May 31 2019

Digital Transformation Places Financial Services Customers First, Says Salesforce Guru

Banks and other financial institutions require a complete view of customer interactions to drive future development, Rohit Mahna advises.

Fifty-nine percent of customers embrace companies using AI to improve their experiences, according to findings of a 2018 survey by Salesforce Research, “State of the Connected Customer.” As a top example, customers overwhelmingly applauded AI-powered fraud detection for credit cards, with 46 percent saying they “love” it and another 40 percent saying they “like” it.

The case for AI is one small example of how financial services firms are embracing digital transformation, but it illustrates something very important to Salesforce Senior Vice President of Financial Services Rohit Mahna: Think about customers’ lifelong needs and the overall experience sought by the customer.

“When customers log onto Amazon, Amazon knows exactly what they should be buying because it built a great profile of them,” Mahna tells BizTech. “It's giving them the right recommendations. But ultimately, it's capturing all the interaction that you have with That's the thing that's important for financial institutions.”

Financial services firms must understand they will not achieve their transformation goals quickly. “To futureproof your strategy, make sure your platform is customer-first,” says Mahna, who likens digital transformation to a continuous journey.

Digital Transformation

Successful Financial Services Firms Seek Lifelong Customer Relationships

Capturing customer interactions in a single platform is incredibly helpful for financial institutions and other businesses seeking digital transformation, Mahna says. Digital transformation is not simply adopting an application in hopes that it provides a benefit, but rather transformation is a comprehensive strategy tied to overall goals.

Think less about the products that you have and more about how you can help someone from a financial wellness standpoint and help them across their entire financial employment,” Mahna says. In doing so, financial institutions have an unparalleled opportunity to build relationships with their customers.

“Make sure you've got a long-term goal — and maybe that long-term goal is to drive a unified financial services experience,” Mahna says. “We have been very foolish about developing strong long-term goals in the market. If unified financial services is the end state for a firm, it's the result of great transformation. But that doesn't happen overnight. Change is difficult. The best way to drive the change is to envision the journey of how you're going to get there.”

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Financial Firms Require a Complete View of Customer Interactions

With the appropriate customer relationship management platform, banks, for example, could capture all interactions with each customer, however the customer interfaces with the bank. Should a customer have a good experience or bad experience, an individual financial services representative should be able to see that in a unified system and act on that information. 

“If a banker in a branch helps a customer, that banker should know if that customer is on the website and checking out a mortgage. The banker needs to see if the customer is having a happy experience or an unhappy experience. If a customer calls the contact center, that contact center should know whether the customer is a happy client or unhappy client. It should be hyper-tailored to the customer,” Mahna says.

Today, Mahna sees a lot of credit unions leading financial services firms in the digital transformation journey. Due to their member-specific focus, credit unions develop strategies to provide member support

“It's about modernizing their technology staff but truly giving incredible experiences to their members. They've got a unique model where they provide service to members globally. So they think about it not only face to face but also digitally,” Mahna says. “We even see credit unions really embracing the notion of digital and what it means to be a digital bank to transform.”