Decision makers from around the globe gathered in London as it played host to the IQPC’s 2017 Customer Experience Exchange for Financial Services (CEEFS). As the chair on a forward-looking panel discussion with Citibank, Morgan Stanley and RBS, titled “Traditional banking done untraditionally”, I had a direct insight into how financial services providers are striving to create more engaging experiences for their customers.
Here are the top five takeaways:
1. It’s vital to tell customer service and experience apart
Often lumped together, there are key differences between customer service and experience that must be recognised. Service encompasses isolated incidents when employees directly assist customers. It’s reactionary and therefore has a cost — be that loss of faith or a closed account. Customer experience covers each interaction in an individual journey, from initial interest to final purchase and beyond. To outpace competitors, it’s essential for companies to ensure every interaction forms part of a connected, tailored, and proactive experience.
2. Employee motivation is fundamental to success
To maximise customer loyalty, it’s crucial that employees provide strong experiences for individuals and are motivated to keep standards high. This means companies must take a community approach to internal engagement; making employees feel vital to business success and passionate about creating close customer ties. Brand trust is built on relationships, and employees devoted to securing customer happiness are invaluable.
3. Data is the key to customer understanding
Data provides a deeper understanding of who customers are and how providers can meet their needs, yet many businesses are not utilising the insight they have. Financial providers have access to high volumes of data — for example, 39% of HSBC’s customers are digitally active — and leveraging this insight will allow them to improve omni-channel experiences while retaining their existing tech stack. Although there are rising concerns about compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), businesses can still realise the potential of data-based experiences by adopting systems with tighter controls, like tag management.
4. Competitors should never be underestimated
The finance industry has always been highly competitive and the rise of omni-channel living has upped the ante by blurring the traditional lines of competition. Businesses must now outmanoeuvre rivals in both the B2B and B2C world and as a result, attaining a high market position now means delivering a better customer experience than anyone else.
5. It’s time for businesses to get digital
The world has gone digital and to stay ahead businesses must move with the tide. Innovators are experimenting with tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI), such as messaging and chatbots to communicate more efficiency with customers, and it’s a trend that’s set to catch on — not least because messaging almost halves costs by removing the need for call-backs and ensures a continuous conversation. Banking too is getting smarter; using tech like spending trackers to help customers curb expenses, and such advances will become more common as providers seek to retain agility.
So, what’s the main conclusion we can draw from CEEFS 2017? The customer experience is king and that means businesses in the finance sector must get to grips with data-driven, personalised, omni-channel engagement if they’re to hang onto their customers.