It's becoming increasingly evident that the hot topic of "customer experience" is a lot more than a buzzword-- it is something that absolutely translates into the hard numbers of revenues, market share growth, and customer/distributor retention rates. A new study from Brand Keys, a New York-based research consultancy that specializes in customer loyalty, finds that in the financial services industry attributes relating to "experience" and "authentic innovation" in products and services are exerting the strongest impact on customer decision-making, category expectations, and engagement with brands.
"This evolution has been accelerating for some time. Brand value has increasingly been defined not through the narrow lens of price, but in terms of the total experience that consumers have when they interact with a given brand," according to Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys' founder and president, in a press release describing the results of the 15th annual Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) survey. "This year's results demonstrate that concept has truly taken hold, showing its greatest increase in expectations in the purchase drivers centered on attributes that most strongly impact the customers' overall experience."
The research underscores the importance of both product innovation and effective, multi-channel delivery, in customers' attitudes about their financial services providers. "Given the levels of commoditization we've witnessed in product/service delivery and pricing/promotion strategies it is no surprise consumers are looking for their favorite brands to make a real difference," Passikoff said. "Consumers know the brands, know what they do and know what they're willing to pay for them. They're looking for delight. Innovation is key, whether it's innovation in the products themselves, or innovation in how those products are put into the hands of consumers and the after-life of service and support that the consumer experiences."
In the insurance category, the number-one ranked company is New York Life. You can learn more about New York Life's strategies for creating a quality customer experience, and the role that analytics tools play in this effort, at Insurance & Technology's upcoming Virtual Event, "Customer Experience: Improving Distribution, Service and Insight to Drive Growth and Profitability," taking place on Wednesday, March 16. David Ray, Corporate VP, Corporate Internet Department, New York Life Insurance Co., along with Murli Buluswar, VP of Customer Experience, Farmers Insurance, a subsidiary of Zurich International, will share their views on the "next stage" of insurance analytics deployment at the 12:00 pm ET session, "How Analytics Can Enable Improved Experience & Competitive Differentiation."
Also at the I&T Virtual Event, a team of experts from Amica Insurance --Steve Gendreau, Assistant VP and Director of Web Development; Sue Haney, Assistant VP of CIS; and Jill Rasmussen, Assistant Director of Web Development -- will talk about leading-edge customer experience initiatives at their organization at the session "improving Collaboration and Communications to Support a Profitable Experience," at 1:00 pm ET.
Our virtual event keynote speaker, at 11:00 am ET, is Deb Smallwood, founder of analyst firm SMA (Strategy Meets Action). Her presentation on "The Experience Payoff: Making the Business Case for Redefining Customer Experience," will address how insurers can make the right investments in providing an excellent, technology-enabled customer experience.
For more information about I&T's unique virtual event, including sponsors, speakers and registration information, please visit the Virtual Event site.
Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio