The financial services industry is facing a customer crisis. With trust in Australia at global lows, the most urgent challenge facing financial institutions is the need to rebuild and gain customer trust. Trailblazing financial services organisations are embracing intelligent technology to do just that – build trust, gain loyalty and forge deeper customer relationships.

With a royal commision in full swing, it’s probably no surprise that the public’s trust in financial services declined in 2017–2018, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer.

Adding to the situation is an overall rise in customer expectations. Customers are no longer loyal to brands, but to experiences. They’ll go with whichever provider gives them the best, most personalised and most convenient experience – for whatever they want to buy.

Innovative new entrants are disrupting the finserv market

The customer experience has been rewritten by the world’s biggest tech companies, and it’s mostly savvy fintech players seizing the opportunity. There’s been a huge uptick in nontraditional competitors entering the financial services market, and offering a seamless experience that customers love and trust.

For example, Ant Financial, the payments provider set up by the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, now has 450 million users and a market valuation of $60bn. Meanwhile, WeChat lets its 1 billion users check their bank balance, make payments and talk to their bank – all without leaving the chat app.

These companies are blazing new trails in financial services, creating and using new distribution models, and leaving those unwilling to transform in the rearview mirror.

Don’t be scared of disruptors. Learn from them.

In the financial services keynote at Salesforce World Tour Sydney, Australian small business lender Prospa explained how it’s using technology to unlock the full power of the financial institution and serve as a trusted partner in its customers’ financial life journeys.

Prospa entered the marketplace in 2011, with empathy for time-poor small business owners and the purpose of reinventing their loan application experience, making it fast, easy and flexible. Using Prospa’s simple online application tool, small businesses can apply for loans of up to $250,000 and receive a fast decision – in many cases, they’ll also receive funding in less than 24 hours.

Over the past seven years, Prospa has grown from 25 to 85 employees and enjoyed 6700% revenue growth – with no service hiccups. Technology has provided the foundation for success, most critically enabling a single view of the customer – a core component of Prospa’s ability to build trust and loyalty with its customers.

Artificial intelligence is going to transform financial services

Being able to create these experiences customers expect takes a shift in culture. It takes an unwavering customer focus and it takes new technologies. AI, in particular, is going to fundamentally change the way financial services companies connect with their customers. The ability to predict what customers need or value, and provide it to them at exactly the right time and in exactly the right way, is going to drive differentiation and success.

Pepper Money is one Trailblazing financial services provider exploring the opportunities of AI. Pepper Money has a near-20-year history in thinking of new ways to support the ambitions of its customers, having helped borrowers who don’t tick all the traditional loan boxes since 2001.

This includes giving service agents everything they need to provide personalised service and make smart decisions on a journey to get closer to customers and deliver personalised, unique service for their lending needs.

The financial services company of the future

The financial services sector is undergoing a massive shift, and the players that traditionally won in this space need to transform to survive in the future. The good news is that change can be accomplished – you just have to want to make it.

Register for our webinar with Brett Shanley, Co-founder and CEO at Study Loans and Neil Moodley, CEO at InFusion 360 on Wednesday, May 30 at 11:30 AM (AEST) to find out how to blaze a trail for your finserv. Brett and Neil will be sharing how their businesses are engaging customers with intelligent, personalised journeys leaving clients secure and satisfied.