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Article 4 min read

How to win four years of expected digital growth in just two months

By Alicia Campbell, Senior AE, Financial Services

Last updated March 29, 2022

Despite the pandemic, predictions that the money-transfer sector would suffer massively were exaggerated. With far fewer people moving around the world, there were only 1.6% fewer remittances in 2020 than in 2019, at $540 billion. By 2030, the global remittances market is expected to be worth a staggering $1,227.22 billion.

While the market is growing healthily, that doesn’t mean incumbents can relax. The traditional money-transfer players are facing heavy competition from the growing fintech and digital payments sectors.

In 2020, digital remittances were valued at $277 billion. This figure is expected to surge to $387 billion by 2023—by which time more cross-border payments will be sent digitally than by traditional means.

In this expanding and increasingly competitive market for cross-border money transfer, how can the incumbents in the remittances sector keep their edge? By concentrating on convenience, speed, and customer experience.

Competition from digital payment apps

One of the big developments of the last two years has been the growth of online remittances. Faced with the closure of their brick-and-mortar locations, the established money-transfer players had to encourage their customers to follow them online, or risk losing out to the rising fintech and finserv sectors.

The good news for the incumbents is that, as we have seen, they succeeded. The less-welcome reality is that this rapid success often comes at a cost. The need to go digital quickly meant that companies didn’t have the time to concentrate on building a premium customer experience.

This leaves them vulnerable. Because they aren’t the only players in the market. For instance, the global digital payments sector—the operators of mobile wallets and e-wallets—is also experiencing fast growth. It’s already worth $88 billion, and it’s expected to grow at a rate of 15% a year until at least 2026.

These payment apps are digitally native, designed with the customer experience and ease of use in mind. Many of them provide the ability to make peer-to-peer payments, otherwise known as remittances.

To ensure brand loyalty, the established players must pay more attention to their customers—stat.

Digital remittances and the customer experience

What do we mean by customer experience? In the context of money transfers, it has three elements. The first is the functioning of the back-end. Is your infrastructure flexible and scalable enough to cope with wildly fluctuating consumer expectations? Can you meet the low latency, low lag, and other requirements needed to create a smooth, hassle-free experience—even at peak demand?

The second element is how well the front-end works. Is the customer journey intuitive? Can the user find the options and information they need efficiently? Are all consumer-facing messages written in plain language and easy to understand? Is the interface properly responsive and adaptable to different screen sizes?

Finally, there’s customer support. If the user has a question—particularly one that is time-sensitive and related to a specific transaction—can they get help fast enough? Are there options that allow customers to self-serve, if that’s what they want to do and is that the fastest way to achieve their goals?

How to deliver an outstanding customer experience

For clients in the money-transfer sector, Zendesk delivers the technology required to enable a seamless and trouble-free verification process. Using AI and automation, Zendesk captures key customer context and provides intelligent self-service options to help consumers get the information they need quickly—from the point of authentication onwards. From a financial standpoint, investing in AI and automation capabilities can be expensive. That’s why companies must be flexible enough to leverage AI when possible, all the while being able to hand over to an agent when necessary.

Say a user wants to know if their account was created properly, if they got the right exchange rate, or, most importantly, if their mum received the money. Answering these questions promptly—and accurately—can be the difference between retaining or losing a customer.

With a solution like Zendesk, it is possible to activate self-service technologies—such as AI-powered chatbots—that can answer common customer questions and resolve basic issues.

Only customers with complex problems, those that cannot be solved by self-service, will be passed along to a human support agent. When this happens, the self-service technology transfers all the customer information it captured to the live agent. With this helpful context, the agent can offer more personalised support and find a solution faster. All the customer data is stored in the back-end, too, which means it can be accessed and shared across teams. In this sense, Zendesk also facilitates collaboration between individuals within customer support and different departments.

This data isn’t inert, either. The platform analyses it to generate detailed reports, providing you with vital insights into why customers contact support, which parts of the journey and which touchpoints generate the most queries, and what you can do to improve the overall experience.

With the right approach, the right technology, and the right partners, money-transfer services can deliver a world-class customer experience—one that exceeds the best that fintech and finserv sectors have to offer.

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