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Financial services firms have probably never been more unpopular with their customers. The financial crisis and numerous product miss-selling scandals have shattered confidence in the industry. Firms need to find a way of rebuilding this lost trust. Many are hoping that investment in new technologies will help.
CEO’s and CFO’s give insight into how technologies can help rebuild customer’s trust.
Across other industries, companies are investing in tools like social media, smartphone apps, and data analysis to understand their customers better. They are then using those insights to forge a deeper relationship with customers, one where they welcome their products, brands and services into the fabric of their everyday lives.
Banks and insurers would be delighted to transform their customer relationships in that way, and they have moved in that direction already. Mobile banking apps, for example, are now commonplace. Yet in an industry typified by ancient technology systems and conservative attitudes, change can be slow.
The way in which customers access their banking services is changing rapidly. More and more people are choosing to use smart phones and technology for everyday transactions.
To meet rapidly evolving consumer expectations, firms need to be fast and flexible. It’s not just apps that firms need to roll out quickly, they need to be more responsive with new products and services, too.
Technological innovation can help financial firms to rebuild trust, but they need to tread with caution, but with large numbers of customers, the cost of that engagement can ramp up rapidly. There is a lot of experimentation; the challenge is to consolidate it and do it cost effectively. That puts this challenge firmly in the realm of the CFO.
There needs to be a rethink how banks interact with customers – the relationship is less about selling and more about being there for people. Banks and financial institutes need to continue to offer choice so customers have the flexibility to bank in a way that suits their needs, but they need to make sure that as they seek to offer customers a better experience via technology, they don’t create expectations that they can’t live up to.
Business needs to separate hype from reality and Invest to learn more about customer attitudes and how banks can scale up and meet them, controls around data quality need to be stronger and a firm must have a balanced portfolio of technology investments that is each one is backed by a proper business case.
It is critical that firms Invest in staff so that customers have access to expertise face to face, to become the most accessible bank, with the most digitally savvy workforce. There should also be a balanced investment, an innovative and sustainable future-proof suite of branches that exist alongside a choice of ways customers can contact the bank.
December 6, 2013
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