Companies everywhere hold up Amazon as the pinnacle of digital strategy. This is largely due to Amazon’s recognition of its customers’ evolving behaviors and its success in meeting their shifting demands within the context of this digital ecosystem. But, for financial services brands, developing this type of digital presence can be quite the internal struggle.
Many banks equate digital with online, but creating an online strategy is only one element within the digital ecosystem. In addition to Web development, digital strategy also requires financial services brands to consider various other contact channels, such as mobile and video, in their quest toward continuous learning and individualized adaptation. Consumers wish to access information and engage with brands via all available devices with the expectation that the company will recognize and acknowledge their previous interactions. For most, however, achieving this idyllic, full-scale digital ecosystem involves overall internal realignment.
First and foremost, financial brands must begin by changing their company culture to support holding clients’ hands as they shift toward these new models. Banks must determine ways in which they’re not on the same terms as their prospective and current customers. Understand what consumers want, where they are, and how they behave. Figure out where the gaps within the industry lie and determine how your organization can fill those holes and offer the best experience within the market. Establish which trends are merely fads and which are must-haves to clarify the proper path to strategic improvement.
Financial services brands should also look outside the industry to explore successful technologies, models, and modern advancements within other business areas. By learning, knowing, and trying them out, banks can truly bring the Amazon experience to the financial space. Such companies will be able to establish a differentiated experience that will keep them on top of their game. Hire outside the industry, go to other industry conferences, and speak with vendors that support other industries. Learn from them and ask what works to gain the competitive advantage.
Once banks establish their foundational strategies, they can then train employees to support these goals. In this case, though, training requires altering associates’ mindset. Previously, bankers have notoriously been focused on two things: pushing products and staying in their comfort zone. However, this new world of profiling and building the customer snapshot changes the conversation entirely. Bankers will now have to be trained in generational understanding, as success depends upon relevancy and personalization. The ideal employee will know which strategies are best according to the consumers’ given life stage. Such knowledge will help them build solid goals and financial plans for today, tomorrow, and the future.
Lastly, financial services brands must instill the importance of viewing customers as individuals, above all else. Understanding their wants, needs, and behaviors must be ingrained in employees at all levels within the organization, for customer experience training is essential to longevity. The customer’s feelings, after all, are becoming the main economic focal point for success, not the products they buy, as the emotional impact now outweighs the financial benefits. Financial services companies must also play into this trend so they can get to the true heart of the matter and achieve the digital ecosystem they’ve been striving for all along. Ultimately, financial brands must realize that Amazon serves as the model, but it’s not the answer. Tangible success relies upon the highly sophisticated emergence of the human element throughout the customer experience.
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