Keeping the customers satisfied - the rise of convenience at the expense of loyalty

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Moderator: Kevin Mounford, PBF Solutions

Expert: Sarah collinson & Alexandra Korda, Affinion 

Following introductions we asked the question; 

‘Building long-standing relationships: How can you enhance customer engagement in an increasingly digital world?’ 

  • Financial services businesses still spend much more time trying to find new customers than trying to keep them. In a world where switching and moving providers is getting easier and easier, companies need to spend more time working out what will make their customer stay. 
  • Banks take on various roles in customers’ lives and these mainly depend on the life stage and financial requirements of the customer segment. Wealthy older savers and pensioners will require a bank’s service in a totally different way to a recently-qualified graduate.

 Each role demands something different from the bank:

  • Provider of financial education;
  • Provider of products;
  • Provider of information services; and a role as the
  • Community heart. 

So it would seem that banks need to develop a more personal role in customers’ lives. This includes the way in which they communicate and a more bespoke service. Are there lessons to be learned from the challenger banks?

Given the depth and breadth of data captured by most banks offering transactional services, surely this shouldn’t be too difficult. 

As banking goes more and more on line, the push for personalisation takes on a greater urgency – a long term relationship is a long term gain!   

  • Affinion ‘experts’ shared some thoughts in terms of what customer engagement means for different customers and organisations and cited some examples of success stories in the market. 
  • They recognised that the advent of a new digital age gives organisations an opportunity to review and re-think their propositions. Fundamentally, customer centricity is first and foremost about delivering on the basics, the core services. If we deliver on the basics, customers will more easily give permission to allow us to extend into their daily lives, to do more and sell them more. 
  • In developing more personalised offerings, the group discussed the wide scope of considerations and requirements that are part of such a project. They highlighted the commitment that a business needs to take to enable change. 

      There are many facets but we focussed upon:

  • Delivery frame-works
  • End to end mapping of customer journey’s
  • Value streams
  • Identifying challenges and evaluating negative impact points on customer behaviour 
  • Additional considerations for Customer experience (CX) projects in large organisations, is the involvement of multiple work-streams, matrix structures and product silos. Ultimately, for these projects to succeed, it is important to create an environment where change is embraced, led from top down and where the life-time value of a customer is understood, and can be clearly measured. This approach also supports the ability to make SMART decisions regarding budget allocation.   

      Taking this approach can help structure:   

  • Clear and defined KPIs revised to fit new journeys
  • An understanding of organisational structure, roles and responsibilities.
  • Process and process flows
  • Technology capabilities
  • Business priorities 

From this start-point we then discussed that Financial Services as a sector are not always clear on what they offer, and also on which customers they want to serve.


  • In the many needs that customers have, each demands something different from the bank: 
  • Provider of products
  • Provider of financial education
  • Provider of information services
  • A role in the community 
  • Therefore, it seems that banks need to continue to develop a more personal role in customers’ lives, both in the way they communicate and their ability to offer more bespoke services. 
  • However, is the question really, how do we use data to the benefit of both customer and business? Are there lessons to be learned from the challenger banks? 
  • As banking goes more and more on line, the push for personalisation takes on a greater urgency, having data is one thing, but using it brilliantly to build long term customer relationships is really the ultimate goal. 
  • It was noted that enhancing the customer experience isn’t exclusive to the digital world and in fact, applies across all touch points. However, challenges are different, and may be greater where a wider range of products are offered across multiple channels. 
  • Technology and trends in customer experience from other sectors, such as retail are playing an important part in influencing consumer behaviour, increasing customer expectations, and in defining requirements and new standards of delivery. The use of Artificial Intelligence is opening opportunities for innovative financial services organisations to jump whole generations of technology and become market leaders through the use of Chabots. Need we do more than just mention the IBM Watson Engagement Advisor? 
  • It was recognised that over the last decade the industry had faced some of its biggest challenges such as:
  • Increased regulation and costs of the supporting infrastructure
  • Decline in fee incomes
  • Rise of new challengers both from within and outside the UK
  • Digital and mobile offerings and the speed and magnitude of delivery 
  • Open banking and the API world will only add to this, meaning that established players need to adapt and adopt best practices or run the risk of being over-taken. In addressing these challenges, the industry players need to be clear in terms of what they want to be and who do they want to appeal to.  There also needs to be a cultural shift from being product centric to being customer centric and truly customer centric in a way that extends far beyond just an NPS score. 
  • Looking at new metrics a measurement on an ROI might also include:
  • Sum of customer interactions
  • Customer perception of brand and organisation 
  • Real advocacy leads to deeper relationships and longer term value. 
  • Armed with the right data, and analysis of customer needs, organisations can start to develop some quick wins achieved through ‘tweaks to transformation’ as opposed to having to always aim for the ‘big bang’ approach. For this to be successful, it has to be led, top down, and staff need to live and breathe this approach. 
  • Finally, it was concluded that successful customer experiences (CX) when taken over the duration of the relationship between an organisation and the customer has the potential to deliver greater financial reward.