will enhance, “operation and customer service efficiency,” Taplin said. “Seek advice and recruit outside sources.”Like This Post