Generally speaking, what people want out of a financial services organization is for that company to make them money. And while profitability will always be the name of the game in the industry, a report commissioned by Avaya entitled “Financial Services Sector: Missing Customer Expectations?” shows that many of these businesses are neglecting critical customer-facing operations.

The report is full of startling statistics, possibly none more shocking than the fact that 84 percent of organizations can only deliver on certain elements of a personalized customer experience automatically in real time and their efforts fall short of what customers now expect. It should come as no surprise, then, that the report—which includes results from both B2B and B2C businesses—also indicates that 87 percent of financial services companies saw customer experience management initiatives fail during the past three years.

So where are these organizations failing? Well according to the research, nearly half of all financial services companies struggling to provide a high quality of customer service are being held back by outdated technology and more than one-third indicated siloed departments were their primary obstacle. In other words, the data indicates that financial companies struggle with the same issues as many other U.S. businesses. 

At InfoCision, we like to deal in solutions, not dwell on problems. With that in mind, here are a few quick remedies for what ails these financial institutions:

Embrace the Omnichannel World

Customers expect to be able to contact companies—and to be contacted for special offers, etc.—on  their preferred channel, whether that is email, social media, phone, live chat or Web self-service. That means organizations essentially have two choices: offer consumers a wide array of channel options or fall behind the competition. In many cases offering channel choices may require investing in new technology or teaming with a multichannel marketing partner that can provide the solutions financial services organizations need.

Redefine the Culture

One of the most interesting facts in the Avaya report is that customer service becomes less important to respondents in middle and upper management than in the C-suite. That indicates a lack of a consistent attitude throughout these companies that must be addressed. Whether it’s through brainstorming sessions in small groups, town-hall-style gatherings or one-on-one meetings, executives must be sure their message about the customer experience permeates all levels of the organization.

Invest in Customer Analytics

The financial services industry is quite adept when it comes to using analytics to help make investments and evaluate deals, but many companies could benefit from adopting some business intelligence aimed at measuring and improving customer satisfaction. If an organization doesn’t know what frustrations customers are dealing with currently, it is nearly impossible to fix those problems.

The financial sector deals mostly in numbers, so here’s one that is likely to make an impact: according to the Avaya report, among those financial services companies with comprehensive customer experience management, 98 percent have seen improvements to their bottom line since those programs were implemented. It doesn’t get any more convincing than that.