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Ahead of our upcoming Forward Marketing Summit Sydney 2020, we’ve spoken to IMB Bank’s Head of Customer Experience, Gary Anderson about what makes a great customer experience strategy, his greatest challenges, and we look ahead to what attendees can expect from his talk at next month’s summit.

Want to hear more from Gary? He's one of the many speakers at our upcoming Sydney summit on 26-27 February – see how you can be part of it here.


What are some of the main challenges faced when creating a successful customer experience across multiple channels?

Lines between products, services, and user environments are blurring. The ability to craft an integrated customer experience will open enormous opportunities to build new businesses:
  1. Understand the customer’s needs and perspectives – We often approach innovation from a technological point of view and already, at the outset, have strong ideas about what the solution should be. To arrive at a new, integrated solution that taps into the power of convergence, it’s better to start from a people perspective.
  2. Draw inspiration from other industries – Look beyond existing industry boundaries and try to adopt better approaches from unrelated contexts.
  3. Get a glimpse of what’s on the horizon – By definition, design is a creative and exploratory process. Looking into the future allows a team to project an industry’s circumstances as far as 15 to 20 years away by framing the landscape of products and services. The primary elements to consider are typically societal shifts, such as changes in behaviour, demographics, and social norms, as well as technological improvements.
  4. Empower multidisciplinary teams – Designing a convergent, end-to-end customer experience requires the broad involvement of stakeholders across the organisation and beyond. They will have expertise in fields such as design research, anthropology, and business, and spheres of influence, such as product development, marketing, or finance. Creating a multi-layered experience requires a variety of design capabilities, such as designing products, services, user experiences, and interactivity. Such multidisciplinary teams can break through silos and foster cross-disciplinary collaboration. Decision makers from all stakeholder groups should align together and embrace uncertainty together, developing capabilities throughout the entire design process. The use of existing resources can keep the investment in time and costs low.
  5. Use agile techniques to prototype experiences and business models – The challenge of mastering many convergent opportunities is that solutions often reside in complex ecosystems that either stand alone or depend on other, related systems. Think of air travel, for instance, as a combined experience of products, services, and environments. Despite this level of complexity, companies can achieve rapid progress through prototyping, which quickly brings to life new opportunities and perspectives for effective implementation.

What have been some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in customer experience strategy in the banking and finance industry over the past year? What do you predict for the near future?

The drive toward personalisation in the financial services industry is aiming to shift the focus from product or service-centric messaging to a customer-centric mindset. Effective personalisation is about communicating in ways that make customers feel special and recognised. The key is to get personalisation messaging and tactics right the first time and be sure not to turn off customers with intrusive or irrelevant communications. The challenge in implementing effective personalisation involves gathering the right data, developing, or sourcing customisable technology, and deploying personalised messaging in an open and transparent manner.

Unlike previous generations, millennials’ banking needs are not product focused; but based on a combination of emotional need-states. As they navigate through life these states change, from starting a first job, to homeownership, to becoming a parent, millennials are looking for their primary financial institution to help them meet the challenges associated with these major life events. They may be starting to research rates for a new car loan or a mortgage, but not from a purely objective or solely price-sensitive consumer mindset. Instead, they’re seeking the least stressful and most financially sound way to achieve the next major step in their adult life.

Key factors impacting millennial banking decisions include:

– Routinely rely on tech – 47% use mobile banking services for ease and convenience, compared to 23% among the baby boomer generation
– Less likely to be loyal – 2.5x more likely than baby boomers and 1.5x more likely than Gen Xers to switch banks
– Seek out higher rates & extra services – eight out of ten would be willing to switch banks for better rewards (higher interest rates, cash-back offers, etc.)

What do you think are the key aspects to innovating your customer experience tools and strategy to stay at the top of the game?

To improve customer experience: move from touchpoints to journey. Understanding the customers journey means paying attention to the complete, end-to-end experience customers have with your company from their perspective. We have focussed on individual interaction touchpoints devoted to billing, onboarding, service calls, and the like. In contrast, a customer journey spans a progression of touchpoints and has a clearly defined beginning and end. The advantage of focusing on journeys is twofold; firstly, even if employees execute well on individual touchpoint interactions, the overall experience can still disappoint. More importantly, McKinsey research finds that customer journeys are significantly more strongly correlated with business outcomes than are touchpoints.

What are the main challenges to your role this year?

Defining a clear customer-experience aspiration and common purpose; a distinctive customer experience depends on a collective sense of conviction and purpose to serve the customer’s true needs. This purpose must be made clear to every employee through a simple, crisp statement of intent: a shared vision and aspiration that’s authentic and consistent with our company’s brand-value proposition. The next challenge will be translating the statement of purpose into a set of simple principles or standards to guide behaviour all the way down to the front line. Customer journeys are the framework that allows a company to organise itself and its employees to deliver value to customers consistently, in line with its purpose. The journey construct can help align employees around customer needs, despite functional boundaries.

What do you think our delegates can take away from your participation in the upcoming Forward Marketing Summit in Sydney

Getting out of your day-to-day environment with industry peers who share common problems, can often bring solutions and inspiration by learning from others.

Want to hear more from Gary? He's one of the many speakers at our upcoming Sydney summit on 26-27 February – see how you can be part of it here.

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