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The evolution of customer experience in financial services

Our fast-changing, technology-driven world has a major impact on businesses, forcing them to continually adapt to appeal to Connected Consumers. While the financial services industry has perhaps been slower to respond, today it is prioritizing customer experience and putting the consumer at the center of its business models. There are four key trends that are behind this current drive for customer centricity: 

One: Regulation no longer presents a barrier to change

The heavily regulated banking environment, particularly in the developed world, has served as a security blanket for the industry, hampering new players entering sectors and markets. However, FinTech companies have broken through and changed the playing field, and now all financial institutions recognize the need to focus on customer products that optimize experiences and services which accommodate the evolved Connected Consumer.
For brands to attract and retain customers, it’s essential to involve the consumer earlier in R&D, new product development, and when designing retail experiences. Understanding the consumer journey, and combining that knowledge with analysis of real-time feedback, is essential to success. Anticipating emerging consumer trends and possessing a global sector overview completes the picture, providing the insight needed to develop a customer experience that spans the sector – from banking to insurance, payment tools to security. 

Two: Take control of data to reveal unmet needs

Most financial institutions have access to vast amounts of customer data. The challenge is to take control of it to leverage the intelligence it offers to optimize the customer experience. 
In the era of big data, the secret to success lies in integrating many different “silos” of data to develop a meaningful understanding of both consumer behavior and attitudes. Such powerful combinations of data should direct the development of relevant, appealing products and services. Our experts skillfully integrate transactional data with sales figures, and customer and employee satisfaction tracking, and interpret this to identify unmet consumer needs. Examples of recent discoveries include dynamic pricing for checking and savings accounts, mobile mortgage specialists, and mortgages with added lines of credit. Furthermore, leveraging smart CRM technologies allows institutions to know the complete customer journey (e.g. mortgage) as people migrate through various touchpoints of the experience (web, IVR, in-branch).

Three: If you can’t do it yourself, find a partner 

FinTech solutions have maximized three key benefits that the established players have traditionally failed to provide: speed, transparency and flexibility. With legacy issues, time pressures, and a challenging economic environment to contend with, one option is to embrace the FinTech revolution and to form a strategic partnership to maximize these technologies. As an example, we have JPMorgan Chase’s (JPC) partnership 2015 with OnDeck, a startup lending company that used the web and social media to provide small businesses faster access to credit than banks normally would. 

They have found a way to make peer-to-peer lending incredibly efficient and completely scalable with most applications decided within 24 hours. JPC felt that they could learn, rather than compete, with OnDeck and in April 2016 they launched their own online lending service to customers using the OnDeck software as its platform.

Four: Informed, empowered consumers expect products suited to their needs

As has happened in other sectors, today’s informed Connected Consumer has forced financial service providers to raise their game. The financial consumer has evolved into a highly informed, self-aware customer with knowledge of product options and associated benefits. This empowerment is fueled as much by ease of access to information as to historically low interest rates, forcing institutions to innovate outside of traditional offerings. Omnichannel service is the new normal, and providers need to understand these experiences as a holistic approach to customer management and not the line-of-business model that predicates most companies.

The genie can’t be put back in the bottle, so marketers in all sectors need to understand the Connected Consumer and deliver products and services that meet and exceed their needs. Developing customer experience management processes that embrace changes in both the financial services sector and wider context of global trends will help financial services brands and businesses ensure they are future-proofed. 

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Angelo Pierro
Global Lead Financial Services
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