Financial Services Firm Collects Dividends from Careful Digital Planning

At a large, global financial services firm, the only technology of interest is the kind that can provide “meaningful digital experiences” to its customers. One executive refers to the category of tools the company wants as “persuasive digital solutions.” And he, for one, is apparently not easy to persuade.

In part, the company’s finicky approach may be a relic of its not-too-distant past. A few years ago, the company’s leadership realized, having been alerted through customer defections and its own win-loss analysis, that both customers and partners wanted digital solutions. Introducing digital capabilities would support the company’s turnaround as well as transform it from “a product-centric to a more customer-focused organization,” the executive says.

With so many back-end data processing systems dominated by antiquated tools, the company was forced to determine what changes would matter most to customers. But it wasn’t about to rely solely on customers to impart that information. Instead the financial services company found a partner with expertise in behavioral science. Working together, they defined the dominant archetypes in the company’s diverse customer base.

Next, they designed solutions aligned with specific psychological traits and motivational principles. One of the interactive web tools that resulted from that work, for instance, is so well-designed that 20% of those who use it take the desired action. In this way, the tool turns dormant or inactive users into self-motivated savers.

By leveraging behavorial science as part of the user experience design, the company “has gone well above the competition,” says the executive.

Not that it is by any means done with the transformation to digital technologies. In fact, all of the company’s functions have yet to go through a digital check-up to determine what skills they’ll need. The ultimate goal is to embed an enabling capability across all company functions that is owned and operated at the business-unit level.

The company is also developing predictive capabilities, based on the intelligent interactions database that grows with every impression, customer click, and conversion. What will customers get out of this? Help with decision-making, for one thing-and, presumably, greater confidence and better quality help than they would get elsewhere. Understanding customers may be challenging, but serving them well isn’t. “Simplicity is an over-arching principle,” says the executive, who explains that by reducing complexity, the company is enabling customers to do what they want to do.

Efficiently achieving their aims, after all, is much more meaningful for customers than overwhelming them. The company, says the executive, “breaks down elements into bite-sized chunks…thereby lowering fear and anxiety.”

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