By Keith Block, Vice Chairman, President and COO, Salesforce
 

In today’s world, where everyone is always on and always connected, end-user expectations for more personalized, intelligent digital experiences are shaping new business practices through the entire B2B2C value chain. Mastering the shift from a product-centric to a customer-centric approach is top of mind for CEOs and boards worldwide. According to a recent Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study, 73 percent of business leaders say delivering a relevant and reliable customer experience is critical to their company's overall business performance. The ripple effect of this customer-centric shift will be felt by every company in every industry.

Financial services was one of the first industries to experience the impact of this new generation of clients who demand self-service and personalization, and aren’t afraid to take their business elsewhere to get it. Research shows that 70 percent of consumers and 82 percent of business buyers agree technology has made it easier than ever to take their business elsewhere.

Although wealth management firms and banks recognize the need to respond to the changing dynamics of the industry, many are struggling to square those needs against the ongoing pressures of running their day-to-day businesses. In a survey conducted by Capgemini, firms say they anticipate allocating approximately 70 percent of their budgets toward maintaining their current business processes, making it difficult to innovate, engage in digital transformation initiatives and evolve their operating models to meet the new needs of their customer. This is creating huge opportunity for those that are investing in disruptive digital technologies to transform their business and strengthen customer relationships.

Key Private Bank, the wealth management division of KeyCorp, is one example of an organization that is investing in digital transformation to get a 360-degree view of its clients and deliver the personalized, proactive service that today’s consumers expect. Key Private Bank’s advisors are using Salesforce Financial Services Cloud to better serve their clients and grow their business by intelligently uncovering opportunities to create customer value. For example, an advisor can receive an automatic prompt to check in on a client to make sure their plan is up to date. And with a panoramic view of clients’ accounts and investments across their households, advisors can deliver the personalized guidance that customers need to achieve their financial goals.

Those are just two examples of how companies can use digital technologies to connect with and innovate around the customer. And consumers’ expectations for how financial services firms will further leverage technology to enhance their experiences in the near future will only continue to grow. In fact, 68% of consumers believe advancements in technology will positively impact their relationships with banks and insurance providers by 2020.

Of the emerging technologies impacting financial services, AI is projected to see the most momentum over the next two years, with expected growth of nearly 50 percent according to Salesforce research. Already, AI can predict the creditworthiness of credit card holders, segment customers by behavioral characteristics and create a “next best offer” model for call centers based on analyzing a number of variables related to the client. While AI’s potential use cases are endless, its potential impact is clear: AI associated with CRM could boost global business revenues by $1.1 trillion by the end of 2021, driven by increased productivity and lowered expenses due to automation. And it is the early adopters of emerging technologies who are driving this economic impact, and those who will see the most benefit to their business and customers.