Layer Helps Financial Services Companies Engage with Digital Customers

It was just a few months ago that the Layer team attended FinovateSpring. We loved how the format of the event let us reach the 1,200+ audience of directors and VPs of large financial institutions.

That’s why we went back for FinovateFall 2017 in New York just a few weeks ago. Just like in April, we had the opportunity to get up in front of the audience and explain how Layer can help financial services companies engage with customers in the mobile era.

But beyond the two days of on-stage company pitches, FinovateFall includes two more days of thought leadership sessions.

Now that we’re home from FinovateFall, I can look back and think about my key takeaways from both the thought leadership sessions and feedback for our on-stage pitch for the Layer Customer Conversation Platform. Here are some of my thoughts.

3 Big Topics from FinovateFall 2017

Whether the Layer team was connecting with financial services decision makers or just listening to the thought leadership sessions, one thing was clear—the industry is ready to make significant changes to adapt to a mobile-first world.

There were three major themes we kept hearing about over the four-day event.

  1. Messaging to Leverage Artificial Intelligence

One thing that got plenty of attention was Betterment CEO John Stein’s discussion about the move to messaging. Everyone was talking about artificial intelligence, but it seemed that no one had an answer for actually deploying it.

But when financial services firms adopt messaging as a way to have conversations with customers, they get the perfect medium for deploying AI capabilities like chatbots and intelligent product suggestions. This is a big part of the Layer story and we were happy to explain how our platform helps leverage AI.

  1. The Push for Personalization

Banks and other financial services companies know they need to treat customers as individuals. The only problem is moving from a high-level understanding that personalization is necessary and actually executing.

The general rule is that once a business banking client has bought into 5 products, their lifetime value increases exponentially. But no matter how personalized the sales process is, it takes time to get 5 products into an account.

This is why it’s so important for personalization to be rooted in a long-term customer relationship. You can make appropriate suggestions in the right context without coming across as intrusive. Deploying a messaging strategy with Layer is a great way for these banks to build valuable customer relationships.

  1. Mobile Communication Without the Security Risks

The Equifax breach of 143 million individual accounts was a major discussion throughout the event. When you’re trying to push mobile messaging in that context, it’s understandable that people will ask about the security risks.

One thing they always ask is, “how is mobile messaging through Layer different from SMS?”

There are plenty of financial advisors that are already having conversations with customers over SMS. Smaller financial firms may be able to assume the security risks of SMS, but it’s a scary proposition for larger institutions. With native in-app messaging through Layer, banks can control security and compliance with full customer conversation histories without sacrificing engagement.

Key Feedback from the Layer On-Stage Pitch

When we presented Layer at FinovateSpring, we came away with 4 aspects of the platform that were resonating most with the audience. Now that the platform features are out there, the feedback we received at FinovateFall focused on the potential use cases for Layer.

These were the two ways that people seemed most excited to use the Customer Conversation Platform:

  • Financial Advisors/Business Bankers: People who have direct relationships with clients might manage 500 or even 1,000 customers must adapt to mobile. To meet the mobile user’s demands, banks need to scale their abilities, have more touch points with clients, and make themselves more available. Email is too slow and phone calls are unwanted. Using Layer to embrace messaging is a great way to sell more products and engage with individual accounts.
  • Onboarding Loans and Credit Cards: Consumers do almost all of their loan and credit card research on their phones now. But when it comes time to apply, most big banks have poor mobile/web experiences. You have to go to the desktop experience or make a phone call to an agent or IVR system that puts too much friction in the process. With Layer-powered messaging experiences, banks will be able to close these loops directly in the conversation.

If you want a better idea of how the on-boarding process might work with Layer, check out this video demo:

Layer Loan On-boarding Example from Layer on Vimeo.

After another successful Finnovate conference, we’re more excited than ever about our potential to help the financial services industry engage with customers. If you want to learn more about how we might fit with your specific needs, contact us today to learn more about the Layer Customer Conversation Platform.