CRM & CX: What's Changing in the Finance Industry?
Today, providing an excellent customer experience (CX) is a critical competitive differentiator for companies that offer financial services, such as banks and credit unions. Financial services companies that invest in CX have higher recommendation rates and are more likely to up-sell or cross-sell products and services to their existing customers. This has incentivized companies to review their current offerings and provide hyper-individualized CX.
Even though many financial services companies may believe their digital transformation initiatives have resolved customer experience issues, some may have increased complexity. This may have happened as data has been locked in different systems, communication has broken down, and customer journeys have been fragmented over the years of incorporating siloed new tools and third-party ecosystem partners.
To be successful, financial services companies should deliver unified, less complicated customer journeys to improve CX and ensure customers always know where they stand, what’s next, and how to get help quickly. They must break down silos and increase visibility, collaboration, and communication to alter the customer experience before customers become frustrated and leave.
Disruptive Forces in the Finance Industry
It’s only logical that the CX condition has evolved considerably due to factors such as quarantines, remote employment, increased customer susceptibility, etc. the traditional business-to-consumer dynamic has changed. The importance of prioritizing CX in modern financial services companies must be considered. The loyalty, retention, and revenue of customers of companies that emphasized CX have increased dramatically.
CX investments have historically paid off well, leading to happier customers, more revenue, and deeper loyalty. The growing emphasis on individual preferences is a significant force in the evolution of customer experience. Customers have come to demand individualized services that meet their specific requirements and interests. 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a financial services company if they receive individualized assistance. As a result, businesses that utilize personalization can anticipate increased profits, loyalty, and pleasure from their clientele. 
Another item that’s likely to leave its mark on the CX environment is omnichannel. Customers in the modern day anticipate consistent experiences across all their preferred channels and devices. Financial services companies that offer a consistent omnichannel experience are more likely to see a rise in satisfied and loyal customers. Robust multichannel customer interaction strategies help businesses keep 89% of their consumers, while inadequate systems only save 33%. 
AI will likely leave its imprint on the CX environment in the following years, just as it has on other sectors. Chatbots and virtual assistants powered by artificial intelligence (AI) are gaining popularity and are expected to become more common soon. With these tools, customers may get the help they need quickly and easily, allowing support staff to focus on more complex issues.
Top 5 CX Trends in the Financial Industry
The success of any financial services company depends on its ability to attract and retain customers by consistently satisfying their needs. Companies should consider client experience before losing customers. Profits take a hit due to harm to the company’s reputation, a drop in new business, and an exodus of talented employees. So, with this in mind, let’s look at the top customer experience trends in the financial services industry:
- Data integration is still a hot topic
Financial services companies can improve their decision-making by combining data from multiple sources. Data silos and incomplete customer profiles persist for many companies despite best efforts to expedite data collection, organization, and analysis. Typically, financial services companies have a siloed structure. Credit unions, mortgage, loans, and retail banking often operate autonomously using specialized software sets. Therefore, providing a consistent and harmonious customer experience across all service channels can be challenging. Consequently, integrating resources is the initial first step towards a better CX.
Better decisions can be made to increase client loyalty if data can be consolidated into a single location, such as a dashboard that’s updated in real-time to guide agents toward better customer service. Also, many companies have benefited from transferring their retail network of agents to a consolidated data center because frontline employees can now respond to closed-loop feedback and raise escalations promptly. The goal is to use data and analytics early in the planning process to establish a baseline of information to gauge future progress.
- Investment in AI-driven efficiencies is a top focus
Customized call routing, customization via automation, chatbots, and intelligent self-service are all examples of AI technology gaining traction in the CX industry. The financial services sector is pressured to deliver seamless digital experiences to customers, and artificial intelligence is a strategic investment area. This sector has been able to continue swiftly handling service requests thanks mainly to automating the process for many typical client requests, freeing up agents to offer help and fix more complex issues primarily.
The advantages of a digital CX that puts people first are numerous. To begin with, you’ll be able to provide consistent help and communication. Doing this lets you keep better tabs on your customers’ whereabouts and actions. In addition, it enables you to concentrate on your customers’ needs. Proactive customer engagement entails asking for and acting on feedback, providing timely messages, and initiating substantive dialogues.
Humanizing your digital CX begins with creating a journey map for your customers. You should be able to provide the same level of service across all mediums with a humanized digital CX. Knowing the stage of your customer’s journey will also assist you in anticipating their needs.
- Customers can accomplish more tasks with the help of self-service
The use of AI-enhanced and knowledge-powered self-service channels is rising in many industries. Self-service solutions, such as apps and portals, aid financial services companies by giving around-the-clock support and diverting inquiries away from more expensive customer contact channels. These solutions also facilitate the completion of activities that would otherwise necessitate the purchase of additional specialized software, particularly for commercial clients. Disruptors built from the ground up for the digital age are setting the standard for their traditional counterparts.
Solutions developed by fintech companies enable clients to perform administrative tasks previously handled by bookkeepers or, more recently, by business software. These tasks include, among others, the management of expenses, the transmission of digital receipts via email, the creation of invoices, and the organization of recurring expenditures into distinct categories.
To succeed, you must provide a personalized customer experience. The best way to set your organization apart from rivals and suit customers’ unique needs is to personalize their interactions with your brand. However, before providing a tailored service to each consumer, you should divide them into smaller groups with similar characteristics. Customers can be segmented in several ways, including their demographics, behavior, and lifecycle stage. This will allow you to tailor your messaging to them, zero in on the most promising leads, and provide superior service to your existing customers.
- Keeping digital CX in check combines creativity & regulation
True digital transformation necessitates a broader range of strategies and systems that provide better data management, AI, and self-service innovations, crucial to digitizing customer service. Customers now want financial services companies to have cloud computing, invest in cybersecurity, and eliminate paperwork, including when creating an account.
Consumers’ priorities have rapidly shifted from a multichannel to an omnichannel perspective, emphasizing the importance of continuity and uniformity across all touchpoints. Customer onboarding, automated feedback, and especially AI-enabled predictive analytics have all benefited greatly from digitization. Companies prioritize treasury management, so having access to straightforward, productive, and safe technologies is crucial.
- Establishing credibility & proven dependability to deliver
The financial services sector places a premium on time-honored principles like trust and reliability. To earn a customer’s trust, a business must demonstrate compassion through conversation and active listening, then use that information to implement changes that improve operations and increase product appeal. Building trust takes time, yet betrayal may happen in a second. The key to building trust with your customers is pinpointing the moments that matter most and then exceeding their expectations at those times. Customers in the financial industry expect to be treated properly, have open lines of communication, and have access to helpful technology.
Financial organizations that want to improve their CX should offer incentives to their employees. If your staff is happy, they can better connect with potential customers, maintain brand loyalty, and establish a trust to keep existing ones. Workers are invaluable as brand ambassadors since they’re customers’ first and last point of contact. The level of customer happiness is directly proportional to the quality of service provided by your staff. Even if everything went swimmingly during the digital phase, your prospects would only be convinced once your team hears that you genuinely care about giving them the CX they deserve.
Navigating the New Normal: CX Transformation in the Financial Services Sector
Customer experience has become increasingly important to modern consumers, especially in the financial sector. The latest golden standard in customer service is now considered to immediately provide customers with what they want. The customer is the driving force behind the current reformation of customer service and the digital change we’re witnessing. More than half (57%) of financial services companies reported needing to update their business model. 
How has SoftClouds improved CX for companies?
Use Case 1: Sales Automation – The architects at SoftClouds did an innovative digital transformation solution for a 100%-member-owned credit union based in California. They’re a full-service, not-for-profit credit union in business for more than 40 years. SoftClouds’ solutioning is a Sales Cloud implementation with a complete set of features that include sales automation, lead scoring and ranking, personalized templates for marketing, and role-based reporting capabilities. Multiple external systems were integrated for a better customer experience. The customer had a huge advantage in cost savings and ROI due to the modernized sales process and personalized reporting that helped the management to make better decisions.
Use Case 2: Service Automation – The customer was in the financial industry for over 90+ years, based in Utah, and had over 100 branches spanning Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. They needed a newer CX and digital transformation to help with customer service management, unorganized documentation, and security. The solution engineers at SoftClouds implemented the service cloud with knowledge and migrated the older knowledge base to the newer platform. The newly designed customer portal was highly personalized and could provide an efficient search with customized reports and dashboards. The highly accurate and efficient search helped the consumers 24×7, thus providing a huge ROI and higher profitability.
Use Case 3: Sales Automation – With high-value financial products and services, the customer was a trusted financial credit union and partner for thousands of members in Texas and worldwide. Before the digital transformation, the customer had manual business processes and needed a way to manage territory-based sales, proper communication tools or reporting hierarchy, and forecasting and reporting mechanisms, due to which there was no suitable CX. The transformation focused on automation in business processes and automated reporting with territory management. SoftClouds also implemented CX Cloud Mobile, enabling Social Cloud for internal chat and sales activities so that the customer could track sales activities and get total control over sales. This full sales automation helped the customer have complete visibility across the financial organization.
Future-Proofing CX in Finance: Strategies & Best Practices for Long-Term Success
Customer experience is about the people you interact with and how you may improve their lives via your efforts. The experience-first business was first popularized in the CX sector because of the clear benefits of customer retention and lifetime value. However, the benefits to consumer income are only the tip of the iceberg when one further investigates experience design and optimization.
While surveys help learn about customers, they must be improved as a management tool to gauge CX performance or locate and capitalize on CX prospects. Organizations require a 360-degree picture of the customer journey and the capacity to gain deep, granular insight into what drives customer experience if they lead from a customer-centric posture. They need real-time and personalized signals to respond at the moment and tailor experiences to each consumer. They must prove that increasing spending on customer satisfaction will increase revenue.
My Thoughts: The Future of CX in the Finance Industry
The financial services sector is constantly evolving, making it imperative for CX managers to monitor market trends and adjust as necessary. Banks must improve their services and goods to cater to consumers’ most pressing wants and needs while ensuring that any alterations they make are profitable. Predicting the future is never safe, yet certain factors indicate a direction.
In the future, mobility will provide a more robust, contextual, and individualized banking and financial experience, bringing “every customer having their bank in their pocket” one step closer to reality. There’s also an effort to make banking and other financial services easier. The sector must learn from successful CX initiatives in retail and the car industry.
Regarding CX, the banking business has advanced further than its peers in the financial services industry. It’s instructive to look at the current trend where customers can bundle insurance products from different suppliers using subscription-based models. The future of customer service will have both robotic and human helpers. Financial services companies that prioritize customer satisfaction will see an increase in revenue.
Brian Friedman, VP of Global Strategic Sales at SoftClouds, wrote this post. He has a background in technology, business development, corporate management, and sales. Brian has been responsible for the creation and growth of numerous companies developing successful long-term relationships that have resulted in double-digit sales growth and continuing business expansion.
SoftClouds is a recognized leader in CRM/CX transformation with experience in numerous service cloud implementations with pre-configured best practice business processes for multiple verticals/domains.
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