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If I receive one more irrelevant voucher…

In financial services, customer experience should be contextual, not contrived

It seems that every week companies are trying to secure my loyalty with great discounts and vouchers. They would be great if they reflected my interests and lifestyle, but too often they don’t – which makes you wonder if the companies understand their customer at all. With such fierce competition in financial services, companies need to know their customers inside out. Only then can you develop a contextual customer experience that builds loyalty and drives revenue.

Customer experience – or CX as it’s often called – has become the primary goal for most industries, including financial services, and with good reason. Accenture suggests that personalized customer experience could bring $2.95 trillion in value for the retail sector alone. Poor customer experience is getting very costly. According to Forbes, a drop of just one point on its CX score can cost a large, multichannel bank up to $124 million. The 2018 Digital Trends in Financial Services report found excellent customer experience was the key differentiator for organizations in all financial services sectors over the next five years.

What are the components of excellent customer experience? A rapid and responsive service. A smooth, omnichannel experience. Communicating with your customer how, when and where they want. The ability to personalize your products, services and marketing offers. Letting your customer choose the best way for them to conduct all of their different financial transactions.

While all of these are definitely important, I think that you still need to take a step up the human value chain. When I’m presenting to financial services companies I’ll often begin with a simple statement: Emotion is the currency of experience. Let me explain what I mean.

A grandfather’s legacy

On her fourth birthday, a grandfather took out an endowment policy for his granddaughter. It was designed to mature 20 years later. When she was 24 and at university, the policy matured and the young woman received an endowment to the value of $250,000. Sadly, by this time, she had lost both grandparents. She broke down in tears when she saw the photo of her and her grandparents at her fourth birthday party that was on the first page of the policy.

Creating a family memory for his granddaughter was the key motivator for one grandfather’s choice of endowment policy.

It’s easy to believe that the grandfather’s motivation for purchasing the policy was protection: to make sure that his favorite granddaughter would have a good start to life. But that’s not it. He bought the endowment to create a memory. He did it so that he and his wife knew their granddaughter would remember them and the gift they gave her.

It’s important to understand that decisions are driven by emotion. Customers exhibit preferences and behaviors but you must understand the context in which these happen. Let’s take the case of the grandfather. While getting an excellent return was important to him, it wasn’t his main motivation for his choice of provider. He chose the company that took time to understand him and could tailor their service – like the family photo – to meet his requirements.

The contextual customer experience

Financial services companies have been collecting data on their customers for many years, but this information has been under-utilized. Today, pretty much every organization has gone through a process of digitization. However, they are still often unable to apply in-depth and real time analytics to that data. Many financial services companies haven’t integrated their new data systems with a customer interaction platform.

Companies want to establish meaningful and relevant relationships that can be delivered across channels. In today’s digital, real-time world, the analysis of each individual customer has to be set in the context that they are immersed in. You need to see more than the data. You must begin to understand more about their lives.

Today, a contextual experience demands a 360-degree view of your customer. Knowing your customer means knowing their preferences, attitudes and personality, knowing their history with the company, and knowing what they expect from a service or brand. This provides context that can be applied to every stage of your customer interaction, from marketing to sales to customer support.

Contextual customer experience is more than understanding past relationships. It’s equally about having clear insight into current trends and being able to identify potential future activities. You need to be able to use the customer data – set in context – to understand what’s my next best action or my next best offer?

Personalization and the contextual customer experience

Banks and insurance companies are increasingly experimenting with innovative ways to personalize products and services for their customers down to an individual level. This approach requires a very granular analysis of the data. It’s now possible to combine real-time knowledge of customer information (identity, history, preferences) with customer context (emotional expression, attitude, feedback) with predictive, AI-powered analytics. The result is the ability to deliver the highest value, personalized experience to every customer.

Armed with that information, we would be able to consign my irrelevant vouchers to history as banks deliver the sharpest, most relevant offers driven by customer context. By understanding your customer, you know when to talk to them and what to talk about. In the war to retain and win customers, this builds loyalty and increases the value of each customer.

A technology platform for contextual customer experience

While the concept of contextual customer experience is easy to grasp, the technology required to make it happen is more complex. To create a holistic view of your customer requires:

  • Data collection and management: The collection of data from all available sources – both structured and unstructured – with the ability to blend and prepare the data for analysis.
  • Advanced analytics: AI-powered analytics tools that combine the latest machine learning and predictive analytics techniques to synthesize the data into actionable insight.
  • Real-time integration: The integration of data into experience management and delivery systems to create dynamic, personalized experiences on any channel or touchpoint.
  • Real-time decision support: Comprehensive business intelligence and dashboarding to allow business users to quickly identify trends and patterns that enable them to optimize the experience and develop more attractive products and services.

It’s clear there are a number of moving parts for this type of technology platform: AI-powered Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Digital Process Automation. When CX is so important to your business, it’s worth considering working with a provider like OpenText™ that can create an end-to-end solution to delivering a contextual customer experience that’s omnichannel, personalized and relevant.

To find out more about how OpenText can help deliver contextual customer experience for financial services companies, please contact us.

Albert Tay

Albert is Director, Financial Services, Asia Pacific and Advancing Market at OpenText. He has almost 20 years of experience within the Financial Services industry, and is a frequent speaker at industry events all over the world.

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