Winning in the Boardroom of CFI Clients
Understanding the 4 stages of the software adoption lifecycle and each of their challenges.
As with all products, there is an adoption lifecycle for fintech software products. Heads of Product as well as technical and business leaders at fintech software companies understand that creating and delivering a stellar customer experience is a critical source of competitive differentiation, helping to close more deals, increase adoption and customer success, and drive customer growth and retention. For a fintech, this includes not just your customers, but your customers’ customers as well. That’s a lot of customer success to be responsible for — and a lot of potential for growth, when done correctly.
How your CX May Be Holding You Back
Digital CX excellence is becoming a key competitive differentiator. But significant challenges are just as prevalent as the recognized market need for great CX. Here’s how your CX could be holding you back from growth at the various stages of the fintech software product adoption lifecycle.
Go To Market Challenges
Whether you’re an established company with a new product on offer or a start-up still seeking to hone in on your product-market fit, you have a compelling, pre-revenue product and your focus is set on making those sales. But significant challenges to your growth are just as prevalent as the recognized market need for great CX.
You may be just barely in the market, with little to no adoption of an immature product and plenty of speed bumps along the way. Whether startup or established, the sales environment amongst fintech software providers is highly competitive — making the need for more advanced digital CX even more salient. You know that digital CX excellence is becoming a key competitive differentiator — but a lack of third party analysis and validation of best practices may be causing blindspots. If it weren’t for those blindspots, those speed bumps would be much less bumpy, and adoption rates could rise. If you’re struggling to increase sales, try taking a look at the internal biases and competing interests at play within your company. It happens all the time — we get too close to our own projects to see the full picture. At this stage, you may benefit greatly from bringing in an experienced, impartial outside perspective — which may also help you align your team’s vision like never before.
Achieve Traction Challenges
So, you’re still fairly new to the market, and while you’ve made some sales, they’re by no means flowing predictably yet. Here, you’re still working out your product-market fit, and while you could be great, you haven’t nailed just what it is you want to be the greatest at yet. You are highly aware of the need for digital CX excellence, but the truth is, you may still be working out some basic capabilities at this stage.
Your capabilities challenges may include a lack of integrations with other fintech products and legacy systems via ecosystem partnerships, or core integrations. You may also be limited in terms of customization and configurability — and you know that the CX personalization bar is constantly being raised. Do you truly, deeply understand the process by which your customer acquires value from your product? Perhaps your internal digital CX expertise is limited, or you may lack the time and resources to fully assess where you stand in the market. While you’ve done well enough filling in the gaps up until this point, you know your conversion, acquisition, and retention numbers could all look much better with a more focused approach. At this stage, you may benefit from obtaining an objective perspective on how your product compares to others on the market. This perspective should utilize a clear methodology, and the assessment should include actionable insights on why your customers choose to buy one fintech product over the other.
Accelerate Adoption Challenges
You’ve found your product-market fit. You’ve seen consistency in sales. You know your product is gold — but you are keenly aware of the constant race to beat your competitors and retain market share. Your product has its limitations — but now you simply can’t bring in all the talent you need fast enough, or deliver fast enough, to capture all the opportunities you see.
Here, more than before, your challenge lies in being the one who raises the CX bar of excellence for the rest of the pack. To be the competitor, you need to move quickly — but not so quickly that you risk design debt. You need to give your internal designers more capacity to think deeply about the CX of your product — more holistically, and at a higher level — rather than remaining solely focused on design QA and compliance. This thoughtful approach is what’s needed to raise the bar. But it also risks missing revenue targets, producing high labor costs, and without objectivity, a lack of competitive differentiation. Not to mention, the product still has to perform. You don’t have to go it alone — at this stage, you can benefit greatly from increasing your team’s capacity by bringing on outside fintech CX specialists — saving valuable time and skipping the endless domain knowledge walkthroughs. By choosing a trustworthy partner, you’ll be prepared to scale without taking on design debt.
Transform / Modernize Challenges
At this stage, your fintech is considered an established company with a solid product-market fit. You are beating out the competition — but this comes at the detriment of the very product that put you here in the first place. Here, you are intimately familiar with the challenges of technical and design debt, having implemented patches and quick fixes as needed to get the product and acquisitions to market. It happens.
You may also be at the point in which your fintech product is considered a legacy product — and if that’s the case, you know that the digital CX leaves something to be desired. Like the previous stages, you’re very aware of the drive towards personalization and customization, but often limited in terms of how readily you can reconfigure the product to fit. The challenge also lies in the complexity of relationships — all those integrations with other fintech products and legacy systems via M&A, ecosystem partnerships, or core integrations — and in an extremely finite amount of skilled implementation partners. In short? You need to be able to make a transformative CX upgrade and increase your design capacity to get your competitive features to market quickly. That’s a tall order. But here’s why it’s essential — decay.
Much like other life cycles, the software adoption lifecycle has its own seasons of decay. For older fintechs, this includes a declining trend in sales and customer retention, outdated applications, as well as ever-mounting technical and design debt. Fintechs who are in this critical stage know the time to invest in rapid transformation is at hand — or death is inevitable.
At this stage, fintechs may even need to reimagine their entire product experience to be more consistent with current standards and regulations. Accessibility may be an issue. Full mobile support may need to be prioritized. Poorly performing systems that lack speed, availability, stability and scalability dramatically impact conversion rates, drop rates, support load, and customer satisfaction. On top of which, all the challenges the previous three stages have faced may come down to bear upon the decaying fintech at once. Band aid solutions will simply no longer suffice. Your future is at risk -it’s time to transform. To do so, you’ll need an external perspective to help direct alignment with your team around how to get unstuck. This will enable you to either take control of your legacy product before it starts declining — or to reimagine the entire experience and modernize your product.
A Holistic Approach to CX Challenges — No Matter The Stage
Rather than tackling any singular CX challenge head on, innovative fintech leaders are looking at CX in a far more holistic way by addressing:
- The core product CX
- Customizations that support personalized CX and FI brand support
- Understanding and addressing how both FIs and consumers use and engage with the product
- CX as a function of system performance, stability and scalability across the entire ecosystem
- Alignment between internal business and technical stakeholders
- How to identify and track key metrics for CX success
With many competing internal voices — who are often far too close to the problem to see it clearly– engaging with an impartial, outside perspective can add valuable outside insight that is clear and three-dimensional. This insight should include actionable input from your customers to ensure that your view is clear, holistic, and positions your company for a transformation that is aligned with the changing needs of the market.
Praxent is an expert in software design and development with deep fintech domain knowledge. If you’re at the crossroads of transformation, we can help with a high-level assessment of your CX and prioritized recommendations to transform your product’s CX.