Sponsored: Getting the elements right on trust

‘Experience gap’, ‘situational normality’ and ‘perceived trustworthiness’ are just three terms that will become everyday words in a new financial services paradigm in which banks and other institutions will have to compete more nimbly to attract and retain customers.

That’s the view of Aarron Spinley, director strategy and customer experience at software company, SAP (pictured), which is using insights from social sciences such as anthropology and psychology, as well as data to meet the rapidly changing needs of its customers.

“Macro and evolutionary forces are manifesting in people’s expectations of brands and there is a massive decline in trust,” he said in an interview with AB+F ahead of the Australian Banking Innovation awards where he was keynote speaker.

“All around the world and in all sectors from traditional government organisations to the most conservative tranches of manufacturing, and the most contemporary of retail brands; consumer trust is in alarming decline.

Society now regards a lack of authenticity, relevancy, and perpetual reliability from organisations as incongruent with its base expectations. Consumers no longer tolerate it and organisations need to urgently address it,” he said at the event.

For Spinley, the first element of institutional trust is a sense of situational normality, which he likens to the humble office chair. 

“You probably go into a meeting every day and sit down without thinking. It doesn’t occur to you that the chair won’t support your body mass. If it didn’t and you went sprawling on the floor in front of your colleagues, you’d be wary of chairs for a long time, probably years.”

Spinley notes that situational normality, notably no nasty surprises, needs to be spread across the customer’s experience (CX) with an organisation. Customer-facing spaces that project a sense of calm professionalism are a good start in fostering trust.

Equally important in optimising the customer’s experience of the institution is its understanding how people interact with, and what they expect from, large organisations.

Core challenges

“It’s about coherence in channels. If I call your contact centre, they should know what I did online two days ago and they should know the depth of the conversation I had with the sales rep three weeks before that.

“Otherwise it’s kind of like going to a barbecue and meeting the same person five times through the evening and every time they ask what’s your name, how do you know the host and what you do for a living?

“Right now there are some brands doing just that. Telcos are a great example. They can’t get it right with one channel so they transfer you between people in the contact centre that deal with different parts of the business and every time they have to revalidate who you are, ask for identification, and they might send you a text message with a code to read back.

“And then they ask you ‘how can I help you today?’ so they haven’t even passed along the core question. You have this incoherence, and that just breaks the requirement that human beings have for security.

“According to SAP’s Capital Markets Day report, 80 per cent of CEOs believe their companies provide remarkable or excellent customer service. Eight percent of customers agree. There is evidently an experience gap to address.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a research paper that “Banks today have a simplistic understanding of their customers and a vastly complex product set. 

The winners of 2020 will turn this on its head. They will develop a much more complete understanding of their customers and dramatically simplify their product set, and so deliver a significantly enhanced customer experience with lower levels of operational risk.

Begin with understanding customer needs, not with products and pricing.”

Spinley concurs with this view but is cautious on how this process may work out for Australia’s major banks.

“All the big banks have the same core challenge. All their systems are designed to ensure system integrity, they’re not designed to use data to engage dynamically and in a meaningful way with customers.

How do they harness all those disparate data sets in a coherent way to create positive experiences and build trust for customers?

“It’s certainly not an easy challenge to solve and that’s why we’re seeing a fair amount of disruption from start-ups and scale-ups in this sector. 

But with the right data systems in place delivering transparent insights across an organisation, organisations can make great gains in facing into this challenge.”

Does this view mean banks that were ‘too big to fail’ in the global financial crisis are now ‘too big too change’?

“Every organisation is too big to change until it has to change. Market forces dictate those changes and the industry knew before the Royal Commission that disruption was present. 

“We’re seeing a huge appetite for change across the sector and innovation happening right across the board so I expect to see some interesting developments in the Financial Services industry in the next few years.”

One manageable change Spinley promotes is moving away from seeing the customer in a primarily transactional light to a view of the customer with a lifetime relationship value.

So, in the light of this shape-shifting new paradigm, the ‘Experience gap’, ‘situational normality’ and ‘perceived trustworthiness’, are these a reality for Australian institutions?

In a truly data-driven, technology enabled era – there is no excuse for customer needs not being placed at the centre of the organisation.

Organisations such as SAP, are working closely with industry leaders on how technology will act as a key enabler.

Technology is not just changing how companies record and measure experiences; it is also transforming the nature of the experience itself and bringing together the concept of end to end experience management.

Through the use of intelligent technologies, connected business processes, experience management and a unified data platform, companies can innovate and bring together all areas of the organisation to deliver on the overall brand promise.

Explore the recent industry discussion paper on: Build Trust & Transparency in a highly challenged industry here and register for the upcoming innovation experience ‘e’ffect’ to learn more.