Industry Insights

Spredfast + Lithium CMO on Elevating CX in Financial Services

The era for customer loyalty in financial services is over and it’s now time for them to shift their focus to the customer experience. Customer experience is crucial when it comes to maintaining loyaly and trust in the financial services industry. This is when companies need to be exceeding the CX expectation so that it leads to increased customer satisfaction.
“It's time for the financial services industry to get serious about the customer experience or get left behind” stated a whitepaper conducted by Lithium, a SaaS-based engagement platform enabling brands to connect their customers, content and conversations at the right time and in the right moment.
“Recent fundamental changes in the financial services marketplace have put the entire industry to the test. Trust is at an all-time low, cost pressures are at an all-time high, technology has exploded across mobile, digital, and cloud apps; regulators are invasive (to say the least) and top line growth is elusive at best.”
I was fortunate to connect with Spredfast + Lithium CMO, Katherine Calvert to discuss the biggest trends driving customer experience in the financial services, why customers are transacting with competing brands when it comes to online banking transactions, social network communication and how to create a great multichannel customer experience.

Exclusive Interview With Spredfast + Lithium CMO

What’s the biggest trend that drives customer experience in the financial services industry and why?

“Banking has always been a private and personal experience for people. Not so long ago, all transactions happened in the branch and we can still see legacy customer engagement strategies focused on the branch. But now that options exist beyond brick-and-mortar, consumers expect to engage with their financial institutions when they want, where they want, and how they want. Seamless, personalized, and secure experiences are the new normal, with a predicted 95% of all customer interactions in retail banking to be digital by 2020. Banks are competing for consumers’ trust and business. Modernizing this customer relationship means financial institutions need to think like Apple and Amazon.”

In your whitepaper it states “more and more financial transactions now take place through disruptive competitors like Moven and PayPal, rather than traditional banks.” Why do you think customers are transacting more and more with these disruptive brands instead?

“Convenience and mobility are the trends driving consumers to adopt new banking and payment technologies. Customers have issues to be solved, but 81% of customers don’t want to call a brand to fix it or be held hostage by a session-based chat. In fact, Gartner estimates that the use of traditional support channels (phone, IVR, and email) will shrink from 73% in 2017 to 24% in 2022. These disruptive digital first brands are meeting the consumer where they are and have the agility to change tactics at a moments notice to adapt with the market.”

Your whitepaper also mentions that “Today’s customers consult websites, online communities and with their online social networks for real world insight and advice before ever interacting with brands they may purchase from.” Why do you think we are seeing this behavior from customers?

“Consumers are increasingly self-directed in their interactions with brands, including their banks, insurance providers, and personal investment advisors. With seemingly endless information at their disposal, today’s consumer wants to make sure they are working with a brand that directly suits their needs. Online communities, reviews, and social media offer consumers the chance to hear candidly from their peers about the products and services that work for them and their needs.” 

Creating a great multichannel customer service experience can be challenging in the financial marketplace. What is your advice or key areas to think about when researching, building and managing this process?

“Seamless, satisfying, and personalized experiences across any channel is what today’s consumers want and expect, regardless of industry. Yet, our research found that 58% of consumers have been forced to move to a different channel when making a customer service request (e.g. they start an online chat and then are forced to call into a customer service rep). 49% were left feeling less positive about the brand as a result, with 30% considering taking their business elsewhere. One key area the financial marketplace needs to zero in on is owning the customer experience in order to protect data, comply with regulations, and provide the seamless personalized experience.
Once place financial institutions can own the experience is their communities. The key to having a community in a highly-regulated environment, where privacy must be strictly protected, is to create a place where customers own the decision to join the community, as well as determine their level of engagement and interaction within that community. When you own your social media property, you can customize it to provide security and privacy options that meet compliance while at the same time respect your customers’ individuality. Creating rules of engagement for interactions helps to keep community members (and staff) mindful of how a financial services social community differs from other social media sites, including their own familiar usage of Facebook.”

Ending Notes

A good customer service experience is hard to come by these days, at least for myself anyhow so I tend to search the net first to find an answer before I even think about contacting the business directly first, and according to the report, this holds some truth: “Eighty-nine percent of customers search the web before they buy and 67% search the web before making a service call.”
When it comes to online banking, The Fed claims that “53% of smartphone owners with a bank account use mobile banking, while a survey of lenders reveals that mobile payments are now in moderate or high demand by 63% of customers” and I can relate to this in terms of convenience and efficiency.

“Because customers have become used to best-in-class social brands like Amazon and Uber providing ease of use, convenience, and connectedness, they now extend these high expectations to their financial service providers. Customers want the power of shared information. They want data that makes them smarter and they look for that in customer communities every day.”

To learn more about the state of social customer experience in the financial services industry, the benefits and hazards of large public social networks, and which FSI firms do social right, and the business results they drive, download Lithium's report here now.


Gabriella Pirrone

Gabriella Pirrone

Gabriella is the Digital Marketing Assistant for CMSC Media. She brings a wealth of knowledge from not only a CMS perspective but also content, SEO and eCommerce. She enjoys everything social media and staying ontop of the latest trends in the digital marketing world. 

Featured Case Studies