Three Big Financial Services Trends for 2017

Craig  McLaughlin

December 19, 2016

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I’ve been thinking about trends for 2017 after recently keynoting an industry conference that brings together the brightest minds in financial services to tackle tough business challenges and stay ahead of emerging trends. While there, I had an opportunity to share how Extractable—a leading agency in the financial services category—is focusing on industry changes and opportunities. But more importantly, it was invaluable to hear how other financial services brands are approaching digital, leveraging new technology, and positioning themselves to extract the utmost of performance for their institutions in the new year.

Three areas emerged as ripe breeding grounds for key trends to watch in 2017: Innovation, Customer Experience and Service, and Internal Strategies and Data Management.

Innovation

Everyone seems to be focused on how banks and financial institutions are evolving in a time of rapid FinTech growth. And indeed, startups are using this FinTech growth to drive innovation through disruption.

Innovation requires brands to look at problems from a fresh vantage point, putting a premium on consumer’s goals, their areas of interest and potential barriers. It’s vital to establish clear, trackable service metrics to ensure you’re solving the right issues and looking at the challenges in the right light. Beyond reframing business challenges, organizations must fundamentality alter their approach to one that takes on a solutions-oriented, co-creation mentality. Instead of building within individual business units, organizations need to look across the entire organization. They need to leverage the domain experience of those who have direct contact with customers in tandem with digital, UX and strategy teams to deliver a consumer experience that embodies the brand through true service delivery.

Customer Experience and Service

The banking relationship continues to move from the branch to digital, and increasingly, to mobile as technology matures. Despite the advances, the basics of banking still apply: Banks win because of strong relationships driven by consistently reliable and rewarding customer experiences. It’s less about transactions and more about interactions.

U.S. Bank has demonstrated their relentless focus to maximizing the consumer experience by leveraging digital channels, and the results are quite remarkable. David Herpers, SVP of Omnichannel Sales and Engagement for U.S. Bank, recently spoke about the importance of mobile, engagement metrics by channel and prioritizing the voice of the consumer. Herpers shared how customers were initially confused by and dissatisfied with the new mobile app U.S. Bank had launched. But instead of giving up and labeling the launch a failure, Herpers looked to the Bill Gates’ quote, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” for inspiration. In this, the bank examined each issue and not only determined a fix, but also found ways of going beyond that to create delight for customers. By focusing on designing a best-in-class digital channel experience, U.S. Bank has been named a model bank by Celent for the last two years in a row.

A Fast Co.Designs article states, “Every dollar spent on UX brings in between $2 and $100 in return,” putting a premium on the consumer and a seamless experience. While originally published in 2012, the principles remain as relevant as ever. If we design for the consumer, we not only gain and retain members, we develop fans.

Internal Strategies and Data Management

The platformification of banking is finally here and banks are well poised leverage it for success. The wave of marketing automation and customer experience optimization through software from Oracle, Salesforce and Adobe his given banks a platform for more efficiently meeting internal and customer needs. With increased intelligence enabling personalized offers and content, banks will be able to deliver relevant and timely information to the correct customer or prospective customer.

Data and measurement continue to evolve away from just simple Google Analytics into compliance and data integrity. Ryan Hatfield, VP at Fifth Third Bank, is working on a single data platform with the ultimate goal of creating a data mart that the entire organization can leverage. The owned data repository would provide efficiencies around marketing and communication efforts to better reach and interact with existing and prospective clients.

Final Thoughts

  • Build or Buy? Banks need to either build solutions through partnerships, rapid hiring/internal growth or via acquisition (i.e., Capital One Acquires Adaptive Path).
  • Good CX is The New Black. It should be and is becoming paramount to success. Investments in UX yield returns.
  • Platformification Continues. Banking as a platform is ready to take off. The proliferation of the API economy is driving customer-centric, value-added services, especially in mobile channels.
  • Omnichannel Matures. And will deliver a truly holistic view of the consumer. We’ll see more comprehensive marketing that seamlessly “follows” the consumer across channels.
  • Mobile Keeps Winning. Consumers will continue to leverage mobile for an increasing number of tasks and in response, banks will innovate and improve experiences.
  • Desktop Specialization Grows. While overall desktop traffic is flat or declining, desktop will begin to fill a specialized role for advanced services.

While customers may no longer be transacting at the bank branch like they used to, they’re experiencing high-quality interactions through new digital offerings, new channels, and new experiences they never dreamed possible. Fueling this transformation, Extractable provides leading digital solutions for financial services organizations looking to own the market with unmatched customer experiences. You can tap into our long history of delivering innovative, award-winning financial services solutions to develop your own best-in-class digital experience. Contact Jordan Wells for more information.