At the beginning of the pandemic, financial services companies sought to stabilize and protect their customers. Important decisions had to be taken quickly. Whether to close branches, how to continue serving customers remotely, and communicate responsive action to employees.
According to Salesforce’s Trends in Financial Services report released today, the priorities of financial institutions have shifted considerably over the past twelve months. The fact that one in four consumers said that they are extremely worried about their long-term financial situation demonstrates the urgent need for the industry to transform how they provide support. As businesses too seek to recover, enhancing their customer service and experience, helping clients to reach their full potential, and investing in intelligence will be key to determining future success.
Throughout the pandemic we have witnessed many financial services companies step up for their customers and communities in their time of need. With purpose they have deployed new technologies to solve problems faster, turning data into actionable outcomes. Increased use of automation has helped both to bring scale and personalisation to their operations.
Salesforce’s AI-powered chatbots, for instance, are helping organisations to handle hundreds more customer requests every day. Using Einstein Analytics in tandem with Salesforce Marketing Cloud, customer analytics teams can revolutionise how they communicate and learn from customer interactions.
Creating a continuous feedback loop
Whilst the public health crisis has accelerated the urgency for convenient and smart service today, in the digital economy placing the customer at the centre of everything will be fundamental to success. Developing contextually-aware and connected digital experiences based on years of previous customer engagements is vital to achieving this.
Standard Life has been helping customers make good choices with their life savings for nearly 200 years. Since evolving its CRM strategy, deploying Salesforce Lightning across the sales operations for its platform business, Standard Life has transformed how it collates and leverages data to gain richer insights. Its sales team is now more efficient, but also more inquisitive about the actions and information that strengthen and grow customer relationships.
“By bringing together multiple disparate data sources into a single solution, we’ve been able to create a continuous loop of information, which helps improve engagement and outcomes,” said Duncan Muir, Head of B2B CRM, Standard Life. “With CRM data, we can put sales and marketing on an even keel. Salesforce has been fundamental to this evolution and has helped push lead conversions up by 20%.”
Personalizing the customer journey
Financial services businesses that had already invested in their customer experience strategies before the pandemic were best placed to serve customers virtually in time of crisis. GoCardless, which makes collecting Direct Debit payments easy for 55,000 customers worldwide, increased bookings by 80% in the first six months of 2020, thanks to a more strategic approach to sales, marketing and customer service.
Using a combination of Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Einstein Analytics, GoCardless has improved visibility of its sales pipeline and its ability to personalise content based on a prospect’s previous interactions on digital and social channels. In May 2020, the team more than doubled these interactions from 2019 levels, handling 18,000 calls and emails.
“Making Salesforce our customer experience platform has helped us take a more strategic and personalised approach to nurturing prospects as we can see all the information we need in a single place,” said Simon Gilks, Director of Global Sales Operations and Enablement, GoCardless. “The ability to track and enrich the customer journey from the initial onboarding to ongoing management means we can ensure no customer gets left behind.”
As we transition to the next normal, the priorities of financial services organisations will continue to be shaped by evolving consumer behaviours and trends. If one thing is clear it’s that digital transformation is a continuous journey – one in which finserv must take a lead. It is not as simple as digitising existing business processes. Financial services organisations need to rethink and redesign their business in order to better retain, attract and serve customers.
Over the coming months, we will see innovation occur at an industry-level, as well as from individual organisations, as companies create more collaborative ecosystems to build greater digital customer experiences. Helping clients to reach their full potential and investing in intelligence will help our businesses, consumers and economies recover and return to growth as we emerge from the pandemic together.