What can we learn from the CXA19 winners of Customer Centricity in Financial Services?
There is lots to learn from the winners – Gold: Direct Line Group, Silver: Ageas and Bronze: Vitality Health.
To my mind customer centricity is a tough call in financial services because all too many incumbents are tied up in legacy culture, systems and business models. You can see this from the poor NPS scores, slow pace of innovation and in truth by the experience of being their customers. This is despite the very real current challenge from fintech start-ups like Monzo which now has 20% penetration and the looming all encompassing disruption just over the horizon we can expect from data expert retailers like Amazon and EBay. Coming is deep personalisation and rapid continuous innovation that will knock the big old incumbent brands right out of the stadium.
So what did I learn:
#1 Customer Centricity is more than an initiative.
While all the short listed finalists were worthy contenders I believe customer centricity must go deeper Into the organisation than an initiative in Customer Experience or a research project in voice of the customer. Customer Centricity implies a culture (change) throughout the organisation to put the customer first, involve the customer and deliver added value to the customer. The business strategy and senior leadership team must recognise that delivering a customer value proposition leads to lifetime value, advocacy and ROI. Don’t assume that increasing NPS leads to increased ROI – prove it and the business will align behind it. Functional specialists must work together to build customer value around a new business model and to do that they must get close and involve the customer. Digital user experience and human sales and service teams must work together to deliver the proposition and above all the organisation must listen and indeed invite the customer to participate as an equal partner. This is a massive and vital culture change.
#2. It’s a journey.
Customer Centricity is a business strategy and a way of life but it’s also a journey with no end. Customer expectations continue to increase and challengers will bring novel and value adding solutions that leap-frog positions that established brands have taken years to reach. Incumbents must pick up the pace of innovation and recognise there is no end point.
#3 Answer the question.
The CXA19 awards comprise written entries and presentations. Judges spend considerable time reviewing the written entries so make sure they are coherent and tell a compelling, evidence based story that leads from the business strategy through the solutions to a commercial result that adds real value for customers. I was very impressed by the winning presentation teams who brought deep knowledge and enthusiasm. They set me thinking about how to improve my own presentation style – be yourself and let your personality shine though, tell human stories, don’t rehash material from the written submission (The judges have already read it carefully) and listen to my questions. When I ask questions it’s because I think there it missing content. So if you tell me that your NPS has improved strongly as a result of your work and I look you up on Trustpilot and see 6.6 and 46% one star reviews you will need to give me a compelling answer!
#4 Make sure you enter next year.
This is a tough category but customer centricity is vital to the continued existence of incumbent brands in financial services. Disruptive change is coming and although it always takes longer to get going than we assume this don’t fall for the false sense of security because the resultant tsunami will be overwhelming and ultimately will sweep away the traditional players. I encourage fintechs and disruptors to enter the CX Awards to show us what naturally embedded Customer Centricity looks like. Traditional niche brands like local building societies have an opportunity too to demonstrate that truly human relationships can provide the very best help and support. The judging is totally honest – we really do assess based on what we see and hear so you are on a level playing field.
Well done to the short listed entrants and winners, you are well on the journey to long term success and a shining example from which we can all learn.
Ultimately the winners are about great people, and it was a pleasure to meet you.
Finalists in this award category were:
Mary/Matchbox & Black Horse Finance
Direct Line DLG
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