What's neCXt for financial services brands?

In a meeting of the minds, Episerver partner Verndale partnered with independent firms Digital Clarity Group and Vanson Bourne to explore the near future of customer experience in context with the evolving technologies that are shaping the way brands and customers connect.

Fifty senior customer experience decision makers from the financial sector were surveyed  to gain perspective on how the key technologies covered in NECXT impact their business today, and how they will affect their organization in the years ahead. 

Here are four takeaways from the survey data of financial sector CX decision-makers: 

1. Delivering on the Promise of Personalization 

Eighty-four percent of financial services respondents report that their organization needs to improve personalization of the customer journey, and 92 percent believe this is an imperative to drive customer retention. And in fact, a likely under-reported 36 percent say they have lost customers as a result of not personalizing their experience. That percentage is going to climb steeply upward as a customer’s wish for personalization morphs into expectation. 

Episerver customers who have invested in our Personalization suite have already taken an important first step in delivering on the promise of 1:1 experiences,” said Jeff Chealdirector of product strategy, personalization suite at Episerver. “We believe our unified digital experience platform reflects our positioning in Gartner Magic Quadrant leader for Personalization Engines as furthest on the completeness of vision axis in the report.” 

2. The Rise of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning 

Ninety percent of financial services respondents believe artificial intelligence (AI) is going to be a game-changer for the customer experience in the next three to five years – and they’re correct. As a result, 71 percent report a plan to invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning in the years ahead specifically to enhance the customer experience, and 62 percent believe this will give their organization a competitive advantage. 

In practice, personalization at scale is only achievable through AI and machine learning,” said Cheal. Episerver Advance draws on cognitive artificial intelligence to apply rich metadata tags to content assets automatically, and then sequence the delivery of those assets based on deep analysis of data as well as a visitor’s real-time activity to ensure they see the best content to support their inferred intent or goals.” 

3. Preparing for a Voice-First Future 

Fifty percent of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, and 30 percent won’t even involve a screen. The impact of voice technology will be felt in every corner of every industry – B2C and B2B. From search to commerce, scheduling to note taking, voice-controlled work environments to process automation – voice will change how customers interact with brands, workers interact with products, and how employers interact with employees. Fifty-two percent of surveyed respondents in the financial services sector believe that most business utilities will be connected, and voice enabled in the next three to five years – and 56 percent believe consumers will expect this at both home and at work. 

The lowest hanging fruit from a voice perspective is preparing for search. As search rapidly evolves from text-based inquiries delivering pages of results to voice queries delivering a singular outcome, it is imperative that financial services organizations begin to invest now in voice experience platforms that manage and optimize content for voice-enabled products and virtual assistants.  

4. Customer Data Challenges 

Respondents across sectors reported having challenges with effective customer data management today, and concerns with how data protection regulations will impact their organizations’ ability to leverage customer data in the future. This was certainly also true of respondents from the financial services sector, 74 percent of whom reported a need to prioritize customer data management in the next three to five years to remain competitive. Emerging technologies like voice, artificial intelligence and augmented reality, will provide both increasingly rich experiences, and increasingly complex contextual data. Managing that data effectively presents both risk and opportunity. Eighty-eight percent of financial services respondents believe customer data regulations could in fact derail advancements in the customer experience, and 60 percent report that their organization will need to make improvements in data security in order to improve the customer experience. 

Thankfully, Episerver is leading from the front on data protection, preparing their customers for the increasingly complicated data realities driven by NECXT technologies. Read more about Episerver’s enterprise-level security, data protection and compliance benefits here. 

Download the NECXT report and measure your organization’s CX maturity at whatnecxt.com 

Tim Linberg, Verndale

Guest Blogger: Tim Linberg

Chief Experience Officer, Verndale