How the financial services sector can build an agile customer experience manifesto

Commercial and business banking is facing substantial challenges – regulation, technology and evolving customer needs and preferences being top of the pile.

Traditional banks are also facing the emergence of nimble competitors thanks to digitisation and open banking.

Digital-first and digital-only banks are challenging customer expectations and operating with the agility required to deliver on needs faster.

Likewise, banks are no longer just compared to other banks, or even fintechs and neobanks; they’re up against Google, Apple and Amazon as well as leading apps across all industries.

What is banking agility?

Banking agility can be defined as the speed and effectiveness with which banks can generate new insights, adapt, and deliver services that respond to them.

Traditional corporate and business banking faces several challenges in achieving agility when compared with new entrants – size, legacy-related complexity, ingrained bureaucratic processes, siloed culture and mindset.

Rising to the agility challenge means building an agile manifesto.

Behaviour and process change is of course a huge transformation, but it’s a crucial one if traditional banks are to respond faster to the changing environment, improve customer experiences, and retain market share.

The four values of the Agile Manifesto

Artesian suggest that in building an agile customer experience manifesto banks employ the principles developed by the software sector.

The Agile Manifesto consists of four key values:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
  • Responding to change over following a plan.

Let’s look at each one in detail…

Individuals and Interactions

You can invest in the best possible corporate finance data solutions, risk intelligence, company watch, credit reference and customer screening platforms…the list goes on.

But they’re worthless unless they drive real behaviour change, dynamic interactions, and collaborative decision-making and problem-solving.

Agility means taking an organisational wide view.

Take customer onboarding for example – banks have invested heavily in data and technology solutions and built huge teams of compliance analysts to process and interpret the data created, but siloed decision-making and analogue processes mean customers are still subject to an incredibly disjointed process.

Customers can be actively sold to by one part of the bank, only to then be delayed, have the deal restructured, or maybe even be rejected by another division within the bank.

By focussing on the individuals and interactions banks have a head start.

Don’t just invest in tools, invest time in assessing the right holistic banking intelligence platform that will integrate seamlessly into your business and technology stack to drive both operational and behavioural agility transformation.

Back to front and front to back data flows, informing every member of staff (customer-facing, middle management, c-suite, and back office) about every aspect of the customer, informing every decision, encouraging collaboration and shared goals, instructing every customer interaction and shaping every relationship.

Working software

Documentation is of course vital in banking – it is after all a regulatory requirement.

But simply documenting all the customer identification processes, KYC activities, credit and risk, actions undertaken for a customer and CRM data will not drive agility – they are critical activities that must inform banking teams and empower them to perform better at every stage of the customer journey.

Banks have a wealth of documented customer information and data, which is a huge competitive advantage. But agility comes from making that data work harder.

Combining it with working software and AI-powered tools that dig deeper and help build a more accurate understanding of every customer.

Then using this to improve sales propositions, speed up customer onboarding, drive advanced decision-making on product and service suggestions, and so on.

Customer Collaboration

Once upon a time, contracts were king. Banks would draw up contracts with customers who would then detail the finished product.

As a result, there was often a contrast between what the contract said, what the bank did, and what the customer actually required.

But being agile means focusing on continuous development.

Customer propositions can no longer be static and one-size-fits-all—they should be collaborative, intelligent and tailored, and go beyond banking to address customer needs that may involve both banking and non-banking products and services.

Corporate and business banking customers are increasingly looking for banks to take a holistic view of their needs and deliver a service that goes beyond pure economic returns.

By combining firmographic data with unstructured data (news, social and the like) banks can build even richer insights into customers, their ambitions, their dreams, their needs and their challenges, enabling them to think outside the box, and continuously differentiate their products and services in creative ways that enhance the customer experience.

Responding to change

There was once a time when a bank could draw up a customer roadmap and it wouldn’t change.

But we no longer live and work in a static world – customer needs and requirements are always shifting and priorities are always changing.

Banks today must have the ability to pivot, and operate with increased flexibility. Banking teams must therefore have a way of keeping up with the changes.

From an outsider’s perspective, the best banks know all about the customer and their needs from the outset – but it really isn’t that simple.

This is the very heart of agility – the speed and effectiveness with which a bank can generate new insights, adapt and respond to them.

Rather than believing that banks must know everything about how the customer journey will proceed at the outset, agile banks set out to continuously learn, grow their understanding of every aspect of the customer ecosystem and adapt the journey in order to constantly realign the relationship – ensuring efforts are always focussed in the right place, at the right time and continuously reimagining capabilities and services in tune with and even ahead of customer needs.

How Artesian can help your bank build and deliver on an agile customer experience manifesto

Artesian is a leading data intelligence solution that tackles the complexities of client engagement and acquisition, onboarding, regulatory compliance, relationship management and ongoing client servicing.

Ian Isaac, Managing Director of Lombard

The combination of pragmatic data science with the world’s best business information helps banks and financial service providers solve complex, high-value challenges through cutting-edge technology that enables business rules and decisioning to be easily automated.

Artesian rests upon an established set of application components that allow frontline teams to apply business logic, search and risk decisioning rules to firmographic, internal and cloud-sourced company and people data.

Ingesting and interpreting such a broad and deep set of data means it can be transformed into actionable intelligence with proactive recommendations and valuable client insights.

The uniquely configurable software platform is accompanied by extensive professional services that automate your domain know-how, rules and thresholds, achieving ROI many times faster than using conventional methods.

Artesian banking customers are solving a multitude of challenges and utilising the platform to address the four key agile values –  from prospecting, client research and outreach, to CLM, risk screening and tracking, client onboarding and supplier management – Artesian is the agile banking solution you need. 

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