Financial services: the ONE trend no one is talking about

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Group portrait of customers wearing sunglasses

This week I’d like to talk to you about the future trends for the financial services sector. In my research, I found this article in the Fintech Times that talks around the top trends for this year and – to be fair – a lot of the trends are accurate.

The piece above talks about data, robots, block chain, digitisation to start with. All standard stuff. Then it starts to talk about political climate, banking regulations and fintech collaborations… but that’s stuff you’ve heard before. There are some interesting things happening with all of the above, but that list is missing something. Let me explain.

How financial services need to help customers

Something happened to a business associate of mine. He runs a successful car garage. He’s got great reviews, runs a great service and is a real genuine guy who wants to do his best for his customers. This week, I found out that his garage was robbed and burned down. The crime is shocking enough itself and just so rare in the area we live in.

The issue is that at the garage owner’s time of need, the insurer was already disrupting parts of his claim. The one thing he really wanted his insurer to help with – the services he pays for to get support – and they didn’t help at all. His insurer had let him down.

The new trend: back to basics customer focus

I see the future trend for financial services is putting the customer first. It’s what we call a ‘back to basics’ approach: businesses that want to prosper need to re-focus their values, their vision and energy back towards being good at putting the customer first. This could mean putting stakeholder profit lower in the pecking order.

It’s no overnight solution. This requires a company and cultural shift from within, plus taking the time to get to know the audience or segments that they want to serve.

Work towards long-term profits

Now this doesn’t mean that the business shouldn’t focus on making money, of course it should… but not at the long term detriment of the brand. This means that a decision has to be made: is the focus on higher short term profits or lower but longer more sustainable profit?

I say lower profits. The reality is that to “know thy customer” – and to manage change within a business – takes investment. Not only to complete research, but to update tech, internal skill sets and more.

An example of the back to basics approach

A good example of a brand trying to go back to ‘old ways’ in this sector is NFU mutual.

Honestly, give it a watch. This ad and brand relays everything I’m talking about in this piece. Instead of trying to sell their core policy – which may not be adequate on a lower price – it runs with a different message.

NFU calls out that having insurance is really important and not an easy decision. It means that getting the right cover takes investment in the process. This itself illustrates value in the proposition and may help command a higher premium.

Conclusion

In our post-trust era, greater transparency is what customers value the most. Forget chatbots for a minute, because truth is the real trend this year. When you make those moments of truth count for your customers, it might just be the best way forward.

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