Today most financial services organizations are focused on how they can deliver a better customer experience (CX). This interest is being driven by consumers looking for more meaningful digital engagement — and is shared by 60 percent of CEOs at the most financially successful organizations. Read any study you like to quantify this. But just think about when you opened the Calm app for the first time, your last trip to a Disney theme park, or yesterday’s lunch delivered from DoorDash. These “perceptual competitors” deliver experiences that are filled with emotion, that are relevant to me—and all with an immediacy we never dreamed of before. So what stands in the way of financial services organizations aiming to achieve this same goal?

CX success blocker 1: Lack of accountability among leadership

Financial services companies know how important experience is, but CX responsibility is being scattered across the enterprise with very little accountability. We see examples of poor governance and lack of coordinated efforts that negatively impact key points in the journey. In response, some financial services organizations are introducing a Chief Experience Officer (CXO) or rethinking the role of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) to bring accountability for stitching together the CX. However, one person alone cannot ensure success.

The answer: Your focus on CX management must be embedded in the company culture and thoughtfully applied at all levels of the organization—while communicating the importance of CX and its business benefits. Financial services brands must bring an intense focus on uncovering customer needs, then optimizing processes and building agile capabilities across every touchpoint of the customer journey.

CX success blocker 2: Security fears hinder innovation and cloud adoption

Many industries have turned to the cloud because of its agility, enabling rapid innovation that unlocks great CX. So why haven’t many financial services organizations taken advantage of the cloud? It should come as no surprise that regulations around security and data handling have made such a move challenging. There simply has not been a cloud solution available that adequately meets these regulatory requirements until now.

The answer: Get an assurance that you can de-risk the cloud journey. Find a security-rich hybrid cloud environment that offers out-of-the-box controls designed for financial services regulatory compliance and security. Then focus on innovating faster—in ways that better serve your CX.

CX success blocker 3: Acquiring the tools, but lacking the skills and structure

Having the right tools to deliver exceptional CX is an important part of the equation. But surprisingly, many financial services organizations stop there. There is a missed opportunity to enable workforces to effectively use these tools, while re-thinking CX processes that embrace automation.

The answer: First define your design principles, workflows and structures that unite people with technology. Second, focus on future role definitions and fluid upskilling—as some roles will evolve, some will go away, and some new roles might emerge. Third, optimize your processes so your entire workforce can get the most from your current technology investments. Finally, design an effective communication strategy that ensures all stakeholders know why change is happening and are prepared for it. Remember that communication is a two-way street: listen to both your employees and customers to improve your CX processes.

If better CX is your goal, where do you start?

Every financial services company starts their digital transformation and CX improvement process because of a different catalyst: maybe you want to increase acquisitions, improve customer retention, or enhance servicing quality. Your first step is analyzing the performance of your digital experiences. Next, listen to your customer pain points, frustrations and aspirations. Then talk with your captive front-line workforce— financial advisors, insurance agents, salespeople, research analysts—to understand what’s working, and what’s not. Rinse and repeat, eventually turning your insights into actions. Finally, bring your enterprise along for the journey as you collectively design, build and run your future CX together!

Learn more about how IBM & Adobe are helping financial services companies drive customer experience innovation; or connect with an IBM iX consultant to begin your journey of digital transformation.

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