Though the financial services industry is starting to embrace digital transformation, I think it’s fair to say, traditionally, it has not been particularly agile when it comes to change.
As a highly regulated sector, it is therefore no surprise risk aversion and consequent procrastination have become the norm, which has fostered a reluctance to speak directly to customers.
For these reasons, I believe it has taken longer than many other industries to bring about meaningful change.
However, in an age of disruptive new technologies exploiting any perceived opportunity in any industry, existing FS companies will need to move faster in order to survive. While the FS sector has trailed behind other industry advances, such as targeted personalisation in the retail sector, I feel it is not too late to capitalise on these learnings.
Changing customer expectations and behaviours, fuelled by the influence of social media and instant internet access has not only created a burning platform for change, but also an increasingly powerful customer.
Competing and thriving in this ‘Experience Economy’ has resulted in the successful evolution of customer experience, products, services and business models across many industries. For example, shared peer-to-peer reviews carry more weight than traditional advertising and can easily encourage switching of product or service providers if expectations are not met.
Gaining a deeper data-driven understanding of different customer segments, evolving services to meet expectations and building trusted relationships are key to securing customer loyalty.
In a world where the customer values experience as much as (and sometimes more than) cost and quality – delivering better customer experience is non-negotiable aspect when growing or protecting revenues and profitability.
Success in this area demands whole organisations (from top down) to rethink and embrace new ways of interacting with customers. This often requires a mix of traditional and new digital forms of engagement, as well as a significant culture shift by its own employees. I appreciate, however, this is easier said than done!
In order to compete, organisations need to make digital an integral focus across all facets of their business. However, before plans and priorities are set, successful organisations will understand where digital evolution in society or industry is impacting their organisation, and where the specific opportunity areas are.
For example, with the growth of e-commerce sales from Burberry, online sales now drive the type of merchandise sold in stores.
Digital platforms and technology can also provide a vital way in communicating success internally, thereby laying the foundations for success. For example, speaking at one of our recent North Highland Customer Experience events, Nick Watts, head of global client experience at Fidelity International talked about the use of digital to communicate valuable wins to both employees and customers.
Rather than boiling it down into black text on a white piece of paper (as so often happens), he explained how the use of images, videos and other digital tools has enabled the organisation to successfully share progress which otherwise may otherwise have been lost in translation.