Digital transformation in financial services: The age of the customer

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Watch this on-demand webinar for insights into CX challenges and mobile connectedness in the finance space. Hear from leading financial services industry experts from Hesta and Zurich Financial Services, in this discussion lead by Soprano’s VP of Global Marketing, Matt Thompson.
Category: Enterprise Solutions
Subject: Digital Transformation
Lenght: 41 Minutes
Author: Soprano Team

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The financial services industry is experiencing a wave of digital innovation that is reshaping the way companies and customers interact. The digital transformation in financial services is a must to stay relevant to your customer’s needs, requires reimagining new ways to engage and make it easier for them to do business with you.

As employees and customers continue to adopt remote work environments and mobile-first solutions, there is a renewed focus on strengthening communication and engagement. Businesses with the ability to efficiently and securely reach audiences with real-time interactive conversations will gain advantage. 

“CX is a proven return on investment, there’s no doubt about that”.
Georgie Obst, General Manager of Customer Loyalty at Hesta


The current state of the financial CX journey

For many financial organisations, communicating with customers using SMS has been limited to interactions such as two factor authentication and one-time passwords. But those institutions that are using the full power of omnichannel mobile messaging for customer engagement are realising increased revenues and better customer loyalty. According to a study from The Financial Brand, financial customers who are fully engaged bring in over $400 in additional revenue per year to their primary bank.

Georgie Obst, General Manager of Customer Loyalty at Hesta, reflects on how historically in the superannuation sector the main moment of engagement would happen when a super member received their paper statement once or twice a year. To digitise that world has been revolutionary for the financial industry. “Now at Hesta, over 60% of members open communications on their mobile and that has been a long-standing focus – to be mobile first.” 

When considering the digital transformation in banking and financial services journey Brendan Norton, Head of Customer & Adviser Experience, Zurich Financial Services says, “It’s been a different journey to try and make some step-changes in a business that is more traditional in nature.” With the majority of Zurich’s business coming from independent financial advisors, their digital first strategy was setting up the advisors for success to make it easy for them to do business with Zurich. “From there it’s about how we engage with the customer”. 

It can be an intimidating and journey at times, with high demands to meet but Georgie reminds marketers and business leaders that it is important not to compare yourself so much to what competitors are doing and to make it instead about the customer, which is something Hesta are continuing to work through.

Digital transformation in banking: Game changing innovations

When it comes to innovation, it does not necessarily have to be sophisticated and complex to be a game changer. As Soprano’s VP of Global Marketing Matt Thompson relays “Innovation doesn’t have to be Einstein’s theory of relativity, it just has to be different and new”. For Zurich this meant leveraging customer insights and feedback to guide their strategy. “We are nowhere near a digital leader, but we’ve done some interesting things with website and rewards programs that have good engagement, with high NPS (Net Promoter Scores). Our strategy is to expand and add to that via customer feedback”, explains Brendan.

One of the major innovation projects Hesta recently carried out was bringing the member portal in house, which meant they could connect all their platforms and connect to their member journey. “Member campaigns used to be a bit of a black hole, and now we can see what we inspired them to do, what they looked at, did they take any action, or show intent”. Georgie explains. Staying targeted is key, “By focusing on; if the member only does one thing on their super this year, what should it be? and not bombard them with too many options”. Georgie says that interactive innovations, encourage creativity in the teams. The team at Hesta look at new ways for campaigns to take the customer from intent to action. 

The finance digital transformation starts in a mobile friendly services

A common shift in the digital transformation in financial services has been the convergence of channels and how to manage the consistency of conversations being had elsewhere. Using a CPaaS solution with interactive mobile messaging channels increases engagement and revenue even further.

Being Mobile friendly is at the heart of Zurich’s strategy and being conscious of not overwhelming customers with apps in the ‘Appaverse’. Brendan admits keeping pace with change and customer expectations of the digital experience can be tricky. “Our journey is about optimising the channels we have – all roads lead to our CRM and visibility of customer interactions. Our online customer community to help guide us and shape our decisions, everything feeds into a funnel and we prioritise what matters most to the customer”.

Georgie also “Customers do expect you to connect the dots and be Omni-channel, there is a lot of connection there that customers expect. It can be difficult – it’s about connecting systems”.

Georgie says the exploration of channels is another focus for Hesta’s strategy, as the next generation comes through, the way they view mobile friendly can be very different. “I recently asked a member how she preferred we communicate with her and she looked at me like I was a dinosaur and said ‘social’. Some generations might not see that as an appropriate platform for  digitalization in finance. How we use our social platforms is a focus for me this year – the evolving view of what mobile friendly is”.

How to shift from transactional to trusted relationships

Brendan from Zurich explains that their financial services digital strategy is underpinned by “Looking at key moments of truth based on what our customers tell us.” Georgie agrees that each moment of truth is an opportunity to gain that customers trust, saying “Those moments of truth don’t always come along often, and you need to be ready and able to respond to what the customer wants”.

One way Zurich builds trusted relationships is by connecting innovation to core values, Brendan explains, “Our program ‘Creating a brighter future together’ is about Zurich’s partners and communities. How we do better, with customer experience behind it all. It has been motivational within the company and a huge shift to make changes that make a difference”. Zurich makes an effort to connect with customers in meaningful ways, “I don’t think anyone’s out there thinking about how they can engage with their life insurer more frequently – for us it’s about how can we make a difference in customers lives and support them to de-risk through health and wellbeing”.

Georgie recognises the challenges of sensitive or critical communications in a mobile first world, especially in times of vulnerability and great need that 2020 brought about. Building customer relationships can be highly personal and it can be difficult to do at scale. Georgie has found when thinking about the one-to-one customer experience, analysis can be paralysing “Deciding what to talk about and when to do it and on what channel, what are their expectations around personalisation. If you have got the right frameworks in place and the ability to see where personalisation is required versus not. We have a segmentation model, and the results can be very similar, so we need to decide is that additional investment of one-to-one worth it yet? I believe you can do highly personalised content at a segment level, with propensity modelling and insights. The psychographic side of our segmentation helps a lot with our target messaging”.

Get more information on how Soprano helps banking and financial services to deliver trusted mobile financial solutions.