A Guide to Digital Experience Management for Financial Services


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Article ImageDigital experience management (DXM) refers to the combination of strategies, technologies, and business processes to provide highly engaging and satisfying digital services to customers. Across industries, DXM increasingly holds the keys to competitive differentiation and customer retention. DXM has a particular urgency for the financial services sector with the entry of new digital native rivals. This article focuses on retail banks, insurers, credit card companies, and other business-to-consumer (B2C) financial services organizations.

The financial services industry is an early adopter and often enthusiastically embraces new technology. So it may be a bit of a surprise that many companies still lack the techniques and the technology to deliver superior digital experiences.

Common areas in which companies trip up on DXM include the following:

  • Viewing "digital" too narrowly as a cheaper mode of customer support
  • Fixing only the tip-of-the-iceberg aspects-such as the company website-without transforming the underlying business processes
  • Focusing disproportionately on customer buying scenarios while ignoring other lifecycle activities
  • Thinking a customer relationship management (CRM) system will suffice; CRM captures transaction history, but not customer experience metrics or customer perceptions

The root of all such DXM evil is the silo approach to DXM. Customer interactions span different departments-such as marketing, retail, support, and product- as they move across the purchasing lifecycle. To use a phrase currently popular, these are different "customer journeys" related to onboarding, problem resolution, and repurchase. Also, different journeys (or even a single journey) occur in different online and offline channels. Most often, customer experience reflects these silos and falls into the chasms between the silos. The whole is not greater than the sum of the silos. 

Cross-functional orchestration of DXM requires change to be driven from the top down. It may even be necessary to create a new position that owns DXM, and it has to be high enough on the organizational totem pole with the authority to bang heads together and break down cross-functional silos.

Let's look at the various aspects involved in the execution of your DXM strategy. No two financial services companies are exactly alike, and the specific approach varies based on your DXM program objectives. But here are eight main themes to consider. 

Think like a software company. DXM is not static. It's rapidly evolving and requires an agile approach that emphasizes "launch-and-learn." You don't wait for Godot in the quest for that perfect campaign; you go live with a good enough campaign and iterate to improve the experience.

Develop expertise in data and analytics. This does not sound sexy, but analytics expertise forms the basis for competition in this digital era. Do not fret over capturing more and more data. Instead, make the best use of available data.

Build a lifecycle view of the customer. If you only have scattered snapshots of the customer across different systems, integrate at the data layer to develop a reasonably complete picture of the customer profile. This enables you to better personalize the experience.

Benchmark the current state and progress made. Each major segment of the financial services industry has its own norms, consumer expectations, best practices, and "state of the art" for digital. Benchmark your "digital quotient" against your peers to understand where you currently stand. Even if this does not paint a pretty picture, an honest look in the mirror helps you identify the opportunities for improvement.

Keep messaging consistent across the channels. Financial services companies, such as insurers, traditionally focused on the distributor channel. Now, they have the opportunity (and obligation) to communicate directly with the customers. Businesses need to handle the potential channel conflict here, but from a DXM angle, provide digital content/messaging to the distributors for a consistent experience.

Integrate marketing content into transactional applications. Instead of push campaigns, you can better engage with customers when they are interacting/transacting. Enrich their experience by providing more relevant and better targeted content. Real-time triggers and notifications should be a part of your DXM strategy.

Select the right tools that can scale. The reality is that pilot projects are the easier part; often, the challenge is to scale DXM. Tools that demo well can fall apart when dealing with real-world scale and complexity-usually when you pick tools based on feature checklists. Take a selection approach that is use case-based.

Leverage a best-of-breed technology strategy. Another reality check-there isn't a single end-to-end platform that you can implement and then be done with your DXM goals. More likely, in pursuit of your DXM goals, you have to integrate a variety of tools, such as content management, campaign management, CRM, mobility platforms, and several enterprise systems-too many to list here.

New digital-savvy rivals are getting ready to disrupt the traditional business models of the financial services industry. But as an incumbent, the same opportunity of elevating the digital experiences to be channel-appropriate, relevant, timely, and personalized is also available to you. Don't become a victim of "digital Darwinism" by paying only lip service to DXM. Instead, make it a strategic priority.   

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)


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