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How Connected Consumers are disconnecting financial services

Today’s Connected Consumers are savvy with an appetite for knowledge and empowerment. In the financial services landscape, this means a more demanding customer relationship. Technology, convenience, and a general feeling of scepticism of large financial institutions has increased “fractional” relationships in the world of financial services. Traditional financial institutions are under intense pressure to meet this new generation’s evolving – and exacting – needs. How can the established financial institutions ensure they stay relevant and evolve with their customers?

Be more proactive with customers

Consumers expect more than transactional excellence from their financial institution. Providing personalized advice and service is one strategy to meet this need. Whether customers are entering the workforce straight out of school or have accumulated a significant level of assets, financial service firms must identify value-added products that address personal needs and solve lifestage needs. This proactive, customer-centric view of service will not only encourage loyalty, it will lay the foundation for cross-selling and up-selling. The challenge is to deliver this high level of service in an environment of low interest rates and fewer personal touchpoints amidst the shrinking branch networks and growth in digital platforms. As consumer behavior is increasingly omnichannel, competition for their attention becomes fierce. This is where the latest consumer insights are invaluable.

Save customers valuable time

Millennials place a high value on their personal time and consequently services that free up their time will appeal. Financial service marketers could leverage this need by focusing on a value proposition that offers a one-stop-shop – saving customers the time they value so highly. Rethink the way you deal with your customers. You have to convince them to bank with you – and to stay with you. Instead of your marketing saying “We make you smarter”, today’s emerging consumers want you to acknowledge their value and knowledge by showing them why they should bank with you – “We work hard to earn trust”.

Be transparent

The growth of the Uber car service can be attributed to many factors, including the immediacy and transparency it provides over ordering a taxi. In particular Millennials are willing to use “white label” services like this over branded, certified vehicles such as taxis because it provides an immediate benefit. I am sometimes asked, “Will the financial services industry be “Uberized?”. In our view, there is a huge amount of trust and confidence in the established brands around the world, but the chink in the armor is the lack of transparency which builds a sense of distrust. This creates an opportunity for new entrants, leading to the disruption we’ve seen in areas of mobile payments and digital banking. All brands will benefit from combining trust, transparency and innovation. That may mean partnerships and acquisitions with emerging fintech players who can offer relevant benefits to your customers.

In summary

The financial services industry as a whole is at the tipping point of fundamental change. Some sectors such as payments and day-to-day banking are well underway in their transformation. It may be the case that in the past the financial services industry was slower than other sectors to adapt to changing consumer and market trends, but that simply cannot be the case any longer. The Connected Consumer has a whole world of options for their banking, insurance and investment needs. The power to make sure your brand is part of that future is yours.

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