This week thousands of people are descending on Las Vegas to debate a deceptively simple question at Money 20/20 – the future of money.
Looking through the agenda, one theme kept remerging. Whether discussing payments, digital marketing, banking or finance, a conversation that is going to dominate this week is how companies can enhance the customer experience.
The answer is so simple it borders on a tautology. Companies that can make 'place' the center of their approach can thrive in a world that is being disrupted and then disrupted again. The fintech revolution is, at its essence, hundreds of companies nipping away at long-held pockets of institutional practice, building a forever-developing “digital future.”
Neither start-up companies nor traditional companies inherently hold advantage in this battle for the future. A recent report from Capgemini said that the “most successful fintech firms have focused on narrow functions or segments with high friction levels or those underserved by traditional financial institutions, but have struggled to profitably scale on their own. Traditional financial institutions have a vast customer base and deep pockets, but with legacy systems holding them back.”
When considering the future direction and position of your company in the context of the many, many conversations held on the Money 20/20 trade show floor, consider these four pillars. They will help ensure the customer stays at the center and your company is positioned for a changing world.
The power of personalization
With digital innovation permeating daily life, personalization can drive business success no matter the business strategy. Young people in the U.S. and China are a powerful economic force. They want integrated financial products. They are driving the growing use of mobile payments and person-to-person payment services offered by Apple, Samsung and Google.
How do these companies succeed? They focus on a person’s behavior – their psychograph – not their demographics. Going beyond the term “millennial” allows companies to integrate themselves into their target audiences’ lifestyles.
Financial services companies are noticing the importance of focusing on what the customer buys, not what the company sells. The "2018 Digital Trends in Financial Services" report found that financial services and insurance companies recognize the importance of targeting and personalization, with more than a third (37%) of respondents describing it a top-three priority.
It should be 100 percent. Customer experience and personalization is more than just that one customer; it is about building an agile, connected and tailored business. To better personalize your offering, you must know who you are targeting, what you are targeting and why it matters.
Embrace complexity, don't just focus on simplicity
When companies think about orchestrating a seamless experience, they have a tendency to focus on simplifying the experience through ease of use of the technology or service. They focus on the lowest common denominator, but that in turn creates standardization and mediocrity. It focuses on what’s easier for them and not for their customers.
The 2018 Digital Intelligence briefing also discusses data-driven marketing as pivotal to increase the customer experience, but financial services companies still haven’t learned the requirements, nor have they processed their powerful data in a way that enhances the customer experience – a practice that other industries have mastered.
Use all your tools, from your data to the use of new technologies, to embrace the complexity of your client and keep them at the center.
It’s a platform, not a product
It is important to not look at your offering as a product, but a platform in which your customer can engage. Within this platform, what is the data and partnership strategies you can employ to create an experience around your product?
The "Futures Industry 2018 Trends" report talks about how financial service and payments providers are tapping into social interactions as a driver of preference for financial services. For example, while Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay were originally designed for online purchases, those programs have expanded to allow person-to-person payments and integration more seamlessly into other apps and services. They have expanded their ecosystem with partnerships to focus on the customer.
Build culture around the customer
Technologies and strategies won’t work without the right culture. How are the leaders of the business approaching the customer experience and how do they tend to deploy it?
If you are a digital marketer within a business, how do you pull together all parts of a business and work across departments to help influence customer experience from origination to product development?
It is not just about the digital marketing techniques, it's about building the momentum across the company as well as the advocacy to enable the customer experience to be center point across all levels of the company.
Diana Alickaj is a Vice President in New York and is attending Money 20/20 this week in Las Vegas. Reach out to get in touch with her and talk more about your business' customer experience, PR and marketing.