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How Financial Services Consumers are Managing their Products and Services

In my last blog post I revealed the findings from a piece of research that we commissioned Vanson Bourne to conduct. We set out to shine a light into how the latest smart devices are being used and how they’re impacting and influencing the ‘research’, ‘purchase’ and ‘recommend and share’ parts of the customer journey.

As part of that project, Vanson Bourne examined how consumers in the UK are managing their financial services products and services using the same range of wireless technologies.

Consumer views about financial services can be complex and potentially emotive but on the flipside, the relationship between customer and bank can be reasonably lengthy. That’s if they find an organisation that they can trust and one that offers convenience, value and innovation in choice and access to intangible ‘items’ they have bought.

Set behind those drivers is the regulatory agenda, the back-end IT architecture, the high level of competition and the ways each business can take more market share from others.

Key research findings:
• 85% of people have used financial products or services online
• A third of people have checked their financial statements online
• 59% have paid an organisation or bill online
• 47% of consumers have looked for information online
• 46% of people have paid another person
• Just over a quarter have bought a financial product or service
• 12% of consumers have recommended a product or service, or shared links to them with friends and family

The best practice is surely in continually monitoring both the macro and micro market and consumer landscape with their behaviours - designing the experiences to make financial sense. Open source technology can often unlock some of the inherent challenges which working in financial services sector can bring to IT specialists and marketers.

Open source has the unique potential to access and use data in an existing combination of systems into a central platform, paving the way for those automated, personalised and contextualised customer experiences. Often, the technology isn’t the barrier, it’s ensuring that all those used by an organisation can use their data and communicate it accordingly, encompassing customer communications, customer services, marketing and digital functions. Our work with insurance business, LV=, showed that taking just one of those areas - in this case customer services and designing a new knowledge bank for the team – letting the team help create the solution using open source technology can drastically improve customer relationships. Call times decreased, more customer questions were resolved first time and the customer service team became more engaged.

As a result of this piece of research and our experience in working collaboratively with financial services brands across the world, we know both the appetite from, and expectations of, customers of our financial institutions for digital services, has never been higher. Yet in the UK, only 35% of customers say they rate their experiences as a 9 or 10 out of 10, so there’s still room for improvement.

Once robust business and consumer insight is enabled by the various connected IT systems and platforms, it can be intimidating but hugely exciting to be in a position to deliver the next phase: truly personalised customer journeys. The reward will be worth it, as 69% of consumers say they would provide personal information in exchange for more tailored financial advice.

The ongoing and evolving result must surely be a more efficient and innovative way to provide and market products and services, improved relationships with your customers and a more dynamic way to run a 21st century financial services provider.

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