As consumers are getting more comfortable with making financial transactions online – from ordering grocery to banking and purchasing insurance – the market is also becoming more competitive for financial institutions (FIs.)

You aren’t just competing with the bank down the block or the credit union in the next town. While you have the opportunity to access a national or even international clientele, you’re also competing against other FIs from around the globe.

How can you stand out?

The financial industry is highly regulated and many consumers consider most financial products as a commodity.

Simply coming up with a slightly different product or a marginally better pricing is no longer enough to set you apart in this competitive landscape.

Thankfully, there’s a gap in the market and if you fill it before your competitors do, you’ll set your brand apart and gain market share.

Customer Experience: the New Frontier

Consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience (CX), which will become the key differentiator, overtaking price and product by the year 2020.

Customer Experience Statistics


Your customers have developed high expectations when they interact with other consumer brands that deliver a user-centric customer experience.

In addition, the line between online and offline is blurring. Customers want a seamless omnichannel experience even when they switch channels or devices while interacting with a brand.

However, the financial industry has lagged behind in delivering an outstanding customer experience. Many FIs fail to meet customer expectations and consumers are increasingly frustrated with the industry.

A report titled “Improving the Customer Experience in Banking” found that only 37% of organizations have a formal CX plan.

While many FIs are starting to invest in CX initiatives, they’re still facing a lot of challenges in the implementation – especially with data analytics, technology, and the creation of a 360-degree customer view.

In addition, most FIs still approach CX from the perspective of internal benefits (e.g., cost cutting, increasing sales) instead of customer benefits (e.g., ease of use, responsiveness), which is the key to delivering a customer-centric experience.

How Financial Institutions Can Improve Customer Experience

To successfully deliver an excellent customer experience, you need to shift the focus of your organization’s digital engagement from cost reduction to experience enhancement.

Focus on building trust and developing relationships with your customers throughout the entire customer journey – engaging them from the moment they’re researching about a financial product, to opening an account and becoming an advocate for your brand.

Here are some ideas for designing an engaging CX that will improve customer acquisition and retention:

Create an Exceptional Mobile Experience
More and more customers are engaging with FIs via mobile devices. For example, 49.5% of all online searches for life insurance and 42.1% for over-50s life cover came from mobile devices, according to Alex Koslowski, head of proposition in the consumer division at Royal London, the UK’s largest mutual insurer.

To capture these customers, develop a mobile-optimized website that’s not only responsive but also utilizes mobile-specific features such as tap-to-call, location service, and auto-fill to streamline the user experience.

You can also create a mobile app that enables customers to carry out specific tasks quickly and easily, e.g., pay bills or deposit a check.

Barclays Mobile Banking won two FStech Awards for a feature that enables customers to call the bank directly from the app and introducing instant lending on a mobile device.

Use Engaging Content To Simplify Complex Processes
Many consumers are intimidated by the complexity and variety of financial products. FIs can create interactive, educational, and engaging content, e.g., a quiz or product selector, to help customers understand their needs and choose the best products.

Streamline your online application processes by simplifying product configurations and pricing structure.

In addition, you can use gamification to increase customer engagement and loyalty.

Deliver a Consistent Omnichannel Customer Experience
Customers want a seamless experience when they interact with your brand across all touchpoints and devices.

Develop a centralized database for storing your 360-degree customer profiles, which can be updated in real-time as customers interact with your brand on multiple channels.

With the development of a single customer view, you’ll also have the opportunity to leverage advanced analytics, machine learning, and contextual engagement to be proactive about your advisory and sales activities and deliver a highly personalized experience through your customers’ preferred channels. Defining an audience


How To Optimize Customer Experience Cost-Effectively [ Case Study ]

Creating an exceptional customer experience is a sizable undertaking that involves many moving parts.

What can you do to ensure that your CX initiative is achieving the desired customer experience and the associated business objectives?

Security Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) is an $8 billion member-owned organization. It’s the largest credit union in Texas and the 8th largest in the nation, serving more than 700,000 members worldwide.

As more members choose to self-serve online, SSFCU needed to offer high-quality service in their digital environment. SSFCU had to take its website usability and online service capabilities to the next level quickly and effectively.

SSFCU worked with UserReplay and used advanced technologies such as machine learning, a variety of CX analytics, and patented interactive user session technology, to define and improve their CX strategies.

As a result of this collaboration, the credit union reduced the time it needs to identify and fix CX issues by more than 50%. They’re able to act on critical issues immediately to minimize the overall impact on the business.

In addition, they have the ability to test new products and services with their members before spending the time and resources to bring them to market so they can maximize ROIs.

With the aid of advanced analytics and technologies, you can now take the guesswork out of implementing CX initiatives for your financial institution and make data-driven, informed decisions.

SSFCU Webinar


A few weeks ago, we wrote about how US insurers are making up ground with digital customer experience (CX) in an effort to close a widening revenue gap. However, it’s generally understood that UK insurers are further along in terms of embracing digital transformation— if you are an insurer in the UK, do you still have to be concerned about a revenue gap from digital CX?

Even though UK insurers are embracing digital channels to improve CX and engagement, there still could be holes in your CX strategy. Improvements in CX will deliver revenue you have already earned by bringing customers to your site with the intention of purchasing, but that is currently unrealized due to suboptimal customer experience.


<< Book a Demo Now to See How You Can Increase Your Customer Experience ROI >>

When we consider the amount of money being spent to attract, influence, acquire and retain customers, the fact that the CX is not optimal, and we sub-consciously know it, means we are wasting money to deliver a sub-optimal experience.

The Current State of Digital for UK Insurers

Every industry is vulnerable to digital disruption and insurance is no exception. In fact, digital natives such as those in the Insuretech space have made the insurance industry one of the most vulnerable to disruption in 2016.

This may be an industry-wide reality, but UK insurers are aware of the challenge. According to Aviva Chief Digital Officer, Andrew Brem, “For me a fundamental change in [the insurance industry] is a shift to a retail consumer mindset. If I think of the nomenclature of financial services, even on digital, you are filling out a form. The button says ‘apply.’ When do I apply for something from Amazon? This notion of a form, of applying, of a quote or of acceptance is entirely outmoded.”

This statement points to the fact that UK insurers are staying ahead of this disruption curve, but how is that being implemented?

  • 80% of UK motor insurers enable partial (get a free quote) or total online purchases, putting them at the same level as retail and travel insurance.
  • More than half of motor insurance is purchased directly by consumers (for example, sales via price comparison websites.)
  • Although it’s more complex than motor insurance, 24% of property insurance is purchased directly by consumers.

General Insurance companies are ahead of Health/Life insurers by virtue of their B2C focus, but both sectors of the UK insurance market are largely ahead of digital adoption relative to US insurers.  Despite the generally successful transition to digital channels, UK insurers are still missing out on revenue that they’ve rightfully earned.

UK Insurers Have Earned More Revenue Than They’re Collecting

Insurers contribute nearly €30 billion to the UK GDP—but are still missing out on revenue in the form of low-hanging fruit already earned.

Your ability to embrace digital is indicative of your commitment to CX. In commerce, CX is the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction includes a customer’s attraction, awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy, purchase, and of course use of your product or service.

The effort you’ve put into acquiring a customer to get them to the point of purchase means you’ve earned their business—you just have to close and collect the revenue.

However, after following through on so many different processes—advertising, PPC/SEO, social media, web analytics, loyalty schemes, etc.—some prospects never become customers  as they don’t complete their purchases. What’s happening to this revenue you’ve earned?

Resolving the issues that cause this abrupt end to the customer relationship—and unlocking your earned revenue in the process—requires a three-fold approach:

  • Discover the pipeline of undisclosed opportunities in your customer journey data by capturing the entire experience and applying machine learning to uncover customer struggles.
  • Monetize and quanitfy the value of these opportunities to determine exactly how much revenue is being left on the table and allow improvements to be prioritized.
  • Optimize these opportunities by presenting technology teams with actionable insights into which aspects of the digital experience must be fixed – and the technical detail they need to make these improvements.

If you want to learn more about how the UserReplay customer experience analytics solution streamlines this three-fold approach to unlocking earned revenue, sign up for a free demo today and discover what this could mean to you.

John Thompson, CEO, UserReplay

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Distinct from insurers in the UK, where digital customer experience is much farther along, it has been suggested that digital teams within US insurance companies can improve their digital research and buying experience for customers by examining the strategies and tactics being used in other industries, such as Retail. Competitive pressures from digital-only insurers, known as Insuretech, is creating even more pressure to utilize the digital channel much more effectively in numerous aspects of insurance marketing, sales and service.

Essentially, one could argue that customer expectations regarding insurance have been, to a degree, heightened by their experiences in the retail and ecommerce markets.  Amazon will deliver personalized product recommendations, automatically alert customers of sales, and provide free two-day shipping. Traditional insurers, however, are known for providing a less-than-stellar customer experience—which has lately translated into a revenue gap.

How is Ecommerce Excellence Being Applied to The US Insurance Sector?

What we’re seeing here is a sea change in two waves. First, there are new, digital-only insurance companies that have cut costs and streamlined their operations and are referred to as Insuretech. Insuretech firms have been able to significantly cut costs while creating relatively seamless online customer experience and convenience. Accordingly, they’ve been able to pass on some of those savings to their customers. It is important to note that this group is not a monolith—there are several kinds of innovators within this broader group.


<< Book a Demo Now to See How You Can Increase Your Customer Experience ROI >>


Secondly, the big traditional insurance companies are trying to pivot to improve customer experience. Typically, they are doing this via acquisition, rather than innovation. By aggressively partnering with big data firms, social media firms and the like, traditional insurance providers are attempting to anticipate their customers’ needs. Data mining and analysis is now a top priority for 93% of insurance CEOs—a higher percentage than in any other industry.

Incumbent US Insurers May Be Back to Square One


After a cursory examination of the US marketplace, it looks like insurance startups are holding all the cards. With the advantages of cloud computing, it only takes a small amount of capital to acquire the processing resources that put newcomers on par with established and traditional insurers. They can build a robust CX program from the ground up, whereas older insurers must restructure their existing infrastructure.

By far and away, the most important priority for insurance companies upon rebuilding, is data sharing. Marketing, customer experience, sales, and data science departments must all have access to the same common pool of customer data. This necessity is backed up by research; a study from Aberdeen Group suggests that companies who create a unified view of customer data are much more likely to have a high customer retention rate and a large year-over-year improvement in customer satisfaction.

Making this data available to all departments of an incumbent insurance company allows it to capitalize on customer data intelligence and create a competitive advantage with their insurance agents and brokers. By and large, Insuretech companies don’t give their customers the opportunity to interact with flesh-and-blood agents, either on the phone or in person. Giving customers the ability to talk with these individuals, and arming them with the data that allows them to best serve the customer, is one of the best ways for incumbent insurers to stay ahead of the competitive curve.

Realize Undiscovered Revenue Opportunities with UserReplay

UserReplay was developed with a single goal in mind—to help companies discover revenue already in the sales pipeline that has yet to be realized as a result of struggle during the digital purchasing process. Insurers of all types can most certainly benefit from this powerful tool. For example, UserReplay can help improve customer experience by streamlining areas in the application process where customers may get frustrated and drop out. Another improvement is to refine the performance and readability of online tools that calculate insurance rates and allow customers to purchase insurance entirely online.

In order for traditional insurance companies to compete on the level of newer entrants to the market, they need to quickly adjust their online presence and improve digital customer experience wherever their customers find it lacking. This means getting minute-to-minute insight on how their website is performing. UserReplay gives insurers this power. For more information, sign up for a demo today!

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