“The differentiators and the people who will succeed…are those who figure out how to redefine the relationship with the end consumer and perhaps to monetize it in different ways,” said Sean Cornwell, Chief Digital Officer at Travelex.
He joined several experts from the financial sector at the “Digital Innovation & Disruption in Fintech” panel, held at the inaugural U.K. CDO Summit at the BBC in London, England, on October 29, 2014.
The financial and investment industries are usually more conservative than other sectors, especially when it comes to digital transformation. In his annual CDO Talent Map, CDO Club founder David Mathison revealed that only 4% of companies in the financial sector had a Chief Digital Officer in 2014, compared to 36% in advertising.
However, Mathison also noted, “Everything that happened in the advertising and media sectors, we can predict will happen in every other sector.”
“It is something that you absolutely have to do. It’s core and fundamental, and if you don’t then you will be left straggling,” Cornwell said. “Ultimately, consumer expectation only goes in one direction: up and to the right—more personalized, more tailored, more convenient. And your competitors are just a click away.”
Cornwell is no stranger to enhancing offline relationships through digital innovation, as he previously served as Managing Director of online dating company e-Harmony’s international markets and mobile business, and, prior to that, as Group Product Marketing Manager for Google in EMEA. Along with the other panelists, he provided several key ways in which financial and investment services companies can use digital innovation to offer a better value proposition for their customers.
Panelists included, shown from left to right in the photo and video below:
- Joanna Levesque (Moderator): Managing Director at Accenture
- Andrew Brem: Chief Digital Officer at Aviva
- Jonathan Webster: COO, Group Digital at Lloyd’s Banking Group
- Nick Hungerford: CEO at Nutmeg
- Sean Cornwell: Chief Digital Officer at Travelex
1. Use data to deliver a more personal service
Traditionally, the investment industry has relied on relationship managers to provide personalized service to their customers. Nutmeg takes a completely opposite approach.
“We say centralization of data, if done correctly, will deliver a service far more personal than a relationship manager can ever deliver,” Nutmeg CEO Nick Hungerford said.
Connecting to a customer via social media, for example, can deliver important details like whether they had changed jobs recently. The financial institution can then immediately offer a package of new services that better fits that customer’s new salary.
“The customer relationship with digital is far more powerful, if done correctly, than it will ever be [when] desegregated and human,” he concluded.
2. Use digital to engage customers in new, relevant ways
“The consumer conundrum is that this stuff is really important, but it’s really dull. Most consumers are incredibly disengaged from energy and financial services,” explained Andrew Brem.
When he worked as Managing Director of the Connected Homes unit of British Gas, the utility launched a mobile application that allowed consumers to control the heating in their own homes. “For most people, heating is something that lives in a cobwebby cupboard that they never go into,” he said. “Suddenly, we found half of people were using this every day. So suddenly our brand was relevant every day.”
People were checking the temperature of their homes all the time, Brem remarked. They even wanted to compare that number to the temperature in other people’s homes, or to different dates.
“What we were really looking for was a nugget of a relevant form of engagement that wasn’t currently there. That, to my mind, was the ultimate consumer insight to have. How can we provide something that will be genuinely useful and relevant for consumers—not just a free cup of coffee from a big company with a brand?
3. Provide a connected, seamless service across channels using customer identity
“One of the most powerful things with digital is the way it enables and enhances channels that have been traditionally nondigital,” Joanna Levesque said.
Cornwell warned that this omni-channel model only works if all the channels are connected through a common customer profile that can be tracked.
“You need that common customer identity threading through it all so that these aren’t different channels,” he said. “Because—no surprise—that’s not how customers or consumers think. To them, they want a seamless and continuous and uninterrupted experience across everything.”
“We think of them as segments, but actually they’re an individual with personal likes and dislikes and quirks,” Jonathan Webster added.
“The bank will no longer hold your money, but [will] hold your identity,” Hungerford said.
4. Don’t be afraid to let consumers drive digital innovation
“Follow the customer. Be where the customer wants you to be,” Webster advised.
“The wave of technology used to be driven by industry. Now it’s driven by consumers. Everybody is a consumer.”
Technologies that consumers already use every day, such as social media, can be adopted to improve the customer-business relationship. Brem gave the example of Geek Squad, Best Buy’s customer tech support service, which created Facebook-type profiles for their agents.
“There was a much stronger interaction there between customers and agents than ever there was when it was kind of pure, predigital human interaction,” Brem noted.
“Technology can make physical humans more human than they were when they were just physical humans.
5. Don’t be afraid to push innovation onto your customers
“My sense increasingly is that, actually, with some customers, it’s helpful to nudge them. Not from your selfish point of view to cut costs, but, once nudged, they prefer it,” Brem said.
When he did research on potentially launching an online-only energy company, Brem was met with negative feedback from consumers. But when he compared the idea to other online-only services customers were already using, such as Amazon, they quickly changed their minds.
“If you look at a Facebook or a YouTube, they constantly not just nudge, but kick their consumers to actually do things differently,” Cornwell added.
View the video of the Fintech Panel below.....
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