Digital transformation has changed the way financial companies work, but how is it changing the customer experience (CX)? While the answer may not be straightforward, there has been a palpable shift from âone size fits allâ products and a renaissance of flexible, transparent and engaging alternatives. Indeed, instead of being product or service centric, companies now have an additional layer of agility that allows them to model deliverables around the end user.
As customers themselves become more technologically sophisticated, the need to address unmet needs will become critical to competitiveness. The business case is clear: Banks, for example, can expect to achieve a growth rate of 27.5% via this relatively subtle cultural transformation.
To help us determine the best path to optimize the customer experience in modern financial services, we spoke with Clare Gambardella, Director of Client Services at Zopa, and Allison Humphries, Vice President of Strategy at Appnovation.
Refocus around the customer
Recognizing the shift to more customer-centric operations is an important step, but understanding why is essential. âAs finance generally becomes more fragmented and physical money is replaced by digital transactions, automatic payments, etc. ; people inherently want more control over their individual finances, âsays Humphries. This is where the value lies: digital technology gives power back to the consumer; ISPs are now the facilitators of this empowerment and their CXs must take this into account.
Yet for many, legacy infrastructure and convoluted systems and processes hinder progress. However, this needs to be addressed as quickly as possible – for the modern customer, what Appnovation has called the âdigital consumerâ in one. recent study, the digital experience is everything:
- 84% hope that brands will adopt digital solutions and subsequently develop new products and services
- 53% already consider themselves completely comfortable with contactless technology, with an additional 22% indicating that they will become so after longer exposure
- 67% felt that a digital experience in banking and financial management was extremely or very important to them
Humphries believes that a âwillingness to lead with empathyâ on the issue is what EWBs need to demonstrate. Simply meeting expectations is conforming to the status quo; businesses need to move beyond a âvalue-based experience that has the potential to meet the unique financial needs of each customerâ.
Gambardella explains that this has always been Zopa’s approach to customer experience: âAs our product line has grown, we have evolved our structure to ensure a customer-driven approach that offers greater ease and consistency. As a result, customers know what to expect from us, such as a disciplined approach to eliminate unnecessary fees. It also allows Zopa to quickly reapply learnings and abilities in different areas and create greater efficiency compared to a more siled approach. “
Deloitte: CX is part of the future of finance
In his article ‘A Higher Result – The Future of Financial Services‘, Deloitte listed a new approach to customer experience among its six forces driving change in the industry.
âShipping to an ‘average customer’ will not maintain profits, let alone increase them. New capabilities, including technological tools and systems and an increased workforce, will enable financial services players in a more[…]direct, personalized and socially responsible manner.
To effectively replace silos, SFIs need to recontextualize the way different aspects of their business interact. Instead of focusing only on a specific part of the customer journey, like the point of sale, companies need to re-evaluate how the end-to-end experience can be optimized for maximum customer engagement, retention, and return.
âWhen it comes to CX,â says Humphries, âit’s imperative to define a ‘north star’ strategy that looks to the future, but anchors marketing, products, sales and technology to one. common path with common objectives. This is because the North Star establishes how every aspect of a business is organized, which in practice ensures higher levels of overall consistency and value for customers. As such, CX becomes an integrated and collaborative project made up of separate but interconnected components. âPersonalization, content, SEO, marcom, and the data and technology that enables the experience, all need to be aligned on the same overall plan,â she adds.
Technology itself also has an important role to play in reducing CX friction. AI (artificial intelligence) and omnichannel communication are important new tools, but Gambardella chooses to highlight another: Open Finance. Capable of forging a more direct relationship between clients and the ISPs who serve them, the broader implications of Open Finance could be revolutionary. Regarding Zopa’s specific use of Open Banking, she said: âIn some cases this can be used to reduce complexity and friction, like verifying a client’s income. We can now do this in seconds, whereas previously we had to submit bank statements and other documents for review. In other cases, Open Banking helps us improve customers’ access to credit by increasing their credit file data.
Empowerment and innovation
A by-product of empowering customers through this new approach to CX, Gambardella continues, puts more pressure on ISPs to prove their service superior. That consumers in the digital age standardize their expectations on the basis of experiences with other technological leaders (Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Uber, etc.) in several sectors becomes an unassailable argument. âCustomers are more likely to shop and future innovations will need to deliver CX faster, in their channel of choice and in a way that fits more intuitively into their lives. Zopa adopts this way of thinking in several ways:
- Allow customers to apply for a loan or credit card in minutes, as well as provide eligibility checks that don’t affect their credit rating
- An app that provides users with simple management tools, including expense breakdown, credit limits, and payment methods
- Easy-to-contact customer service agents and product FAQs
âWe are always listening to our customers and transforming this information into better products,â says Gambardella. This, Humphries agrees, should be the financial industry’s approach to CX going forward. âISPs who choose to focus on their customers will see increased customer satisfaction, increased customer loyalty, and open the door to more personalized up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. ”
Additionally, using customer information will not hamper a company’s creativity or be the proverbial âwagging tailâ. Rather, bringing together disparate data streams will create a more comprehensive and actionable profile from which ISPs can work. âKnowing the customer offers a much greater opportunity for innovative thinking and experimentation,â Humphries concludes. âFacilitating experimentation is an imperative foundation for any customer-centric FSI experience. “
Meet our commentators …
Appnovation is a full-service, global digital consulting firm that helps clients navigate constant change by putting clients at the forefront and creating innovative digital experiences derived from human truth.
âI am responsible for leading a team of strategic planning and knowledge professionals in North America who are committed to delivering positive results for our clients’ businesses and their clients. “
âI lead a number of teams all focused on providing the best customer experience, including our operations team, marketing and communications, product design, and our app and website offering.
âZopa wants customers to feel good about their finances, which means delivering better value products in a way that is easy to use and understand. We focus on products such as loans, cards and savings that have a significant impact on the financial well-being of clients and for which we believe the client offering can be significantly improved.