Debarchana Roy: Touchless Covid-Tech to Support Customer Wellbeing, Customer Engagement

Debarchana Roy is Senior Director of Fintech with Tavant, San Francisco. She has more than 12 years of experience in business development, strategy, consulting and credit underwriting.

Debi Roy

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed customer expectations into customer necessities. Now, customers need access to mortgage solutions and lending innovations from the comfort and the safety of their own home. Once where in-person closings were the standard, now, preparing and finding the correct moment to meet your originator in person can be a difficult, draining and sometimes impossible decision.

Due to this, the shift to digital-first technology has accelerated greatly. Once far on the horizon, digital adoption is no longer an option. Lenders must embrace digital solutions and explore augmented technology to meet consumers where they are and on their own time.

However, innovation itself should not be reduced to just suppling consumers with the capability to complete their interactions remotely. Touchless technology can also be utilized to cultivate customer relationships, even in isolation.

Customer engagement is not just important; it is a necessity. Though we live in a socially distanced world, that does not mean that customer engagement is insignificant. Remote, hands-free technology can cultivate positive customer engagement experiences to rival those of face-to-face interaction. Not only can these technologies make processes easier for both consumers and employees, they can keep your customers happy and healthy. But how do lenders even know where to start?

Luckily, the mortgage industry does not live within a vacuum. By looking to other industries across the globe, lenders may be able to locate and develop touchless technology to better streamline fragmented processes revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic and spark the mortgage industry’s digital transformation.

Airport Operations Will No Longer Be the Same

Airports worldwide are exploring hygiene-friendly technology options to ensure the safety of their patrons. To verify passengers’ identities, new technology has been developed to replace driver’s license and passport authentication checks with facial recognition and iris-scanning biometrics. To continue this advancement, a new facial recognition checkpoint has been developed that can identify a passenger while wearing a face mask. Flight attendants and airport personnel assistance are using augmented reality to safely serve passengers, and a fully automated biometric “smart tunnel” has begun completing immigration and security checks in less than fifteen seconds.

Virtual Fitting Rooms and Product Sampling Eliminate In-Person Trials

Virtual technology has made in-person sampling a thing of the past. For years, major retailers have dabbled in augmented reality technology, but many are seeing its potential to do even more. For example, novelty applications are being designed to replicate fitting rooms and sample counters. Cosmetic retailers have also utilized virtual reality to allow customers to virtually try on the products. Other augmented reality programs have been used to show customers how paintings, photographs and home décor items could look within any given space.

Automated Technology to Create Sanitary Spaces

Automation is also being utilized in the form of creating more health-conscious environments for consumers. Robots are being used to scrub floor of big-box retailers, while fast-food restaurants are experimenting with burger flipping mechanizations. In South Korea, robots are being used to measure temperatures and distribute hand sanitizer as a substitute for susceptible humans.

Virtual Capabilities to Reduce Face-to-Face Interaction in the Restaurant Industry

Restaurants are looking to new technology to provide a more health-conscious option for guests. By utilizing development platforms that feature low-code and no-code technology, the restaurant industry is seeking to replace wait staff interactions by reducing direct contact. This is possible through mobile ordering and the platform’s ability to build software quickly through visual components and drag-and-drop construction.

Healthcare’s Telehealth on the Rise

Telehealth, the remote delivery of healthcare services, can provide necessary medical guidance without the trip to the doctor’s office. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, this service was predicted to become a $130 billion market by 2025. Now, with some online services reporting up to a 500% increase in usage during the pandemic, it appears that digital healthcare will be streamlined faster than ever anticipated.

Final Thoughts

So what does all this mean for lenders? By looking at the advancements of other industries, lenders may consider where similar innovation can take place within the mortgage industry. Lenders must operate differently, with a focus on better customer wellbeing as well as seamless customer engagement, to remain relevant in these changing times.

(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA NewsLink welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to Mike Sorohan, editor, at; or Michael Tucker, editorial manager, at