Guest blog: Forget the buzzwords, it's about being connected

Guest blog by Duncan Alexander, Product Director, Connected Bank, Luxoft - a DXC Technology Company

Guest blog by Duncan Alexander, Product Director, Connected Bank, Luxoft - a DXC Technology Company

Are there too many points of view, white papers, social media posts, video clips and pages and pages of PowerPoint decks so rammed full of technology buzzwords that it’s become “white noise”? A torrent of over repeated messages across so many channels probably means the message is never really heard let alone understood! The listener or reader is turned off so fast as soon as the phrases agile, frictionless customer journeys, customer 360, customer 720, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), actionable analytics, hybrid cloud, cloud native, hyper automation, scalability, everything as a service… and so on…are mentioned!

I recently had a great interaction with a CEO of a UK building society. He was more than gracious in listening to our message and offer which in the end was not within his budget. We parted amicably and we went away to re-think how we can provide the answer to the business problem that we found in a more affordable way. We still have not found the answer as it would probably mean adding more products to our portfolio, so we have re-adjusted our thinking and have a team working on a prototype (oops there is a buzzword!) to see if we can address the need.

But this was not the most important lesson that I personally took away from this experience. The lesson I learnt was its all about a simple business challenge: connecting.

Faced with increased competition and disintermediation (apologies…) how can the building society connect with people they don’t know and provide a service, and better connect with those they do know, retain their business and provide them relevant additional services? This problem statement does not need a smorgasbord of buzzwords but a feasible, financially viable and desirable solution for the organisation’s operations. This does drift into the realm…here we go…of a design thinking approach, but these statements are as old as trading itself! How do I connect and stay connected with customers?

I was very fortunate to have worked for a leading airline based in the Middle East. Well over a decade ago the CEO set out one of, if not the biggest, fleet and network expansions in commercial aviation history. With that came the challenge to create the most engaging customer loyalty program but coupled to this was to ensure front-line staff, the purser and crew onboard, knew as much about their customers before they stepped onto the plane. 

The team designed an amazing solution, connecting as much personal details from the flight manifest, past booking profile, submitted and observed customer preferences to create a dashboard delivered to a laptop and quickly a tablet so that pre-flight briefings could be made. More than that, as a great number of the passengers were connecting any service remarks, good or bad, were synchronized as soon as the arriving flight connected to the ramp. If a passenger had a bad experience in the inbound flight, service recovery could be made on the outbound flight.

One day a few months after it was implemented, I saw the platform in action on a flight to the UK, placed in the hands of a highly motivated and well-trained purser. She quickly identified that Mrs. McGregor, who was in her late 80s and sat next to me, had just connected in from Australia and was heading to Glasgow. More than that she also noticed that she had made the same flight two weeks before. The purser sensitively asked, “Hello Mrs. McGregor, are you going to see family?”, she replied, “Yes, my sister is not very well”.

The purser paused then said, “I am so sorry to hear that, I know that you like Earl Grey Tea, so after we have taken off, I will put the kettle on, and we can have a chat.” Mrs. McGregor gave a beaming smile and turned to me and whispered, I will always fly this airline. Later she told me that this was likely to be the last time she would ever see her sister….

Being connected made this special moment happen…not buzzwords.

These lessons will of course stay with me forever and are a key driver in the assembly of our solutions for our banking customers. How can we help them be the best at connecting?

Why MS Dynamics?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM offers growing and mid-sized banking and capital markets (BCM) firms a powerful solution to manage their business relationships and transform their sales, marketing, and customer engagement processes. Selecting this solution for a building society will provide state-of-the-art processes to drive customer interactions and manage relationships proactively. It has the power to deploy membership groups across multiple channels and the flexibility to change them easily.

Its capabilities enable users to be more productive and informed, by providing deeper insights into performance, opportunities, and relationships. The sales and marketing functionalities streamline the way businesses communicate with customers, prospects, and staff.

DXC recently headline sponsored the Building Societies Annual Conference 2022, which DXC’s Microsoft Business Applications team was delighted to sponsor. We showcased the Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution, which delivers comprehensive sales and marketing activities, and more, for banks and building societies. This includes Single View of the Customer (SCV), relationship building, lead generation, and activities to create better customer satisfaction, personalization, and enhanced product development. DXC Technology has a solid track record of working with building societies to solve unique solutions to many of the challenges highlighted in this paper. What will your building society look like in the future? Let's talk. Learn about our work in banking and capital markets and our longstanding partnership with Microsoft.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within guest blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the BSA.