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Act now (whilst you can afford it)

“The last best experience anyone has anywhere becomes the minimum expectation for the experience they want everywhere.” Bridget Van Kranlingen (IBM Executive)

It all started with Apple. We then saw retail transform, thanks to Amazon. Countless other industries, from taxis to movie rentals, have seen the massive effects of customer-focused digital disruption. Over the last few years banking has been adopting new practices, under the pressure from Fintechs. How will you prepare and what can you learn from banking?

Customer expectations are only partially driven from within your industry – people start expecting Uber-like service and Amazon-like delivery from utilities, banking, insurance, healthcare and others. If the state of CX in your industry is poor, you should treat it as an invitation for disruptors to come in and easily win your customers over. Your transformation has the best chances of success if started at the peak of financial success, not when you’re struggling to make decent margins.

Design thinking is a must – before focusing on technology, focus on the identifying the problems it is meant to resolve

Banks are institutionalizing design principles and design thinking. Design thinking workshops involve co-creating with users and customers by first immersing in their lives and mapping their journey to find out the challenges, pain points and opportunities.

BBVA launched BBVA Experience to make it easier for bank designers around the world to create digital banking products and services on a global scale – a move which consolidates design as a strategic function within the organization.

Organisations that excel in delivering helpful, easy to find and use functionality can expect their technology to act as a differentiator to retain existing customers and attract the new ones. This is particularly true in highly competitive markets where customers can easily switch providers, like retail banking or decentralised utilities.

Innovate in your service delivery to meet the changing customer paradigms

Once upon a time we had to go to our bank branch for almost everything and some rather enjoyed that experience. We then became time poorer, more globally mobile and generally less willing to speak to customer support – a trend which created new digital banks such as Alipay (China), Monzo (UK), N26 (Germany), Paytm (India), and Revolut (UK). What we see now though is a return of transformed branch experience, much like in retail where the brick-and-mortar are winning with augmented shopping. Tangerine in Canada is revolutionizing traditional banking branches as they opened up cafes in different cities where customers could come have coffee in a Starbucks like experience.

You don’t need to give up what you stand for just to be cool, but you must understand how to make the modern customer appreciate your service delivery.

Organise your functional teams around delivering customer journeys

To provide superior customer experiences, banks are transforming their organizations by embarking on CX Transformation programs focusing on being cross-functional, designing end to end customer journeys with rapid co-creation of prototypes and testing in agile methods. ANZ Banking Group reimagined their entire organization with their Enterprise Agile Transformation. Agile is usually associated with IT or Product Development functions but ANZ infused the agile ways of working across the entire organization at all levels. Inspired by Spotify model of Agile, ANZ organises resources into tribes of 100-150 people which it breaks further into 20 to 30 squads. Each squad has a mix of interdisciplinary people with different skills working together autonomously on a same challenge, such as one aspect of a customer journey. This transformation removed silos and improved speed to market.

Functional teams exist for a reason of deep expertise in their subject area, but organizational effectiveness can only be achieved if each function purposefully contributes to positive customer outcomes.

Form partnerships to create effective Design Studios, Innovation Labs and Ecosystem Strategies

BBVA Bank in Spain acquired a leading user experience firm, Spring Studio in 2015 in an aggressive and bold move in its journey of providing exceptional customer experience and institutionalising design. Similarly DBS, a leading bank in Singapore opened DBS Asia (X), an innovation center with an aim to collaborate with startups and fintechs. Emirates NBD bank invested heavily in Innovating the Customer Experience for its customers with Emirates NBD Future Labs focusing in exploring cutting edge technology, contextualizing experiences with its big data practice, creating digital first millennials platforms like Liv and investing in digital talent. Incumbent Banks are also forming new Fintech partnerships to deliver exceptional customer experiences and non-differentiated core processes delivered through external utilities to increase efficiency.


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