The digital landscape has changed significantly with the huge uptake of consumer digital devices. The initial ‘wow factor’ of digital devices and applications has died-down as these have become more mainstream as consumers have become more digitally aware and empowered. As much as there is an expectation on the hardware itself to continue to evolve, there are also huge expectations on the experience offered by the plethora of web and mobile applications/software. Users today have become more savvy and comfortable with digital technologies and experiences and there is a direct relationship between increased use of digital services and the expectations of today’s users. And unless the experience matches that expectation complaints won’t be going away anytime soon.
People have different preferences when it comes to absorbing information. Some learn visually, others like tactile experiences, or there are those people who just prefer to listen. Customers want to consume information how they want, at the pace they’re comfortable with and then delve deeper where they choose. For example, visual stimulus, interactive tools and video all help people to engage and improve customer understanding, making them more likely to choose the right products in the first place – thus reducing potential complaints.
Customer experience needs a digital overhaul
Financial services companies need to think about whether they’re set-up to evolve their customer experiences in-line with changing customer needs. Being adaptable and nimble is critical because technology is changing at such a rapid rate. We’re even starting to see instances where customer expectations are exceeding the rate of technological change. Because people’s needs and expectations are changing faster than ever, companies need to work out how to keep pace with this.
A key factor is customer experience being taken seriously at a Board level. Unless people at the top of the organisation are fully committed, they’re never going to be able to deliver the transformational change that’s required within the financial services world. A committed board will always find ways not to compromise on their customer experience ambitions and as a result they will find customer satisfaction soaring – and complaints plummeting.
The financial services sector needs to catch-up! Consumers have seen the banking industry evolve its customer experience, from receiving out-of-date monthly bank statements through the post to allowing customers to manage their bank balances using a desktop computer. Today’s consumers access an even more streamlined process and carry their bank accounts in their pockets, and are able to make balance transfers, pay bills and much more, wherever and whenever they want.
For the financial services industry to flourish, especially in the investment and insurance sectors, companies need to make this leap. Today, the digital user experience plays a crucial sales and service role in financial services.
It’s fair to say that those who do not invest in the quality of the user experience will be left in the wake of those that do. It’s important to create digital user experiences that fit into people’s everyday lives and the time of seeing digital as another distribution channels is gone – it’s now the most significant distribution channel.
By Jeremy Mugridge, marketing director at Instinct Studios.
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