December 11, 2020

Mind the Gap

Article

Always there & always dangerous

It’s no secret that gaps in the chain of information between customers, companies, and their own employees exist. They reveal themselves almost daily in interactions between customers and team members, between colleagues, and between organizations. It’s extremely important that these gaps aren’t merely covered over - lest they become chasms that customers and, ultimately, organizations fall into. 

The danger of falling in

Knowledge gaps, particularly as they relate to intricate and, at times, convoluted business processes (such as customer onboarding or complicated sales cycle) present the danger of causing people to get stuck in them. When crucial directives, steps, or parts of a process are overlooked, that process cannot be run properly. However, it’s not always apparent that this has happened in the moment it occurs. Sometimes (particularly as it relates to onboarding), those missed steps only reveal themselves when something doesn’t work down the line, after a customer is supposed to be fully operational. Then, it takes extra effort on the part of onboarding and support teams to figure out what went wrong, which step was missed, and how to reverse engineer a solution that will have the customer up and running. At this point, that  customer’s patience has been tested, their faith in the brand to deliver on their promises has diminished, and the wherewithal of the team members has been tested.

Particularly crucial in all of this is where an organization’s reputation comes on the line. With enough unsuccessful launches and less than ideal customer experiences, more doubt can be cast on that brand’s good name. Mistrust felt on the part of a customer engenders resentment that will ultimately result in churn, and fewer opportunities for new business in the future. 

Papering over the cracks 

When it comes to asymmetries of information between actors and organizations, surface level solutions don’t come close to the mark of resolving deep, underlying issues. These aren’t problems that can be automated away by a CRM platform with chat capabilities that entire teams can interface over. They are systemic blindspots that can plague any team at an organization, and this becomes especially evident when third parties involved - which is exactly the case in the payments industry. Hardware acquisition, software setup, hard-wiring, setting up business accounts, setting up merchant accounts, establishing e-commerce channels, and connecting to processors  - all of these are incredibly detailed processes where any number of things can go wrong, and they often involve multiple teams at disparate organizations. Simply providing internal chat widgets often doesn’t cut it.

It’s imperative that commercial banks recognize that these gaps exist, and realize that more robust tools are necessary in order to have a comprehensive view of where their customers stand in any process related to payments technology. Tools that surface insights not only about where a customer is, but where they should be, and what is actively preventing them from getting there. Only then will they be able to surmount a legitimate challenge to the fintechs that dominate the merchant processing space.