Digital business transformation is a must if financial institutions want to keep pace with customer experience expectations.

According to Peter Wannemacher, Principal Analyst at Forrester, many financial institutions are moving towards an omni-channel, digital experience but, unfortunately, they are not keeping pace with shifting customer behaviours and expectations.

“If you can’t keep pace,” Peter Wannemacher warns, “you risk becoming irrelevant which could impact your organization’s growth and sustainability.”

Times have changed

Let’s be honest. Until now, financial services companies have had a pretty good run. The majority of organizations in this sector have enjoyed success year after year without having to think too much out of the box or be much different from their competitors.

Those days are over.

Organizations such as Amazon, Google and Apple Pay have exposed consumers to better, cleaner, easier ways to conduct the simpler financial transactions. This has consumers asking, “Why can’t banking with my financial institution be just as easy?”

By embracing a digital business transformation, it can be. Not only that, by fully adopting a digital first approach, a financial institution can create a distinct point of difference from itself and its competition.

Your customers have evolved, so your communications should, too

There are distinct differences between how a financial institution communicates to their customers if they follow a traditional approach versus a customer-centric one.

Moving to a digital experience will pay dividends for financial institutions











As the chart above illustrates, the customer-centric initiatives listed in the right-hand column represent a paradigm shift for many institutions and are only achievable by leveraging digital transformation.

The key to successful digital transformation

The whole reason to commit to an organization-wide digital transformation is to enhance the customer’s experience at every touchpoint of their journey. This can’t be accomplished without data. 

Data provides the context. 

Data provides you with everything you need to know about the customer at the point of engagement: 

• Past behaviour

• Current location

• Environmental factors

• Recent transactions

• User preferences

• Nearby merchants

In other words, when you truly know your customer you’ll know exactly what message and delivery method will resonate with them the most.


How to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed

In order for your financial institution’s digital transformation to be a success you must intimately know all of your customers as well as the channels that would be appropriate to reach them.

A typical financial institution has many, many customer personas which can make intimately understanding each one overwhelming to say the least. To overcome this, here’s my suggestion - 

make a list of all of your customer types and then indicate what wealth bracket they fit into, which generation they fit into and, in general, how digitally capable they are.


wealth management picture










Source: Quadient

Once you have compiled this comparative data you can move onto the next step of this approach.  

Based on the available data, focus on the largest segments to implement your initial digital transformation efforts on.  For example, if the data shows the larger group is digitally adept, they will have a greater appreciation for your digital transformation efforts, and if they’re pleased, will spread the word.  They will become low cost, self-serving digital customers.  The money saved on this group provides a compelling reason to ask supervisors for additional budget that will be needed to educate the less digital savvy personas, which will in turn, reduce costs further.

Some final advice

Digital transformation and making a full commitment to a customer-centric experience is uncharted waters for most decision-makers at financial institutions. For reassurance, some may think the wise path is to imitate their competitors. For those who are leaning this way, I offer this advice.

Don’t copy your competitors. What they are doing is based on their customers, or potentially just a copy of their competitors. Dare to be different. Invest the time that’s necessary so you will intimately know your personas. Then trust the data. Design your digital efforts based on who your customers are and what they want.

Andrew Stevens

Andrew Stevens

Industry Principal, Banking and Financial Services

With nearly 2 decades of experience at one of the worlds largest banks, Andrew is ideally placed to ensure that Quadient’s product suite continues to evolve to meet the needs of today’s financial institutions. His resume covers all aspects of banking operations and technology with respect to customer communications management and customer experience, and he has built a reputation as someone that can successfully execute complex international transformational projects in these fields. He earned his law degree in his home town of Sheffield, UK.

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