A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSING EVOLUTION OF CX IN MODERN BUSINESSES

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, where technology is constantly evolving and customer expectations are reaching new heights, the pursuit of an exceptional customer experience (CX) has become a paramount objective for organisations in the financial services industry (FSI).

This was abundantly clear in a recent roundtable discussion – Future Forward FSI: Redefining CX without a Tech Stack Overhaul – where industry leaders convened to explore the intricacies of optimising existing technology while fostering innovation and empathy within their CX strategies.

The discussion highlights included: 

  • How to improve customer retention, deliver unrivalled user experience and increase growth without a tech stack overhaul.
  • How to maximise the value of emerging and existing technologies for cost-effective and improved systems of engagement.
  • How application modernisation helps CXOs reap significant savings, efficiencies and maintain continuity.
  • The steps CXOs should be taking now to protect revenue and secure future growth.

STRIKING A BALANCE: EXISTING TECH VS. NEW TECH

One of the central themes that emerged from the conversation was the delicate balancing act between leveraging existing technology and embracing new, cutting-edge solutions. 

Opening the session, Jade Country Manager AU, Mike Rae – an advocate for optimising current tech and blending it with the ‘new’ – voiced the importance of striking this equilibrium.

Rae recognised that legacy systems, some dating back over many decades, yielded a wealth of intellectual property which needs preserving, but they’ve also collected a history of exponential complexity.

“Technology and policies are changing so rapidly, so you need to be in the game and it needs to be on your radar. But, at the same time, don’t lose sight of your existing technologies because there’s built-up IP over the years – 200 years for some financial institutions. That rich history has become highly complex – so how do you optimise that? What are the options? Are you making the most of your existing tech, while still being able to explore new and emerging technologies within the guardrails or boundaries?”

NAVIGATING CX MODERNISATION CHALLENGES: LEGACY SYSTEMS AND DATA INTEGRATION

As participants delved deeper into the subject challenges and opportunities in CX modernisation became clear. 

Participants highlighted a host of challenges businesses face during CX modernisation, including the complexity of legacy systems – particularly for larger institutions – the challenges of data integration, and the need to balance leading-edge technologies with feasible solutions. 

What’s more, ensuring seamless integration of new technologies with existing platforms requires careful orchestration. However, all participants recognised the opportunity to leverage modern technology to create agile and customer-centric platforms.

If anything, in the fast-changing world of CX, being receptive to feedback from customers, studying competitors, and learning from past mistakes are essential practices. Building systems that prioritise customer needs and desires is crucial to sustaining success.

Certainly, the rapid advancements in technology present both opportunities and challenges for businesses, according to Jade Software Head of Architecture, Greg Smith, who brought attention to the challenge of decision-making when it comes to technology adoption. The process can be intricate, he acknowledged, and involves numerous stakeholders, and requires a clear understanding of who is making the decisions and why.

“While embracing new technologies can enhance efficiency and improve customer experiences, it also requires careful orchestration to ensure seamless integration across multiple platforms.” 

As Smith pointed out, small, agile organisations may find it easier to adapt to new technologies, but larger enterprises with legacy systems often struggle to keep up. The key lies in finding the right balance between modernising processes and harnessing the strengths of existing platforms, Smith explained – and getting your teams right. 

“Clear communication, strategic planning, and continuous improvement are vital to navigate the complexities of technology adoption successfully.” 

Three core elements to delivering successful application modernisation on the CX front according to Greg Smith: be customer-focused (even get developers in the CX trenches to live and breathe what it’s like to be a customer); employ a great team; and understand that simplicity matters more than anything.

“In the pursuit to build the ‘latest and greatest CX using technology,’ some teams can lose sight of the purpose – the ‘why’ and the ‘who’ in particular – so make sure you meet customers where they are.”

The attendees agreed it’s all about “striking the right balance” between new technologies, existing technologies and new ways of working. One noted that, in banking, there’s a composition of platform stacks, so it’s how you get the best out of each one – and being very strategic and single-minded in terms of what you want the platform stack to deliver for the customer. 

“So if you’re clear on the outcome, you can work out how to do the orchestration behind the scenes to bring them together collectively. And when you have the power of multiple platforms working together – in terms of our customer comms challenges or customer engagement journeys – you can then get the best out of the systems. ”  

FOSTERING TRUST IN FSI – A TX MISSION

In the rapidly evolving landscape of the financial services industry, the concept of Trust Experience (TX) has emerged as a pivotal driver of customer engagement, loyalty, and long-term success. As technological advancements continue to reshape the industry, financial institutions are recognising the importance of building and maintaining trust with their customers.

TX, or Trust Experience, encapsulates the notion that establishing and nurturing trust through secure and transparent interactions is imperative, even if it involves introducing a certain degree of friction into processes.

Indeed, as one of the participants noted, the institutions that successfully implement TX principles are better positioned to thrive in an environment where customers are increasingly discerning and expect uncompromising security alongside seamless user experiences.In the intricate world of banking, a profound concern looms large—security of one’s hard-earned money. It’s not the physical theft of cash that keeps people awake at night, but the haunting question: Can unauthorised hands access my funds? Regrettably, such scenarios unfold all too frequently, leaving customers grappling with losses, while not always finding solace in reimbursement, especially if they’ve unwittingly fallen victim to cunning scammers.

Amidst this landscape, they said the essence of customer experience takes a transformative turn. Rather than an unbridled rush toward expediency, the focus shifts toward recalibrating the process.

Paradoxically, the perception is that if banking operations become too seamless, doubts about their authenticity can creep in. The remedy? Introducing measured friction – whether it’s an additional step, an added layer of protection, or an extra OTP (one-time password). These safeguards aren’t just operational enhancements; they are pivotal to reinstating trust in the financial realm.

“The industry has been so focused on trying to reduce friction and make it easy and fast. I never thought I’d say it, but some people are saying that it’s too fast. We need to put friction back in.” 

Jade’s Smith agreed, explaining safeguarding trust is paramount in the financial services industry. But balancing security with convenience is a delicate art, he said, as the industry grapples with the imperative to instil confidence while embracing technological progress. 

“There’s a common thing we say around security, and that is: With good security, you have to be prepared to tolerate some inconvenience,” Smith said. 

Indeed, as technology continues to advance and reshape the industry, the concept of TX will remain at the forefront, guiding FSI organisations towards sustainable growth and enduring relationships with their clientele.

POWER OF STORYTELLING:
TRANSFORMING DATA INTO NARRATIVES

At the same time, the art of storytelling surfaced as an effective tool to communicate CX strategies. By translating technical jargon into relatable stories, architects and technologists can bridge the gap between technical details and business objectives.  

One of the participants provides storytelling training to architects to emphasise the importance of “transforming challenges into compelling narratives.”

There’s a “pivotal role of storytelling in conveying ideas effectively,” and FSI companies can take a strategic step towards empowering its architects with the art of narrative.

If anything, they said a fundamental shift is warranted – right across the FSI industry – as often times, technical jargon can hinder the translation of technology initiatives into compelling business insights.

But conveying the right message in the pursuit of storytelling – and to the right people, at the right time, and in the right way – can be a challenge, according to one roundtable attendee.

In fact, a significant hurdle involves successfully internalising the CX ethos within any organisation. Attendees agreed there’s a fundamental challenge in persuading the business, particularly at the executive board level, to allocate resources towards the CX journey. 

“The hard part is trying to get them aware and involved, as much as possible, to appreciate where investment is coming,” one attendee revealed. “If the investment is there, then there will be change – but there’s a lot of trust to do that. Try to bring that customer message – or story – up as far as you can to the decision-makers of the organisation – and try to get them as close to the reality of the things you’re doing as possible.”

A PATH FORWARD

In the final analysis, the roundtable discussion painted a comprehensive picture of the evolving landscape of customer experience. Just as every participant concurred, the path forward requires organisations to find equilibrium between harnessing existing technologies and embracing new innovations. 

Central to this journey is an unwavering commitment to empathy – understanding the customer’s journey, needs, and desires. 

Technology, while a powerful enabler, should amplify human interactions rather than replace them, participants revealed.

And so, as businesses navigate the complexities of modernisation, the key lies in crafting compelling stories that communicate the essence of CX and weave together innovation and empathy.

TOP 10 TAKEAWAYS FROM INDUSTRY THOUGHT LEADERS AT THE TABLE:

  • Customer Focus: The primary focus of the discussion was on putting the customer at the forefront of decision-making. Understanding and addressing the customer’s emotional needs, especially during challenging times, was emphasised as vital for enhancing customer experience (CX).
  • Optimising Existing Technology: Optimising existing technology to deliver enhanced customer experiences is the best way to make the most of the current technology stack without major disruptions.
  • Simplicity Matters: Participants emphasised the importance of simplicity in technology choices and designs. Complex solutions were discouraged as they lead to higher ongoing costs and potential customer frustration.
  • Fostering Synergy: Effective communication and collaboration between technology teams and the customer-facing departments were seen as crucial to understanding pain points and designing solutions that cater to customer needs effectively.
  • Every Department Serves a Customer: It was emphasised that every department within a business has a customer, whether internal or external. Adopting a customer-centric mindset is essential for enhancing the overall experience.
  • Balancing Technology and Legacy Systems: Striking a balance between adopting new technologies and leveraging existing platforms is crucial for optimising customer experiences. Organisations need to be strategic in integrating multiple platforms to deliver the best results.
  • User Experience (UX): UX plays a critical role in modernisation efforts. Listening to customer feedback and involving them in the design process helps organisations build customer-centric products and services.
  • Agility and Continuous Improvement: The ability to adapt and change quickly is essential in the fast-paced market. Organisations are embracing agile methodologies to improve customer experiences continually.
  • The Human Factor: While technology is essential, the human element remains crucial in customer interactions. Personal connections, trust, and security are still essential aspects of the customer experience.
  • Practical Advice for Modernisation: Organisations should focus on improving their ability to make changes quickly and respond to customer needs promptly. Segmenting applications to facilitate more frequent updates can aid in delivering better experiences
Get in touch with Jennifer at jennifer@storiesink.com.au for your next Roundtable article.