3 Examples of The Digital Evolution of The Financial Services Industry

March 27,2021

No matter how ancient your industry is, digitalization is inevitable. Here are a few ways some financial services companies have been evolving to better connect to their customers through digital means, showing their helpful, human side.

One of the most traditional of industries, financial services, has been adapting to the digital world even before the pandemic. In 2020, an old industry associated with in-person meetings realized how necessary it was to have a strong digital presence and to keep up with their customers’ life events. Data from Salesforce found that 88% of customers expect companies to accelerate their digital innovations, which is totally understandable after such a long time of relying on Zoom and Netflix to survive.

Just in April 2020, McKinsey released a report stating the importance of digital transformation in the financial services industry. “We’ve seen numerous companies boost their financial performance after their CEOs made it a priority to strengthen the technology function and bring more technology capabilities closer to the business’s strategy and operations,” it states. However, this technological prowess must be used wisely and efficiently. “By addressing new customer needs and concerns while improving their own efficiency and effectiveness, banks will be a stabilizing force in a very uncertain environment.”

Here are a few ways some financial institutions have used technology to drive sensitive, personalized customer engagement, building trust and community along the way: 


Humanizing their services by creating content that resonates with life events

There are plenty of reasons why we go to banks, from small transactions like taking out $40 in cash for a vintage flea market or notable life events like opening up a new joint savings account with the love of your life. 

The bank OneUnited realized this and shifted their messaging towards sentimental life events rather than simply talking about different account types or investments alone. Through multiple channels, OneUnited discussed financially and emotionally significant events such as wedding planning or just daily expenses in ways that resonated with their community. To show understanding its customers financial difficulties, it provided educational guides on overcoming financial issues such as what bills to prioritize on limited funds.

In a slightly different vein, American Express added a splash of glamour to their brand by hiring jetsetting social media influencers to be #AmexAmbassadors. Their marketing campaign showed influencers posing in glitzy airport lounges and spas all over the world, reveling in perks provided by American Express membership.  


Personalized services designed with customer feedback in mind

Just like any other industry, financial services need to listen to their customers and build their services around them rather than their own needs. Getting a comprehensive view of this means looking at multiple stages of the customer journey, such as tracking website visits, email communications, or their comments on your social media posts.

Wealth management firm The Gardner Group did just this. Through developing a personalized online client portal, they reduced how much time and effort they spent answering questions on the phone handling routine requests for meetings and other services. This included providing educational resources to better prepare for any human interactions. 

In order to curate the appropriate information and deliver the right personalization, they turned to Salesforce Experience Cloud alongside Salesforce Content Management Systems. “Our goal was for young families to see articles about topics that fit their financial concerns, like saving for college,” says Gardner. “People closer to retirement would get information suited to their stage of life, such as Social Security and required minimum distributions. Salesforce CMS let us do exactly that, helping us make our content work harder to drive results.” Paypal also helped their customers through the educational route as well and included pandemic-related topics such as maintaining cash flow in the current climate.


Stepping up mobile banking

It’s no surprise that mobile app usage surged during the pandemic, and this included the finance industry. Mobile banking traffic rose by 85%. Registrations for mobile banking apps doubled. People frequently checking to see if their stimulus checks arrived while stuck at home or mile-long lines outside grocery stores spurred the need for utmost efficiency and user-friendliness for mobile platforms. 

To catch up with this demand, the industry had to review their mobile strategies or build new apps. OneUnited expanded their customer engagement by improving their mobile experience, building a mobile app upon the Salesforce Platform. This app was built after prior success with Salesforce for delivering deeper insights into their customers, which led to faster and more personalized service. The new customer data suggested a need for a more user-friendly mobile experience. Just a week after the new interface was launched, conversions increased by 89%. 

Moving forward

Even if your financial service institution has been around since the 1820s and has a fax machine laying around here and there, it’s never too late to step up your digital initiatives and unleash your true potential. 

A great starting point is to follow the examples above and check out Salesforce for Financial Services. With vital client data consolidated on the dashboard and AI pinging you about important events such as client birthdays, you’ll be on your way to humanizing your services. You might be working with numbers for a living, but your customers are more than that. Just drop us a line and we’ll connect you with our talented Salesforce consultants!