How to Keep Up With Constantly Changing Customer Expectations and Behavior

Fifty years ago, people expected to pay with cash more often than not when they went to purchase a product or service. Nowadays, the world of payment is entirely different. Because we have the internet at our beck and call at all hours of the day from numerous different types of devices, whether they are handheld or desktop devices, people’s expectations have skyrocketed of companies both large and small.

This new found sense of urgency in gaining information and completing previously complex tasks in seconds from anywhere in the world has proven to improve business’ abilities to meet customer needs in new and profitable ways. On the contrary, this has also costed some companies their competitive edge. Because people have a much smaller tolerance for delayed gratification, it is only getting harder for companies, particularly smaller companies, to stay relevant. Customers, although well meaning, demand access to a company’s products and services now, not later.

Because technology has overwhelmingly made conducting business easier than in previous years, companies now have the ability to save a fortune on business expenses. This, however, only remains true for companies who stay up to date with all the latest technology and trends that customers adhere to. This disclaimer is absolutely essential for companies to understand. If businesses do improve their use of technology, but do not stay competitive in their use of FinTech, then their efforts may prove to be pointless and detrimental financially.

So, what does a company do in light of these ever-changing customer expectations, demands, and behaviors?

Conduct an Internal Audit

To start, a company should conduct an internal audit. They should ask themselves the following questions to complete this audit:

  • What technology do we use to conduct business right now?
  • Why do we use the technology we use?
  • How do we use the technology we use?
  • Are there any possible ways we could use technology to (1) save us money, (2) automate processes, or (3) earn us money?
  • How do our customers like to pay for our products and services?
  • Could we potentially use technology to make the payment process and customer experience more pleasant for customers?

Answering these questions may take having meetings with the company or select business partners. This process can take time. That is why the sooner you can conduct this audit, the better. Once you have an answer to each of these questions, it is time focus on research. Having answers to these questions will automatically and vastly trim down the amount of research you need to do to stay up to date with your customers expectations and behaviors.

Implement Regular and Good Study Habits

The three main things you can do to stay abreast with the latest technological advancements that are particularly related to your industry are through (1) reading, reading, and more reading, (2) networking with other business owners, and (3) keeping a technologically savvy friend close.

If you have done all the things I discussed in this blog, then you are well on your way meeting and exceeding your customers’ changing expectations and behaviors.

The FinTech App Revolution

One extraordinary development in the world of FinTech over the past ten years has been the rise of the smartphone and the rise of finance apps with it. Today, millions of transactions occur via apps: Amazon purchases, bank deposits and withdrawals, Bitcoin transactions, Litecoin transaction, stock purchases and sales, money transfers, and more. For those like myself who were around before the FinTech app revolution, this change in the way that people handle finances is astounding. Yet, at the same time, these changes are becoming more and more ingrained in the way that people conduct business. Below is a brief survey of finance apps out there:

Stocks and Investing

Credited for bringing a large number of young investors into the world of stocks, Robinhood’s low barrier of entry and simple interface makes buying stocks easy. In the realm of social media, StockTwits provides a place for experts and neophytes alike to share their thoughts on stocks, bonds, and other market happenings. Further lowering the barrier of entry are a number of apps that do investing for you. These include Acorns, which uses the spare change from debit card transaction for micro-investments, Loyal3, which makes investing in companies you love easy and accessible, and Wealthfront, which will automatically invest a minimum deposit of $500 for free (as long as the balance is under $10,000). And that’s just barely scratching the surface.

Money Transfer

First and foremost, there’s the app that’s so pervasive that it’s achieved the Google-level status of becoming a verb. Venmo me. With no transaction fee on debit cards and bank account transfers, Venmo has become the go-to app for transferring payments from person to person. Long before Venmo, there was PayPal. While PayPal might not be as popular among peer-to-peer transactions, one place where it has retained it’s glory is in the commercial sphere. Whether shopping online (or even at some restaurants), PayPal is the trusted medium of exchange. Then of course, there’s mobile banking. Nearly every large bank in North America (and some smaller banks), boast mobile banking apps, which make transferring money from person-to-person instantaneous. And that’s only the least of it.

Budgeting

Meanwhile, there are a slew of budgeting apps out there to help people save and spend more wisely. Goodbudget, Wally, and Mint are some of the biggest heavy hitters in the budgeting sphere. All three of the apps boast expense-tracking features which translate into spending and saving tips. Of the three, Mint is often viewed as being the most comprehensive–tackling everyday expenses, but also credit cards, student loans and retirement savings.

So with that quick sound-off, the question is, what are some of your favorite finance apps?

Technology is Changing how we Handle Money

Taking care of one’s finances is usually thought of as something that can only be done by those who have extensive about handling money. Perhaps the idea of finances is more accessible to finance gurus, or people who have taken accounting classes. Younger generations grow up to find the broad idea of ‘personal finance’ looming over their heads, without the slightest idea of how to start handling their money.

Technology is changing this around.

With the advancement of financial technology in general, younger people are being included in the ranks of those who look after their spending and savings. This is a concept that has come to be known as financial inclusion, and it is revolutionizing how money is being tracked. Financial technology in recent years has been striving to make financial security more of a democratic process. It wants to cut down on the number of people who feel helpless in their spending.

The four subsets of this new category of financial inclusion are payment, credit, insurance, and investment, as reports Business Today. Payment is a no-brainer. People need to be able to pay bills, pay for products, and pay each other. This used to be done with physical cash or checks. Financial technology has made it so that money can be transferred from one person to another without them having to physically meet. Mobile wallets exist now, and the question of if physical cash needs to exist at all is becoming increasingly prevalent. If money can be transferred from one account to another instantly, is carrying around cash at all necessary?

Credit is a slightly more difficult concept to grasp, simply because it is not yet available to everyone. Financial institutions need to have a record of transactions to get credit information, but not all financial transactions are connected directly to such institutions. This is why there has been a demand for a universal credit platform, in which all transaction history of an individual is saved and readily available. The credit sector of financial inclusion still needs more work, but it is getting there.

Insurance and investments in a similar fashion have been completely changed by digital smartphone applications. Applications have been, and will be further, making insurance-buying and investing much more convenient for everyone with access to the technology.
Companies leading the financial technology revolution are aware that the digital handling of money has to be easy and reliable. They are still working to make the entire financial industry digital. It will be exciting to see where this technology takes us in years to come.