• March 17, 2016

Keeping Up With the Customers: 10 Tenets for Financial Institutions

By Daniel Biondi, CTO & Fellow, Financial Services, Asia Pacific & Japan, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Highly connected customers are spoiled. They won’t hesitate to move on to other providers if their individual needs aren’t being met. For the financial services sector, this dynamic, customer-centric landscape is making an already competitive environment even more challenging. Finding new customers and hanging onto existing ones are harder than ever. Even more worrying for banks is the entry of disruptive new competitors and the prospect of the millennial generation choosing a bank-free existence to source new financial services.

Financial institutions must engage with their customers and build an emotional connection and loyalty—or risk losing them to those who will. This means becoming customer-focused. An integrated approach—as opposed to separate one-off solutions—should be at the core of the strategy that focuses on increasing customer knowledge and engagement.

10 Tenets for Keeping Up With Customers

Barriers to success in today’s customer-centric digital age can be legacy IT systems and a disconnect between the IT department and those leading customer experience. Any solution must start by discovering what customers really want and involving them in the design. By removing the guesswork, the path opens to provide a more valuable and personal connection with every customer on a one-to-one basis.

There are 10 critical areas that financial service providers must address to meet the demands of these new connected customers:

  1. Immediacy—Respond now or not at all. The internet is the first-choice sales channel for modern customers who expect near-instant delivery—and that includes immediate analysis and decisions from financial service providers.
  2. Mobility—No gaps allowed. Digital life flows seamlessly into real life for mobile customers who are continuously connected. Financial institutions should be exploring the next generation of applications to further improve this capability.
  3. Multichannel—Anywhere, anytime, any device. A consistent engagement approach must be the backbone of customer interactions—and access must be available at all times across any channel.
  4. Simplicity—Vital for acceptance. Simplicity and convenience are essential elements for customers who have high expectations for context-aware, intuitive internet interaction. Sites must meet their needs for clean, unambiguous interfaces.
  5. Quality—Failure is not tolerated. Universal connectivity makes it more critical than ever for financial institutions to focus on a quality product and service. Those failing to deliver can expect instant exposure on websites and social media.
  6. Personalization—Understand the individual. Companies that treat customers as individuals—not as unidentifiable parts of a mass market—have a major advantage. This is the next key differentiator—personalized electronic commerce.
  7. Security—Create consumer confidence. Security of personal and financial information is a fundamental requirement. In an age of data sharing, institutions must overcome the technical challenges of meeting this personalized privacy.
  8. Participation—Emergence of the active consumer. Next-generation customers will expect an opportunity to participate in product and service development cycles to ensure their needs are met. Financial institutions need to find ways of managing these expectations.
  9. Sustainability—Environmental awareness. Customers increasingly make purchase decisions based on an organization’s environmental record as ranked on websites such as climatecounts.org. This is placing greater focus on ecological and business value chains.
  10. Integration—Capitalize on connections. Using technology to integrate seemingly unrelated information about customers is an invisible enabler for the delivery of the ultimate proactive experience. 

Transforming the Customer Experience

The availability of new technologies, from Big Data to the cloud, makes it easier to optimize the customer experience. As such, financial institutions should focus on:

  • Harnessing actionable insights from Big Data and using customer intelligence to cross-sell and up-sell.
  • Using analytics to measure the customer experience and evaluate and plan new initiatives.
  • Leveraging the power of the cloud to create an agile response and cost-effective links with customers.
  • Engaging and educating customers so that they care more about the what and the how of their banking experience. Give them more control.
  • Discovering what engagement feels like from the customers’ perspective to drive a more satisfying experience.

Customers will rule in the bank of the future. And financial institutions that fail to transform the customer experience will lose business to those that do. The focus must be outside-in with technology integral to understanding, measuring, and constantly improving and anticipating the customer experience. Success is all about predicting what the customer wants and having the flexibility to respond in a unique, relevant, and satisfying way. The winners will be those financial institutions willing to embrace the opportunities with an IT strategy that is customer-facing and provides a unified customer experience at all touchpoints.

To learn more about transforming the customer experience, visit hpe-enterpriseforward.com/transform.

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About the Author
Daniel Biondi is Chief Technology Officer and Fellow, Financial Services, Asia Pacific & Japan, HPE, and is responsible for helping clients shape their IT strategies for business innovation and growth, as well as delivering technology-enabled business solutions that reduce cost and complexity. Daniel has 22 years of experience in leading and managing the application of advanced IT solutions for organizations within the financial services, telecommunications, retail, manufacturing, and government sectors. He has also been awarded the title of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Fellow, an elite group of thought leaders and innovators whose contributions are shaping the future of the technology industry as a whole.