In financial services, obtaining customers’ trust is imperative. Here’s how to build trust through the adoption of a customer-centric business model.

Trust is an interesting concept. You may have a customer’s trust one day, and then it’s gone the next. However, gaining and keeping a customer’s trust is the lifeblood of financial services. Throw this need into a disrupted marketplace and it’s no surprise that the concept of customer-centricity has skyrocketed in popularity.

Why customer-centricity is vital to building trust


There's been a monumental shift in how customers connect with organisations and the service they expect in return. With the proliferation of technology and devices, the customer has become smarter and more powerful.

Businesses need to look at their omni-channel strategy and ask themselves whether the experience is consistent. Does it meet expectations and is it frictionless, no matter what communication channel customers choose: mobile, phone, social media or in person? Customers have come to expect this frictionless flow from one channel to another. And most brands still don’t offer that.

This shift in customer expectations is forcing financial advisers to re-imagine the relationships they have with their customers. For many organisations, this means completely flipping business models, and re-designing processes and services around customer needs, rather than fitting the customer into existing processes.

The road to becoming more customer-centric


If you look at the businesses that are succeeding, customer-centricity is at the core of their DNA. They’re passionate about improving customer experience, and focused first and foremost on the customer’s wants and needs. They’re communicating with customers on the right channels, with the right message, at the right time. The interaction is effortless, and they’re solving problems for customers, making their lives easier.

Of course, adopting a customer-centric model is no easy feat. Many finserv businesses are operating with legacy ways of working and IT systems, which may not necessarily have today’s customer at the heart. Shifting the business’s mindset to one of customer-centricity is as much a cultural change piece as an IT development project, and change needs to come from the top, with a clear communication strategy.

A failure to change is a death knell. The market has already been disrupted. The rules of the game have been re-written by nimble fintech start-ups. You can’t look at your customer base from the past 10 years and assume that’ll remain unchanged for the next 10 years. The ownership of wealth is changing. Generation X and Millennials have started to inherit and amass significant amounts of wealth, and they’re not sticking with the organisations that managed their parent’s finances out of loyalty.

The role of tech


Technology is a powerful enabler of customer-centricity as it helps businesses achieve a single customer view, generate personalised insights from collected data and provide a streamlined customer experience. This means the advice is better, it’s proactive and more consistent.

Every customer-facing employee within the organisation can – and should – have access to the same information about a customer. If a customer’s having to explain who they are time and time again, they’ve lost confidence that the business knows them, understands them. Trust is eroded.

How to build a technology partnership


When choosing a technology provider, it’s important to do your homework. The road to implementation should be a partnership, with the best people on the project team.

A good CRM system is never a one-size fits all approach. The benefit of cloud computing is the agility to test, learn and tweak the technology based on the organisation’s requirements – something that’s not as easy to do with traditional on-premise platforms. Consequently, we’re seeing our ecosystem of Salesforce partners adopt a very agile approach to developing systems. Based on the defined success outcomes, they’re able to rapidly prototype, develop proof of concepts and provide a minimal viable product. This can be quickly tested and improved upon.

The implementation process should also be viewed as a great internal talent development exercise. Our partners, the on-site system integrators are incredibly focused on working closely with the organisation’s own employees to deliver shared value, outcomes and learnings.

Above all, your ideal technology partner needs to understand your business and your customers, as this is the key to creating a truly customer-centric way of conducting business that will build trust.

Digital innovation is disrupting the financial services industry. Learn how to use technology to your competitive advantage by downloading our interactive ebook Bankings Wake Up Call.