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Key takeaways from the CXFSNordics 2016 conference

by Innovationbubble | 6th July 2016 | posted to Press

Two weeks ago the ‘CX Nordics Transformation: Financial Services’ conference took place in Stockholm. My colleague Andra Magerusan and I were invited to run a workshop on how psychological research can help businesses improve their CX strategies. CXFSNordics is an inclusive conference where CX, UX, research and service design professionals come together with the understanding that they ultimately share the same goal – making products and services more customer-centric.

CX is something that a lot of financial service providers struggle with. The financial sector is traditionally a highly regulated sector with many rigid processes in place, meaning that they cannot be as flexible and move with their ever evolving customers as much. That’s why CX transformation is hard to achieve and costs a lot of money, which in turn means that C-level stakeholders need to be sold into investing in new CX strategies. The financial sector as a whole has a somewhat negative reputation in customers’ minds, due to having been very process driven, rather than customer focussed in the past.

Here are some key learnings on how to bring about change and improve your CX strategy

Juha Vasko, Service Designer at OP Financial Group gave a really good talk on the importance of putting your customer at the core of everything your business does:

“Keep your CEO close and your customers closer” ( @juhavasko)

  • Begin development by defining your customers’ needs and build processes and systems around this, not the other way around
  • Involve your customers early on in projects
  • Seek customer validation on all stages of each project
  • Customer centricity needs to be in the driver’s seat – Validated customer need and solution should back you up if you need to justify your suggestions

The points made by Juha make for a good foundation for a customer-centric approach. From a psychological point of view, customers enter any business interaction with a unique set of needs they seek to have fulfilled. These needs can range from a need for being in control to a need for novelty or excitement. In order to efficiently make use of time and budget, businesses need to know the exact combinations of their customers’ needs.

Many businesses try to cut corners by ‘guessing’ their customers’ needs rather than investing in research. With more products and services being launched every year, CX is becoming the main differentiator as prices, offerings, technology and ease of use are similar between providers.

Now, the question that inevitably comes to mind is:

‘How can I convince senior management of the value of CX transformation?’

This problem was addressed by Sylwia Szymula, CX Management Director at PZU Group.

Sylwia took an unconventional approach and decided to fly the CEO out to shadow customer service agents at their day-to-day work. What started off as a small experiment, grew and even more decision-makers were brought in to understand customer’s real life pain-points.

By experiencing customers’ needs and problems first hand, C-level stakeholders could be convinced of the importance of investing in an effective CX strategy and a longterm plan was implemented around decision makers regularly shadowing customer service agents.

Finally, it’s important to be aware of what’s happening in your market to identify new potential ventures and threats.

Know the trends affecting your market.

With products and technology always advancing, businesses need to be on top of their game and understand their ever-changing landscape. Some trends to consider are, as explained by Johanna Sahlman, Head of Service Design at Telia:

  • Generation Z or the ‘digitally native’ emerging customers who live and breathe internet and social media
  • Multiple identities – knowing who is your customer and tailoring your messaging
  • Big Data – do you really need it? Understand its pitfalls before investing in it
  • Peer-to-peer lending and other alternatives of investing and saving money – this represents a real threat for the financial services sector

 All in all, there was a general agreement that businesses should stop guessing what customers want and deploy resources to help understand their real needs.

 If you’re interested in hearing more about how we can support you in understanding your customers real needs, please get in touch at

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