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UK Fintech Week 2019 – Meeting the changing consumer expectations in Financial Services

By Ashley McKinnon May 2, 2019

This week, Team Appointedd has been at Innovate Finance’s Global Summit as part of UK Fintech Week.

Global Summit was a true celebration of a sector worth some £7bn in the UK alone, and one employing more than 76,500 people. Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, kicked off the two day event with a message of change –  “new finance will be more inclusive, allowing everyone to be better connected, better informed, and more empowered.”

People across all industries talk of changing consumer expectations and as Team Appointedd travel to, network at, and partner with events in the UK and beyond, we constantly hear about “the next generation of consumers” and how organisations are having to adapt to these changing behaviours and demands.  

So, what exactly is changing?

In his keynote, Phillip Hammond declared the UK as a “Fintech Powerhouse”, claiming London was predicted to overtake San Francisco as home to the most Fintech unicorns in the world by the end of 2019.

He warned, however, that there is no room for complacency. China and the US have many thousands of gifted engineers all working extremely hard to displace the UK in those stats.

Here’s some of my thoughts, insights and views on how we maintain our advantage, all gathered in the hallowed halls of the Global Summit…

Great expectations

As consumers, we expect more from the organisations we choose to engage with. We demand services and products 24/7, and expect personalisation to be at the forefront of our individual experiences with brands. Immediacy is the new standard as well as the need to connect an app to our fingertips for every decision we make – whether that be ordering a pizza, booking a haircut, applying for a mortgage or making an investment.

On demand

Right now is the new norm” said Russell Pert, the UK Head of Industry, Financial Services for Facebook. Customer experience has to differentiate,  he continued “52% of consumers will switch providers because of a bad customer experience”. Can any organisation, in any market, afford to take this gamble?

Accountability

Companies are now being held accountable. What they say they do in a mobile first world, must be what translates into their brand experience, whether that be in a physical location, through a bot, online or on the phone.

Millennials demand a consistent and reliable way of using and accessing services, and really, is that too much to ask in 2019?  Today’s consumers want tangible outcomes, they want a memorable experiences with personalisation throughout their interactions, and above all, they want on-demand access to financial services and products, 24/7, from anywhere, in person or online.

If your brand, be it in financial services or elsewhere, is not consistent and convenient, you can’t be surprised if they choose to move on.

New money

Jeremy Roberts, Head of UK Retail Business for Blackrock quoted a recent survey stating that  “67% of millennial’s felt that financial institutions don’t care about them, with 49% of millennial’s not even knowing where to start when it same to making important financial decisions.”

So, this is where you need to start – engagement.

For digital natives, poor customer experience – online, on the phone or in person – often stems from “one click too many”. If brands get it wrong, it can be a matter of seconds before the user simply clicks away, chooses a challenger, and tells 12 friends how awful their experience was. It doesn’t matter if you’re in retail or financial services, once you lose the customer, there’s little chance of getting them back. Today, recommendations count and experiences matter.

Over the next couple of decades, trillions of pounds will move into the hands of millenials. If  over 50% of your customers order clothes and food online and specifically out of traditional working hours, do you think they will wait in branch on their lunch hour, or sit “patiently” on hold to make a simple transaction?

I wouldn’t and neither would they.

Brave new world

As I spoke with people working within the Fintech space, we agreed that engagement between start-ups and large financial institutions is not happening fast enough and the issue often lies in the fact that large organisations are siloed across product and data lines. The appetite is there but the execution is often difficult.

To echo the Chancellor’s sentiment, the Fintech’s of today will simply be Financial Services in the future.

I could not agree more – innovation is simply business as usual in the modern world. So, to that end, I’d like to round up with shout outs to the companies that stood out for me at the Global Summit…

Wealthify

An online investment service which lets you build personal investment plans and then manages them all from your mobile, Wealthify has recently launched an innovative partnership with Aviva. CIO, Michelle Pearce Burke said there were several mutual benefits in their partnership; large organisations get to take advantage of new technology that they couldn’t build in house and Fintechs can utilise the customer network larger organisations have. It’s a win-win.

Aviva

The second doff of the hat to Aviva is in their core business. Blair Turnbull, the MD of Retail and Digital at Aviva spoke about how they have had to move fast to adapt. In an industry as traditional as insurance, embracing agile from the inside out was a mindset shift as well as a process change. As recent as 3 years ago, Aviva asked their customers how their door locks shaped up to modern housing regulations. This was built into an online webform of approx 100 questions for customers to complete. Now, existing customers don’t have to answer 1 question to get a quote.

Habito

Habito are agents for change in the mortgage space, transforming what is traditionally a fraught and admin-intense process into a stress-free online dream. The CEO of Habito went as far as saying that the process of getting a mortgage is so stressful it can actually affect your sexual life. And really, who wants this to be the effect of their financial product?

As Habito’s subway ads warn, applying for a mortgage can even suck your eyebrows into a pit of darkness … smart marketing for a company paving the way for people who refuse to accept the dreaded mortgage application dread.

Appointedd

And the last word has to go to our own product, Appointedd, and how our online booking platform is transforming MiFID II compliance for financial services firms who care even more than ever about meaningful engagement with their clients. Michael Gruener, Head of Retail for Europe and Middle East for Blackrock reiterated that MiFID II is impacting everything from profits, margins and productivity and that advisors are actually having less meetings because of regulation. Appointedd mitigates impact by streamlining the management of meetings and appointments, and building an automated digital audit trail of meetings, and the communications around them.

Compliance in the 21st Century is about lots of detailed rules. The days of judgement and options are gone. This the kind of thing IT is really good at. Doing the same mundane thing the same way over and over and over again.

The FCA policy says minimum legal requirements can be summarised as the date and time, and location of the meeting, the identity of attendees and initiator, and relevant info about the order. While some firms are drowning in the added admin created by MiFID II, the firms using Appointedd are seeing increased engagement, automated compliance and improved customer satisfaction because they are enabling their customers to book meetings on-demand, from their phone 24/7. The software captures and tracks appointments – simple. The information integrates with your calendar, CRM and accounting systems. Job done.

So, there’s no excuse to be behind the times in this brave new world. Fintech is simply Financial Services 2.0. And the swathe of Fintech software providers? Well, we’ve got your back.

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