Why a Portal isn't Enough: The Importance of Digital Journeys

Associate Kamile Survilaite spoke to Aurora’s CTSO Matthew Benham to explore why end-to-end digital journeys should contain portals, but why portals don’t necessarily make a digital journey.

Key takeaways:

  • A portal in isolation usually serves the needs of the bank, not the customer
  • Many financial institutions provide a digital start point, but not and end point, leading to a poor customer experience
  • Portals should be part of a wider technology landscape that enables a digital journey
  • Digital journeys require seamless, rapid processes with clear expectations set from the start
  • Meeting modern customer expectations demands seamless digital journeys

"Just having a portal does not make for a good digital journey."

Digital journeys span the front-to-back customer experience. They aim to deliver on customer expectations of fast, self-service experiences that can be completed in a single, automated process. However, just having a portal does not make for a good digital journey. Digital journeys are completed with clear expectations set from the start, with the customer accessing a web or mobile application to select what they want to do and provide the necessary data and documentation. From the customer's point of view, a digital journey is a rapid process that should be completed within hours, not days or weeks.

Financial service providers, as well as other providers, often have a digital start point, but not a digital end point, which leads to the customer experience falling off a cliff. The customer assumes they are plugging directly into a machine that can make a decision, but instead, they are transferred to a back-office team who pose a series of requests and questions to the client, leading to delays in service delivery. It’s not good enough to simply have a digital capture point. For a digital journey to be successful, it must be something that feels modern, fast, and self-service.

Portals are part of the technology landscape that enables digital journeys. An organisation may have multiple portals within a journey or a single portal for multiple journeys, allowing customers to self-serve by entering details and uploading documents, for example. However, a portal alone does not deliver a seamless, rapid customer experience. For this, it must be connected to a digital backend that interacts with other internal systems and teams.

Portals often solve the problem from the bank’s point of view by collecting and structuring the data and documents they receive, but they don’t solve the customer's problem. A customer entering a journey via a portal expects the journey to be faster, more modern, and digital from front to back, but this is not always the case. If the portal is inaccessible, difficult to use, or not user-friendly, it can make the customer experience worse. Just having a portal doesn’t necessarily improve their interaction with the bank; it must be a part of a broader digital journey that feels connected, automated, and synchronised throughout.

Monzo is a great example of what good looks like, where the user provides the information requested, takes a selfie, and submits the application in the app. The user is then notified that the application is being processed and given a clear, reliable timeline to completion. Whether its 2 hours or 2 days, the bank should set expectations, otherwise the customer feels like all they’ve done is fill in an online application form.

It's organisations such as Monzo that have driven the change in customer expectations we see in the modern world. Everyone now has mobile banking and experience other digital journeys, such as online shopping, streaming videos and music, or interacting with government bodies via apps. As a result, expectations are much higher than they once were. This is why organisations must focus on delivering seamless digital journeys from start to finish, rather than just a portal at the very start of the journey.