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Friend, not foe: turning data to your advantage in financial services.

iStock 1221293664 - Global Banking | Finance

Friend, not foe: turning data to your advantage in financial services.

2a - Global Banking | FinanceBy Monica Hovsepian, Global Industry Strategist, OpenText

For all that financial services has innovated in the last decade – and really, the industry has adapted admirably to advances in technology – there is still a gap between what banks know when it comes to customer experience (CX) and what they’re actually delivering.

Take this recent report from the Financial Brand, for example. In amongst the top 5 banking trends for last year was the news that banks with customer-centric cultures are a whopping 60% more profitable than their competitors. This won’t be news to many – if any – readers of this article, and yet customers are still feeding back with dissatisfaction about the experiences banks are offering.

Perhaps this is just another example of ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’. Consumer expectations have always evolved through the generations and financial services institutions (FSIs) have had to innovate to meet those new demands. It’s happening again now with Gen Z as they enter the workforce and become customers in their own right, with their own preferences: personalisation, ethical banking, and the ability to interact seamlessly across different channels.

This is the challenge for FSIs today. And with solving any challenge, the trick is knowing where to start. For this purpose, I would paraphrase that famous Homer Simpson quote: ‘Ah, technology: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.’ Stay with me here: as banks have leveraged technology to transform the way they work and deliver services to customers, so that technology has piled up into at times disparate, disconnected backend systems, making it difficult for employees to access and utilise the goldmine of data FSIs have available to offer optimised, personalised experiences to customers.

But in the same breath, it is only technology that can help to unify those systems and build the foundation for FSIs to deliver on the demands of today’s consumers.

Moving from customer experience to total experience in financial services

So, rather than focusing solely on Customer Experience (CX), FSIs can use technology to pivot instead to a Total Experience (TX) approach. To summarise: TX is the optimisation of both CX, Employee experience (EX) and Operational Experience (OX) at the same time. It’s an approach that recognises that only by elevating employee experiences can the best possible customer experience be delivered whilst also appreciating operational efficiency. After all, as Louise May Alcott wrote, ‘it takes two flints to make a fire’.

Total experience turns data from foe to friend. Banks have masses of customer data – so much, in fact, that it can be a struggle to know what they have, and where, and to access it when employees need it the most. The frustration arising from this translates to customers, who find themselves with fragmented experiences, such as having to repeat information across channels, or receiving entirely irrelevant product offerings and promotions and delays in service requests.

So, it’s logical that fixing these employee frustrations will lead to better customer experience. To do this, FSIs must take advantage of platforms that give employees a 360-degree view of customers, across the entire enterprise, at each stage of their journey. Doing so will offer employees a single source of truth to support any customer process or enquiry, thereby improving EX at the same time as optimising the data available to improve CX.

Total experience: the way forward for FSIs

Leveraging technology to integrate key CRM systems to ingest, analyse, manage, and distribute the content needed to support customer-related business processes is what will underpin any successful total experience strategy.

This is why I think moving from a customer experience approach to a focus on delivering that total experience is vital for FSIs going forward. It’ll mean greater speed, accuracy, agility, and value of operations. That’s not just good for the organisation itself, but also for the customer, as they get what they need, when they need it.

And the proof is in the (forecasted) pudding: Gartner estimates that, by 2024, organisations providing a total experience will outperform competitors by 25% in satisfaction metrics for both CX and EX. In a game of fine margins like financial services, that’s a level of competitive advantage that you don’t see on offer every day. When the world, and the economy, is so unpredictable, any level of advantage could be the difference between success and failure for financial services.

Global Banking & Finance Review


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