Why customer-first approach is key to build scalable fintech products

With a customer-centric approach at the core, fintech products can up financial inclusion, lower entry barriers, and democratise technology.
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Few sectors have transformed as rapidly as digital payments. No longer just a fragmented and transactional touch-point, the payment’s journey enables businesses to engage with customers, enhance their experience, and build long-term loyalty.

The last decade has been eventful as the digital payments ecosystem expanded with new solutions such as digital wallets, UPI, one-tap payments, automated payouts, as well as new frontier technologies like tokenisation and blockchain. This is a classic example of customer expectations driving new product breakthroughs, resulting in a virtuous cycle.

Consider the case of the subscription-based billing model. With the proliferation of OTT and music streaming sites, subscription payments have become popular among businesses and consumers alike as they are convenient, cost-effective, and customisable by nature.

The fintech sector has completely redefined customer experience by giving users trust, security, and productivity.

Innovation is key

A customer-first mindset sparks innovations. It is the guiding principle in creating successful fintech products at scale.

Refund latency, failures during transactions, or checkout issues are all myriad problems that a customer used to face in their online payments journey. Deep-dive studies reveal that merchants often bear the brunt of cart abandonment due to complex checkout flow, lack of payment options, and technical glitches.

Consequently, the payment ecosystem has been working cohesively to ensure frictionless payment experiences across all payment methods. By using innovations, such as One Click Payments, customers do not have to remember CVVs, OTPs, switch tabs or input the information to make a payment.

It is estimated that such innovations can make the payment process 1.5x faster. In a post-COVID environment, it has become imperative for businesses to invest in frictionless payment experiences because they help increase repeat purchases, average transaction value, and transaction success rates.

The customer-first approach also fosters high-growth product cultures.

In the end, the objective of product development isn't just to satisfy business needs, but to add value on a larger scale. To do this, it is essential to create an environment where product managers and engineers can deliver amazing results.

It has been observed that focused group studies, contextual interviews, and product surveys help identify pain points accurately, resulting in more targeted and effective product strategies.

By providing teams with the necessary level of trust, empowerment, and ownership, they are more likely to generate innovative ideas. The teams in strong product cultures are given real-life problems to solve, rather than just features to build. Additionally, they are empowered to solve those problems in the way that they see fit.

Ride with the customer

We are living in an age of digital disruption where customers are constantly evolving. Brands that do not change with the times and keep pace with customers run the risk of perishing.

COVID-19, a black swan event, has ushered in a tremendous change in how consumers use digital payments. Consumers are more inclined towards versatile, contactless payment solutions and the ability to pay anywhere, anytime, using any method.

Quite fittingly, merchants and payment service providers have responded to the emerging needs with omnichannel solutions. Many purchase decisions are made across various channels and they have extended to payment checkpoints as well.

Therefore, businesses are now implementing omnichannel payments across channels and devices to create a seamless, superior customer experience.

To meet diverse requirements, online-offline convergence in payments will open up new avenues for disruption.

There are several challenges to contend with while building successful fintech products.Some of these include, but not limited to, ensuring data security, compliance with government regulations, Big Data and AI capabilities, enhanced UX, etc.

The fintech sector is also highly susceptible to change, with new products and services emerging continually to meet ever-changing needs. To stay ahead of the curve and weather disruptions, customer-centricity remains the firm anchor.

With this approach at the core, fintech products can boost financial inclusion, lower entry barriers, and democratise technology across the nation. The more you empower customers, the more you enable businesses.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)