28 January 2018

Tech investment driven by changing customer needs


Things move quickly in the tech world, and it’s easy to get caught up in investing in technology you (and your clients or customers) – don’t necessarily need.

Luckily, the banking sector has generally managed to avoid this trap. Leading the charge in customer driven innovation is Westpac with the development of ‘Alexa’, an Amazon integration taking full advantage of cutting-edge, easy to use, voice activated technology.

From February 2018, customers with an Alexa-enabled device will be able to ask the assistant a range of financial questions, including their current credit card and bank balances.

According to George Frazis, Chief Executive, Consumer Bank at Westpac, the technology has been developed in response to customer demands for “a seamless banking experience that fits with their needs and complements their lifestyles” and takes advantage of “voice-activated technologies in an increasingly mobile world”.

Westpac customers using an iPhone will also be able to make payments, generate cardless cash codes and share BSB and account details via the new Westpac for iMessage. For the team at Westpac, developing the technology was a no-brainer as it “makes sense to pair texting and banking together” as “these services are an everyday part of Australians’ lives”.

Determined not to be left behind in the innovation/customer satisfaction stakes is energy supplier AGL.

Part of an industry that’s traditionally lagged behind the banking industry in the adoption of customer focused tech, they’ve recently announced a $300 million, three-year investment in digital transformation.

Focused on giving customers a voice within the organisation, the aim is to enhance customer interactions, covering everything from getting a meter reading to moving house, while providing more control over energy use and spending.

According to recently appointed Chief Customer Officer, Melissa Reynolds, “Customers in the energy sector have largely been left behind while other sectors have moved on”. Having seen the investment financial services have made in digital solutions for customers, she sees “a real opportunity” to do likewise in the energy sector.

Although the fine details of the investment aren’t yet clear, the majority of the $300 million will go towards introducing the technology and capability to provide customers with more understanding of, and control over, energy use. This includes improving the functionality of the AGL mobile app and website and encouraging customers to embrace digital interactions.

According to Reynolds, “Part of what we are also trying to achieve is greater productivity for AGL by driving unproductive costs out of our contact centres so our customers can spend more value-adding time on sales and service and retention”. And with a doubling of the use of the mobile app in the last 12 months, it seems their new focus is well founded.

In the legaltech world, we’re similarly focused on developing tech that meets established and emerging client needs.

Whether it’s AI, advanced legal analytics or platforms for project, matter or spend management, we’re focused on providing real world, positive user experiences and outcomes, rather than developing for development’s sake.

In 2018 more and more organisations are embarking on digital transformation strategies and legal departments across the board are leading the charge. Large scale software providers are not the answer, but with the next generation of enterprise legal technology transforming the ways legal teams work, engage and evolve, delivering on this strategy is easier than ever.

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