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Financial IT Sibos interview with Janice Diner CEO and Founder of Horizn

Financial IT: Can you tell us a little about Horizn?

Janice Diner: Horizn helps financial institutions get ready for the digital customer in an environment where digital transformation and the rapid launch of innovation are the norms. The award-winning SaaS platform focuses on equipping both frontline employees and customers directly with the knowledge needed to improve the customer experience and dramatically increasing digital adoption across all channels.

Horizn’s proprietary technology combines a simulator micro-learning methodology with gamified principles and advanced analytics. Horizn helps banks distribute product knowledge to employees, digital ambassadors, with customers in-branch (hip-to-hip), in call centres, directly to customers online (through websites), and in marketing activities.

Financial IT: Can you define digital adoption in banking?

Janice Diner: As financial institutions become increasingly more digital and are pushing innovation, the race to increase digital adoption and improve the customer experience has revved-up. While speed to market remains critical, achieving digital and mobile adoption with customers is setting the leading financial institutions apart. Although simple in theory, most banks are not yet aligned to manage the volume, cadence or depth of knowledge required to support its digital transformation. ‘Build it, and they will come’ has proven to be a myth across digital capabilities. Our experience also suggests that senior-level commitment is essential, as it signals to the organization that becoming a digital bank is not a side-of-the-desk or middle management activity.

Digital adoption in banking means achieving a state in which both your employees and your customers gain the ability to use digital assets and tools as they are meant to be used and to their fullest extent. When your employees and customers increase digital fluency, they not only learn and use the basic functions of your digital assets but maximize the use of multiple digital tools and product features.

Financial IT: Is your frontline digitally-savvy and ready to answer your customers’ mobile and digital banking questions?

Janice Diner: Underpinning digital transformation is organizational readiness. This refers equally to employee readiness, customer readiness, and technology readiness. These three have to move together. If digital innovation is not being surfaced to your employees or if they aren’t properly trained or positioned to be confident then they will not be comfortable discussing digital innovation with customers.

There are no shortcuts to this. In order to ensure that your frontline (in-branch and contact centres) colleagues are digitally-savvy and ready to talk digital with your customers, they need digital knowledge. Ideally, this knowledge is accessible to employees before your innovation goes to market and available with every new feature and update you are launching.

With the Horizn Employee Platform, you can empower your entire workforce with the knowledge needed to be confident, ready to talk and demo digital features with your customers across all channels. Our In-Branch Digital Demo module is being used to enable hip-to-hip digital demos in-branch with employees and customers on mobile devices, tablets, and kiosks.

Financial IT: How do you make your customers aware and help them understand your digital products to help drive digital adoption?

Janice Diner: Given the rapid pace of innovation, it is critical that transformation puts the customer at the centre of everything. We hear from our global bank clients regularly with similar mission statements such as, “We need to offer a world-class legendary customer experience”, “Our mission is to power human potential” or “We wish to embed ourselves in the community and be a relationship bank for their customers”.

Banks globally talk about the importance of the customer experience, the omni-channel experience. But when your customers are on your website, can they find information on “how to” use your latest digital technology, are your customers aware of the new features you have just launched in your mobile app, and how are you leveraging your marketing activity to communicate this knowledge to them?

At Horizn we had this early “aha” moment, where we realized we were teaching humans how to use new innovation. All humans, employees and customers both need to learn and understand the digital products that are being launched in the market. This insight led to the Horizn Customer Direct Platform which distributes product knowledge, enables customers to self-learn new digital banking capabilities as they’re released, encouraging faster and more efficient digital adoption. It is mission-critical to the customer experience that your customers have the ability to access 24/7 “how-to” learning capabilities.

Financial IT: Tell us a bit about Horizn’s platform methodology?

Janice Diner: Horizn’s platform methodology combines product simulators, micro-learning, gamification, and robust analytics to accelerate digital adoption of your latest innovation, with both customers and employees.

There is an age-old Chinese proverb, “I hear and I forget, I see and remember, I do and I understand.” Horizn’s Product Simulator Methodology is a technology that acts on the lines of this proverb. We help all users, both employees and customers learn digital by experience in real-time in a safe environment that makes digital innovation easier to understand and comfortable to use.

The platform also leverages micro-learning – which is the process of learning through short, digestible content. Complex mobile and digital features are broken down into small, digestible units specific to product features and desired learning behavior. They’re easy to learn and they’re easy to share with customers.

Our Product Simulators are integrated everywhere so that customers have direct access to learning anywhere, in-branch, with call centres, on bank websites, in mobile apps, and chatbots. Marketing teams are using Product Simulators in SEO, marketing campaigns and in email campaigns direct to customers.

Financial IT: What does success look like for your bank clients?

Janice Diner: At Horizn, our measure of success is client success. Using the Horizn Platform, banks globally increased mobile adoption by 25% and brought call center times down 45 seconds. Banks using our in-branch demo module with non-digital customers have converted 20% of non-digital customers to mobile banking. With the Horizn Platform, our clients are winning awards like the Celent Model Bank Award with RBC’s digital activation strategy and a Financial Innovation Award for Nationwide Building Society from the London Institute of Banking & Finance.