Organisations are urged to embrace digital transformation to remain competitive. Jonathan Jardim, software developer at SilverBridge Holdings, believes that while technology forms an important part of this process, the human element should not be forgotten.
“We are living in a connected world where companies are competing against global organisations. Customers are also more technology literate than in the past, resulting in changing expectations around the availability of products and services. This puts executives under pressure to not only [digitally] transform but to do so while still keeping the bottom-line in mind,” he says.
Even though every industry faces this balancing act, few are under as direct customer pressure for innovation as financial services. After all, when it comes to money and spending it, people are more critical about insurers, banks, and other financial institutions than before.
And these traditional financial institutions are not losing these customers to other, more traditional competitors. Instead, the emergence of fintechs, that are much nimbler due to their technology-led approach, are seeing people seriously consider them as viable alternatives.
So, if a financial services company will struggle to differentiate purely based on technology, what options are there?
“The most simplistic answer is to refocus on customer engagement. And this is not to say it is merely a case of responding to emails quicker and using friendlier call centre staff. Instead, it is about combining effective data analysis with new market dynamics to stay more in tune with how customer behaviour is changing,” says Jardim.
Think of it as utilising digital transformation resources to gain a deeper understanding of the data that is intrinsic to a financial services provider. That data can be used for a myriad of purposes — central of which is to understand what products and services are required for specific customer demands.
It is no longer good enough just to provide solutions that meet a broad segment of needs. Instead, companies need to provide significantly more tailored offerings that service a niche. Adopting a more engagement-driven model around digital transformation is something that needs to permeate the entire organisation.
“Reimagining the customer experience in the age of digital should be a strategic discussion taking place in every boardroom the world over. Irrespective of industry, any business that relies on customers to survive, need to take a hard look at how engagement needs to happen in a digital environment.”
The Robin Report cites five key elements in understanding customer expectations — identity, consistency, responsiveness, convenience, and influencing behaviour.
While this might sound relatively simplistic, it is concerning how quickly companies get bogged down in technical implementations and foregoing customer sentiment. There is very little brand loyalty in this digital environment resulting in customers moving from one company to the next as their needs change. These moves happen even more frequently if there is a lack of understanding from the current service provider.
“Innovating on engagement and applying the learnings towards customising solutions has to be a business priority. The willingness to change and adapt solutions for this environment will differentiate financial service providers for the months and years to come,” he says.