Originally published in BSA Society Matters magazine
Peter Toole, Strategic Relationship Director, Paragon Customer Communications
How are building societies implementing new innovative approaches to communications and enhancing the customer experience?
It is no secret that customer loyalties are becoming increasingly fickle, none-more-so than in the financial services sector where nontraditional, digitally-driven competitors continue to disrupt the market. Faced with stiffer competition, it has become clear that those building societies that are failing to deliver an accessible and frictionless digital banking experience face the very real prospect of losing customers.
A recent survey of bank and building society customers revealed a direct correlation between digital services and customer loyalty, with 86% of respondents saying they would consider leaving their bank or building society if they couldn’t manage their account easily online. While, 82% of those surveyed said they expect every digital experience to be equal to or better than what they receive from other technology providers .
As a result, ‘traditional’ businesses in the mortgage and savings market are evaluating their communications strategies, moving away from legacy processes and technologies and embracing futureproof solutions as they vie for business.
Key players in the sector have already been laying the foundations for digital transformation across the industry: Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) introduced its digital transformation programme  which embraces initiatives from automation to agile methodology with the customer in mind, Nationwide plans to open a new digital innovation centre in London , and The Nottingham Building Society announced a multimillion pound investment in digital technology.
Unfortunately for many building societies, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the strategies to futureproof their operations remains a significant challenge. This is amplified by the need to serve a broad array of members whose ages span multiple generations.
Driving positive user experience through technology
In a changing market where building societies are faced with such a considerable generational gap between customers, creating an exceptional user experience (UX) is the single most important differentiator to both improve customer retention and attract the next generation of members.
Technological advancements, including developments in intelligence platforms such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud technology and machine learning, mean financial organisations are well-armed for delivering market-leading UX.
Deploying innovative technologies, however, is purposeless if it does not positively transform the UX, so carefully and methodically investing in the most appropriate core solutions is imperative.
Nonetheless, the tools required to manage such an intricate and complex transition expand far behold the technologies themselves. Creating an effective digital organisation requires building societies to gain a comprehensive understanding all areas of their organisation, their requirements, and fundamentally adapting how they operate and deliver value to customers.
Only by capitalising on the most suitable technologies, skills and capabilities, can organisations have a positive influence on both the UX and the operational efficiency and performance of all business areas. For this reason, a critical understanding of aspects such as the customer journey, experience and behaviour should be carefully considered before investing in the technology or business processes to drive any transformation.
It is crucial that any adaptations to business processes, microenvironments, or digital innovations, reflect market changes and react to evolving customer demands – as opposed to customers having to adapt to new processes. Such forward thinking is more likely to reflect back to new customers and the ‘digital native’ younger generations in a positive manner.
While the route to futureproofing your digital infrastructure is clearly complex, digital transformation is what members want.
For more information, visit: paragon-cc.co.uk