The Key Difference of Customer Experience in Financial Services

Premium Credit Limited-s new Head of Marketing talks to CX Network about digital trends, big data and what makes CX in FS so different.

adammorghem.jpgAdam Morghem has a wealth of Customer and Marketing experience within the Financial Services industry. Currently the new Head of Marketing at Premium Credit Limited, he is the former Marketing Director of RSA and held senior B2C and B2B roles at Genworth Financial, Citigroup and Barclays Bank. Adam started his career in consumer publishing working for Emap on FHM, Q and Empire.

He previously wrote an article for CX Network outlining the 5 key drivers of change in B2B marketing that over the next 3 years will become increasingly important and any marketing strategy should consider and address.

Today he's back for an interview in which he talks about how his new role at Premium Credit Ltd, customer experience in the financial services industry and the importance of not over relying on a database without actually talking to customers.

Hi Adam, many thanks for your time today. First of all, can you describe how your approach to marketing to customers has changed during the digital revolution? And what are the biggest trends you see emerging for digital marketing in the next few years?

Digitisation has created a richer operating environment for all marketers. We have access to more behavioural and transactional information than ever before. We have a new raft of engagement and sales channels, and consumers who are active 24/7/365. Campaigns exist in both the real and digital worlds, and this has broadened the type of media available and the creative execution.

In many industries, but especially financial services, the personalised customer experience remains a high priority. Customers are increasingly aware when they are being targeted and are often receptive only when they receive an engaging offer, that's relevant, and is delivered in a timely fashion.

But that's just the beginning. Joined up marketing excellence through the subsequent journey; including enquiry, purchase, renewal, query and perhaps even complaint, will colour the future trust a brand engenders and the overall success of any activity.

SEE ALSO: Trending Topics in Customer Experience

Have you utilised buzzword 'big data' yet within your marketing strategy? If so, how do you find your customer in a sea of data?

Iã??d liken data mining to digging for coal (humour me), in that customers aren't actively hiding from marketers, but to find them requires expertise and patience. To reach a rich seam of customers you can adopt a variety of approaches from digging a single shaft to strip mining the whole area - depending on your budget and appetite for efficiency.

'Big data', coupled with a deep appreciation of customer actions and the triggers that drive them can help make your products and service more relevant. I'm cautious not to over rely on a database without actually talking to customers, and one must be careful not to forget that customers' needs are not static.

Being new to Premium Credit, I'm still looking to understand the business and the data available to us. Though I've not used the term 'big data', my starting point is to understand our customers' needs and preferences from the data we currently have. Where I see opportunities to better improve our customer experience, proposition and conversion rate further, then I will consider layering on broader data to enrich the outcome.

How does the approach to customer experience and marketing within the financial services industry differ from others, for example retail and travel? What should financial services firms in particular focus on to be able to provide a great customer experience?

From conversations with friends in other non-FS industries there is one very clear difference between the two: financial services have been slower to adopt customer experience strategies, and within financial services consumer banks have reacted faster than insurance and life companies.

This is not all the company's fault, they are traditionally conservative, with ancient systems and are steeped in tradition. This often dates back many tens; if not hundreds, of years and anyone who's tried to teach an elderly relative to use an iPad will know that it's new and foreign. That said, it's certainly true that the financial services industry can do more - much more. Even the most sedentary of populations will move if pushed or ignored long enough.

At RSA we opened a customer dialogue to understand where we were doing well and where we needed to improve. Senior management took the responsibility to contact those who felt that we were failing and to listen to their concerns. The outcome was that customers felt they were being heard and; most importantly, saw action taken.

Which companies are you looking to for inspiration, who is getting customer experience and marketing right and how are they standing out?

There are the obvious contenders for a customer experience award, but having recently listened to both Tracy Garrad (First Direct) and Andrew Murphy (John Lewis), I was struck by their commitment to their customers and their people, and their recognition that getting it right doesn't come overnight or from a single action.

Continually listening to their people and their customers combined with the willingness to take action, puts these two big companies ahead of many. Here at Premium Credit, we're on a journey to more fully 'embrace' the customer and help make their lives and aspirations affordable.

How do you ensure that all stakeholders - including those in the C-suite - understand the hard-to-measure value of providing an excellent customer experience?

I truly believe that the sustainable commercial revenue generated will be greater by organisations that serve their customers with an excellent experience, than those who do not. We're all consumers, it will come more easily to some than others that doing the right thing for customers builds advocacy and loyalty - and this in turn drives recommendation and retention.

The difficulty often comes where companies are starting the journey; or they are purely concerned with short-term gain, and traditional metrics are clung to like a comfort blanket, and new long-sighted metrics are distrusted. Spending time connecting the old metrics and the new is time well spent, as is the simple explanation of this to the business.

For those who see this as alien, help them by sharing relevant case studies; of which there are hundreds, and welcome their scepticism as a way of remaining objective. Once on board, use them as advocates for the whole business.

Finally, what 3 pieces of advice would you give customer service and marketing leaders to help them provide the ultimate experience to their customers?

1. Live it. Go on the same journey your customers are making everyday.
2. Listen up. Ask customers what they think and listen to what they suggest.
3. Prove it. Be honest about what you can do, and make sure you communicate this back to the customer.