Customer experience is increasingly recognised as the key brand differentiator of the future as price and product variances tighten. And for those in the financial services industry (FSI), digital is expected to be the CX battleground as traditional channels give way to digital.

However, contrary to conventional wisdom, competing on CX does not necessarily require a entirely new or radical approach, although it does require a commitment to new ways of thinking and working.

A recent study commissioned by the CSIRO’s Data61 found digital innovation could deliver $315 billion in gross economic value to Australia over the next decade. The report’s author, Dr Andrew Charlton, noted existing industries stood to gain nearly as much from digital technology as those using it to disrupt.

“Digital innovation is critical to improving our nation’s productivity and sustaining economic growth. It’s not just about creating the next Google or replicating Silicon Valley,” Dr Charlton said.

“Rather, almost half of economic benefit from digital innovation comes from the adoption of new technology across existing industries.”

Digital FSI – now or never

This point is particularly evident in the benefits FSI organisations stand to gain from digital technology, notwithstanding several challenges.

In an industry where a small number of typically homogenous financial products compete, research from Adobe suggests improving the digital experience around the product will be the difference maker. So while digital technology may not change core FSI products or services, applying it in other ways like marketing, CRM or onboarding can significantly improve the customer experience.

And at the current pace, improving digital CX may also become a matter of survival for FSI businesses.

Adobe’s research forecasts bank branch visits will fall over 36 per cent over the next four years. Over that same time mobile transactions are set to rise by 121 per cent. Leaders have recognised this trend and are increasingly moving their marketing budgets to digital channels.

Few incumbents would disregard these changes but some may be failing to grasp the speed at which it is occurring. Digital native insurgents and open banking will likely quicken that pace still.

Broadly, the industry leaders appear to be developing strategies in response and many are already shifting to become “digital experience driven business”, according to Adobe, which has long argued experience driven businesses make more money.

FSI analysis by Adobe shows FSI organisations rank “optimising the customer experience” as the single most exciting opportunity of 2018. Data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual is a close second.

However, Adobe argues the two opportunities are intertwined and demarcating customer experience from marketing risks creating another siloed approach that has typically plagued large FSI organisations in the past.

Instead, Adobe says, FSI organisations must take an omnichannel approach across the full digital media ecosystem that leverages data to create actionable insights.

According to Adobe, that ominchannel strategy combined with data-driven decision making and exceptional content is what makes personalisation at scale possible. Even for an industry beset by compliance and legacy system challenges.

However, the strategy is far from a silver bullet. Adobe notes each FSI organisation will vary in maturity and must ask several questions in considering its data strategy;

  • What are you selling?
  • What is your campaign/business objective?
  • What is your channel mix/attribution model?
  • What data is available to you?

With those questions answered, FSI organisations should start now but start small, breaking the omnichannel approach into horizons, according to Adobe.

About the author

Joseph Brookes is a writer for the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit, of which Adobe is a corporate member. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.

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