The “last mile” is a ubiquitous term that originated in the telecommunications industry to represent the final leg of delivering service to a customer. Most of the time it referred to installing copper wire that connected the local telephone exchange to individual landlines.
More recently, the term represents what can be the final and most challenging part of a consumer interaction. Generally, it’s the point at which a broad consumer service interacts with an individual customer to deliver a personalized experience.
In banking, this is most often in the form of digital documents created to meet the exact specifications and compliance requirements of an individual transaction that allow a loan or deposit to be booked.
The last mile concept is changing the way financial institutions approach their digital strategy. Previously, many banks focused on digital services to a broad customer base that allowed end users to access account information, pay bills and transfer funds. Lesser in the strategy was the ability to originate a loan or deposit transaction through a digital channel, and even less likely to be contemplated was the customer experience while documenting and booking these types of transactions.
Often, what would begin as a digital experience through a mobile device, tablet or PC would quickly revert to a less accessible process that concluded with a customer coming to a branch to manually sign an agreement.
Banks today are recognizing that a shift in their digital strategy is required. Increasingly, institutions are reshaping their digital presence to focus on the “last mile” – the hardest part of the customer journey that requires an individualized experience. Building a foundation focused on this critical customer touchpoint requires banks to deploy technology that documents, in a fully compliant manner, consumer and commercial loan and deposit transactions while at the same time supporting a fully digital customer experience.
In seeking fintech partners that can support this digital strategy shift, institutions are identifying essential attributes and capabilities to enable effective execution:
- Integrated Capabilities: Disparate systems require data to be imported and exported to avoid data conflict. A single system of record, integrated with digital document capabilities and a two-way data flow, supports data integrity while eliminating the need to access separate solutions.
- In-house Compliance Expertise: Documenting transactions in a compliant manner is essential. State and federal mandates change frequently. In-house compliance expertise supported by unique research capabilities ensures the documented words are accurate and up to date.
- Electronic Closing Enabled: The ability to leverage technology from origination to customer signature without deploying manual workarounds or static forms.
- Reinvestment in Technology: Digital capabilities continue to evolve. Gone are the days of generic templates and static documents. A partner that’s focused on both current and future capabilities ensures an institution isn’t left behind the times.
As your bank begins to formulate a digital strategy or if you’re revising your existing strategy, ask yourself if you’ve contemplated the “last mile.” If not, focus on this part of the customer interaction first to deliver a comprehensive, compliant, and digitally enabled experience.