INVESTING IN GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE

Michael Plimsoll, Product & Industry Marketing, Adobe

The consumer experience in the financial services sector has been dormant for many years, with FSIs providing the same services and experiences for decades. However, technology, new tech disrupters and most importantly, customers, are accelerating the industry into the 21st century. Where customers expect great experiences with other brands in other industries, they are now demanding the same from the financial service industry.

Traditional banks have to do more to make their mark, and a big part of their competitive edge lies in ensuring that customers have streamlined and personalised experiences. According to research by KPMGNunwood, better customer service could earn the UK’s four biggest banks as much as an extra £3.7 billion each in the next three years[1] – definitely not something to be ignored.

But this can be hard for banks. We’ve all heard howtrust in them is slipping, asEdelman’s recent trust barometer showed. Apparently, the financial services industry sits at 51% trust, compared to the technology industry’s 74%[2]. Striking up strong relationships with customers is not always easy for banks, but their loyalty is critical to keep up with the changing market.

Tracking technology trends

In order to deliver great services for customers, banks mustkeep ahead of technology trends. They need to understand the developments that are changing the day-to-day lives of consumers tostand any chance of delivering the services theyexpect in the future.

These changes are happening quickly. Just take a look at how mobile banking has evolved. It is no longer considered a perk to be able to move and transfer your money on your phone, it has become the norm.In fact, research from the British Bankers’ Association shows that smartphones and tablets are now the preferred method of banking for many customers[3].When it comes to banking, there isn’t one single option any more, and the introduction of these digital platforms bringnew opportunities to build relationships with customers.

Banks have to do more than simply follow trends however – theyneed to respond. Taking notice of the ways technology is changing consumers’ lives can help to provide a better service. For example, Barclays’ wearable tech – with wrist bands introduced to the marketbefore the technology has properly hit the high street – is anticipating a trend and preparing for customers’ future needs.

Getting up close and personal

Accessing the latest tech trends will not necessarily mean banks succeed in engaging their customers,though, this is just the first step. Banks also need to align their service with the customer’s preferences.

This should be an easy task. Following years of service to highly loyal customers, banks have a wealth of data to understand their customers and provide the services they really want. This can help to improve online experiences and transform physical branches too. For example, more banks could be using beacon technology in-branch tocreate a more holistic experience for the consumer.

While this seems like it would be a sure blessing for any marketer, access to this data can also be a curse if not used with care. It’s important to know where the line is, and not to cross it. This is partially because there are strict privacy regulations in the financial sector, but it’s also important to be mindful that getting too up close and personalmight appear creepy to your customer. No one wants to be just another statistic. This would defeat the whole exercise in the first place.

As banking services have become digitised and the way we access our money becomesfaster and more seamless, personalisation has become a key selling point for customers in the industry.It’s important to go there, but just not too far.

Not a job for one, but all

Even with the best technological minds and marketers on their side, banks can still struggle to create the ideal customer experience if the whole organisation is not on board. A recent report conducted by PAC on behalf of Adobe revealed 57% of respondents in the financial services sector said the departments from across their organisations do not collaborate well enough to achieve a holistic customer experience[4]. Plus, a host of new skills are needed – like marketing technologists, marketing scientists and customer strategists.

All businesses need properly dedicated organisational structures, designed so that silos are broken down and different parts of the business can work together to optimise customer experience, and banks are no different. They need to overcome, in some instances, over 300 years of history, organisational structure and processes to succeed in a modern, tech-cantered world.

Those organisations that follow tech trends, deliver personalised experiences and break down organisational barriers to ensure digital is at the heart of everything they do are the ones who are succeeding. Take, for example, National Australia Bank[5], which with the help of the Adobe Marketing Cloud, empowered its content team to manage 400% more changes than before. Plus, RBS has used Adobe Experience manager to break free from its old content management systems, and make website updates 42% faster as part of a new data-driven digital marketing approach[6].

Financial services companies can’t expect customer trust, they have to earn it, and manage digital advancements as a natural extension of traditional banking to keep their customers happy.

[1] KPMG Report:https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/pdf/2016/02/banking-the-customer-experience-dividend.pdf

[2] Edelman’s trust barometer:http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/2016-edelman-trust-barometer/

BBS:https://www.bba.org.uk/news/press-releases/mobile-phone-apps-become-the-uks-number-one-way-to-bank/#.VsHhgvmLS72

[4]Adobe PAC Report: http://blogs.adobe.com/digitaleurope/files/2015/09/StudyHolisticCXAdobe1.pdf

[6]http://www.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/customer-success/pdfs/royal-bank-of-scotland-case-study.pdf