The customer-centric approach is leading to a change in strategy, generating multiple challenges for the sector. Interview with Jo Cuyvers, Managing Director of DynaFin, a management consulting firm active in the Benelux.
How is an omnichannel model essential to deliver an optimal customer experience?
Jo Cuyvers: “According to our survey of banks and insurance companies, those with both a physical and an online presence (“Bricks & Clicks”) offer customers the best of both worlds. But those that distribute less complex, commodity-like products and services (e.g. retail banks) are more likely to move primarily – or even solely – to a digital-first strategy. On the contrary, those distributing more complex products and services continue to focus on physical contact with customers with the support of digital tools. As a result, they will more likely focus on a phygital (physical + digital) business model..”
Is the relationship of trust with the client in such a model therefore crucial?
J.C. : “It plays a central role, if not the most important. It is in the very nature of the business model. However, digitalization makes it more difficult to establish a relationship of trust. The challenge is therefore to accompany the consulting activity digitally and to make complex issues accessible and understandable for everyone. Customers must be able to rely on the digital infrastructure of a bank. The omnichannel approach puts the customer at the center of its concerns, providing a personalized service and an optimized user experience. This allows the customer to easily access information from any of these channels, as they are connected to each other..”
And with a 24/7 service?
J.C. : “The rise of virtual customer care is driven by the requirement to respond quickly to increasing customer demands across multiple channels and to support business continuity. Emerging technology solutions combine artificial intelligence techniques, such as deep learning and natural language processing. This results in digital assistants with more advanced conversational capabilities and an improved ability to understand customer context. They also allow for the inclusion of infographics, artificial voice or emotional situation..”
So, the customer journey is rethought on a phygital model?
J.C. : “The deployment of digital technology includes human interactions in the construction of determined relationship models. Customers continue to value the trusted contact with their advisors when making decisions at key moments in their lives or when carrying out complex banking/insurance operations. The banking and insurance professions are therefore moving from an administrative role to an advisory role to build a personalized customer relationship.
Does an omnichannel management strategy require the implementation of a technical infrastructure with enhanced data capabilities?
J.C. : “To realize the customer journey across different channels, including the ability to switch between channels and real-time interaction, the different IT systems of banks & insurers need to facilitate the exchange of data between them. This requires a high level of integration and system performance. The intelligent use of data aims at providing new highly personalized services.
As such, many banking/insurance products are highly standardized, but new technologies allow for greater personalization, such as a holistic view of the customer or products and services tailored to customer needs. A.I. algorithms enable large-scale data analysis and identify new patterns in the customer lifecycle. The goal of financial institutions is to create predictive models to anticipate customer needs in terms of products and services.
With this in mind, is optimal cybersecurity more essential than ever?
J.C. : “It is essential that banks can trust the applications involved in an interaction. They must therefore be on the lookout for suspicious programs such as malware that can infiltrate a device without the user’s knowledge. But that same user must also use these tools appropriately, based on the digital profile that the bank has built over time. Ways to strengthen security include digital identity control via multi-factor authentication, or intelligent transaction filtering based on algorithms that can identify malicious patterns and analyze transactions at a holistic level. Cloud strategies have also evolved in the industry, where trust in data protection has increased across providers, but with a limit set for data storage in Europe..”