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How the human touch can transform financial services

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Posted In: gbst digital
Published: 05/02/2019

Shawn Wallace, GBST Executive Manager – Digital, discusses how human-centred design is key to the evolution of financial services.

In a world of Royal Commissions and competitive business landscapes, putting customers first has taken on a new urgency.

As the financial services industry experiences a trust crisis, there is a renewed focus on seamless customer and user experience. Human-centred design (HCD) puts customers at the heart of every decision from accessibility, functionality, marketing and even language. HCD is not a new concept – GBST’s digital team has been using HCD to develop websites and apps for 10+ years. The difference now is that it’s no longer negotiable, but a cornerstone of product and service development.

Emulating the ease of everyday tech

Netflix anticipates what we’d like to watch next, and Uber traces the story of our weekend through simple usage updates. Customers are increasingly at ease with trading their data for user experience. Customer expectations are shaped by everyday tech – Google, Uber and Facebook – that integrates into your daily digital experience. With the bar set so high, financial institutions must start catching up.

The good news is, you don’t have to be a top tier company or a tech savvy startup to disrupt the traditional business-first model and deliver a customer-focussed experience everyone has come to expect. The time is right, and the tech is here, for financial services to apply HCD beyond websites and apps, use it as a touchstone to develop new products and services, and optimise existing customer interactions.

Why HCD is changing the conversation

HCD is a framework for creative solutions to customer and business issues – in its simplest form the design process starts with the end user in mind, working backwards to create solutions and services customised to meet their needs.

The future has arrived ahead of schedule: we have the tech capability (and the data) to support HCD that makes real differences in the customer, user and employee experience.

At the recent Financial Services Summit, I co-hosted a workshop on Reimagining Financial Services with Human-Centered Design with Gary Cox, GBST Product Manager – Super and Pensions. Our suggestion to the group was simple: shift the conversation from ‘how to grow product usage’ to ‘how can we improve user experience’. This shift, done well, should achieve the same outcome: sparking growth while building a reputation for standing united with your customers, rather than the hands-off approach from the not-so-distant past.

The innovation imperative

Keeping your customers on a smooth journey online reduces the cost of service, boosts conversions and elevates client satisfaction. That can help your business thrive through customer retention (and referrals), opportunities for value-adds, and efficiencies through process automation.

Also, think beyond your customers to your staff – the employee experience (EX) is ripe for the HCD approach. It can help businesses improve efficiencies by better understanding how staff go about their day-to-day activities and tailoring solutions to those objectives. Innovation is not only external!

The ultimate risk of not applying HCD to every aspect of your business? Someone else is going to do it, and you will be left behind.

The future is human-centred

Our latest whitepaper, Reframing disruption: Putting the customer first, digs deeper into the customer empowerment journey and why customers are demanding seamless experiences on their terms. It includes four case studies to offer inspiration to those starting on their HCD journey.

If you’d like to know more about applying HCD to your business, get in touch with our digital team.

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