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3 Ways Financial Services Companies Can Keep Pace with Ever-Changing Customer Expectations


By Neil Greathead,  CCO of Smart Communications

We’re all aware that the balance of power has shifted from companies to customers. Customers don’t want to be communicated to – they want to be communicated with and have a two-way dialogue with companies. When it comes to the current quality of communications within the financial services industry, our recent benchmark study revealed only 33 percent of customers surveyed feel that the companies they do business with always communicate through their preferred methods.

With easier access to what competitors are offering, maintaining customer loyalty is more challenging than ever before. According to PWC, one in three customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience. Customer demands are at an all-time high and still growing! Every communication sent, every contract, every email, every account statement, text message or push notification is all a part of the larger, ongoing conversation with your customer.

Ultimately, every business will reach a point where customer communications are at risk of breaking down due to growing complexities. With more channels, more customers, more touchpoints, more interactions, and more disruptions, now is the time for businesses to take the proper steps in order to provide the exceptional communication experiences that today’s customers expect.

Here are three ways companies within the financial services industry can proactively scale customer communications and keep up with ever-changing customer expectations.

Embrace Digital Transformation

As stated by industry expert and keynote speaker Greg Verdino, “Digital transformation closes the gap between what digital customers already expect and what analog businesses actually deliver.” To succeed in today’s digitally connected world, companies must embrace digital transformation. Yet with 75 percent of CIOs stating their enterprises will fail to meet all their digital objectives in 2019, we realize this is no easy feat. Whether companies are being held back by conflicting priorities, budget restrictions legacy systems, or simply the fear of the unknown or uncertainty over where to start, there’s still an underlying pressure to bolster the customer experience.

The good news is, while it might not be easy, it will be worth it. The promised benefits of digital transformation remain huge for companies – especially those within the financial services industry. How do we know? We’ve witnessed these successes firsthand! For example, after migrating to our cloud-based customer communications management (CCM) solution Smart Communications helped one multinational US investment bank successfully condense their template change process from 160 hours to 16 hours. We’ve also seen a leading financial services company receive a total cost-benefit of $16.7 million in just three years, achieving an ROI of 260 percent. Saved time, resources, and an increased ROI are only a few examples of how digital transformation ultimately enables businesses to focus more on the customer experience.

Automate Processes to Deliver Personalized, Scalable Conversations

​As your customer base grows, personalization becomes more challenging. To be successful, enterprises must deliver highly personalized communications at tremendous scale. Modern CCM technology can make this possible by improving internal efficiencies and automating processes. Cloud-based platforms can go a long way in making this vision a reality by making it easier for different groups within an organization to collaborate—thus breaking down departmental silos.  They are also able to more easily integrate with other pieces of technology in an enterprise’s ecosystem, which ultimately leads to a more comprehensive and holistic view of the customer which makes providing a more consistent and personalized customer experience (CX) throughout the entire lifecycle much more attainable.

Our platform alone has facilitated more than 50 billion conversations between our users and their customers to date. And we’re communicating to more than 125 million credit card users on an ongoing basis – scaling the conversations related to more than $2 trillion in annual spend!

Introduce New Channels to Retain Customers

While print is not going away entirely, now is the time for a strong shift toward digital – and enterprises must be prepared to deliver. ​Our benchmark study found that while email is the preferred communication channel for customers in both the US and UK, 66 percent of business leaders admit that less than 40 percent of their communications are being distributed via email. Clearly, there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

To meet customers’ expectations of recognizing their individual preferences – while also handling the many ways your customers now interact with your brand, a CCM solution must be poised to deliver interactive, on-demand, and batch communications – and to do so via multiple delivery channels. Companies that get this right, stand to benefit substantially. According to research conducted by the Aberdeen Group, companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89 percent of their customers, compared to 33 percent for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.

Looking for more customer communications inspiration? Watch our webinar, Timely, Relevant, Meaningful: Building Powerful Customer Communications in Financial Services, and gain expert insight into how financial services companies can effectively scale their customer communications to succeed in today’s high expectation environment.