Simplifying the customer journey – is omni-channel the way forward for marketing in financial services?

Retail Financial Services

Retail Financial Services

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Facilitated and written by: Elizabeth Martin, KPMG
Expert: James Murray, MicrosoftSession 1:

Headline finding 1:

The customer channel is changing – more people are researching and interacting online. By the time they visit a store or branch, they generally know what they want and are fully informed

Headline finding 2:

There is a challenge in the sharing of date, between entities, channels and so on. Companies are still navigating their way through privacy and data sharing issues.

Headline finding 3:

Companies are looking at how they can bring data sources together (including search) to optimize the customer journey and offer tailored solutions.

Headline finding 4:

Financial service’s standards are so complex, and with so much information available, customers are confused. Companies want to use information/ data to simplify the choices for customers.

Headline finding 5:

Many companies are struggling to keep up to date with changes in technology. By the time they have researched, developed and implemented a product solution, often it is already out of date.

What are the next steps?

a)     Regulators need to work with the industry to understand their challenges around data, privacy, etc., particularly around how companies analyse and measure customer behavior through their data.

b)    As customers move online, there is a trend towards self-service. However, financial service organisations are still held accountable for suitability of product choices. Government needs to work with industry to address this challenge, when online purchases often means that less information can be obtained on the customer.

c)    As an industry, we need to increase the education of the customer and basic finance should be taught in schools. We need to empower the individual to be in charge of their own destiny and ensure there is a strong safety net to protect them.

d)    We need to develop a common language to communicate with customers. Financial services are complex, and customers are confused. We need to remove the jargon, complex forms and legal documents to make it simple for customers. The example of Hargreaves was raised here.

                                                                                               

Session 2:

Headline finding 1:

Customers are frustrated by having to re-authenticate or repeat information as they move from channel to channel.

Headline finding 2:

Companies are challenged to collect data and link data sources to have a good understanding of who their customer is.

Headline finding 3:

The financial services industry has been built up around products rather than the customer. They need to change this to be more customer-centric.

Headline finding 4:

Legacy IT systems are a barrier to omni – channel, but with technology changing so quickly it’s hard to keep up and know that any investment won’t be obsolete by the time it is implemented.

Headline finding 5:           

The customer journey starts long before the actual purchase. One needs continuity in dealing with customers so that companies can understand who their customers are throughout the whole process.

What are the next steps?

a)     Regulators need to be practical around regulation, and need to see the benefits of customers instead;

b)    Government initiatives around savings have forced financial service organisations to focus on ensuring they comply with regulations, rather than focusing on how to deliver customer needs. It has removed the choice for the customer.

c)    There is not stability in regulation – Financial Service can be politically motivated. Initiatives announced in budget speeches may not be consistent with the industry. 

The Government needs to have a clear strategy and leave time for companies to implement policies. Companies want certainty, not policies that vary by political parties.


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