The early days of the Internet were a heady time of reimagining, rethinking, and, in effect, “e-enabling” a staggering range of business processes. Today, we stand on the cusp of an equally momentous paradigm shift driven by an explosion in connectivity—not just among devices, but also encompassing people, process, data, and “things.” This next-generation digital revolution will upend entrenched mind-sets and disrupt existing business strategies on a nearly unprecedented scale, transforming, yet again, the customer experience.
As I shared in Part 1 of my blog, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group projects that the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy will generate $14.4 trillion in Value at Stake for private-sector companies globally over the next decade. Nearly 26 percent of this total — $3.7 trillion — will be tied to IoE-driven customer experience advances.
But how do companies begin to tap the vast potential of the next-wave Internet? Since the Internet of Everything remains a work in progress, its uncharted waters and multidimensional scope will demand wholly new ways of thinking as organizations connect to a larger — much larger — universe. In order to meet IoE’s challenges effectively, your business will need a multidimensional toolkit — one that bridges marketing, design, engineering, economics, finance, or any other discipline required inside or outside your company.
The methodology that can enable these capabilities is design thinking. Drawing on methods used by design professionals, it combines empathy for the human context of the problem; creativity in the generation of insights and solutions; and rationality and feedback to analyze the solution within the customer context.
Design thinking is ideal for problem solving within highly complex situations. Which brings us to IoE. Its high level of complexity will demand that you rethink what you do for your customers, while redefining how issues can be addressed.
Knowing the customer is an age-old path to success. And at the heart of design thinking is a deeper understanding of the customer, citizen, or patient, pinpointing the human needs that fall between business objectives and the technology solutions. Employing user-centered qualitative research methods of observation, ideation, and prototyping, design thinking cuts to the essence of the human pain point and is centered on understanding the role you play in the lives of those whom you are serving. Defining and shaping the problem — in effect, determining the right question to ask — is key. Problem framing comes before problem solving and will be the foundation the creative insight in IoE innovation.
Unlike analytical thinking, which is based on a breakdown of ideas, design thinking concentrates on building up ideas with a broad focus, especially in the early stages of the problem-solving process. Once those early ideas are encouraged to develop, without judgment, they can spur creative thinking.
Here is an example of design thinking at work:
A retail client asked, “How do we increase sales conversions?” The client had the best merchandise selections, financing options, and competitive prices. Customers sang their praises in focus groups. Yet, they were converting only about 25 percent of shoppers. With a design-thinking approach, we were able to reframe the problem. Customers were attracted by the assortment, we realized, but they were overwhelmed by the choices. They were looking for guidance on the right solution. By reframing the problem (“How do we help customers make a personalized choice?”), we came up with great ideas that led to new services offerings. In the end, conversion increased significantly.
Design thinking is not a new tool—Procter & Gamble and GE are but two companies employing its concepts, and Stanford and Harvard both teach it. It isn’t a magical cure, either. But it could provide critical solutions within the complex scope of the IoE economy.
As in previous Internet eras, organizations that adapt and redesign the customer experience — essentially by knowing their consumers through empathy and innovative solutions — will thrive. IoE will reach its true potential only if it is seamlessly integrated into customers’ lives. And design thinking — with its emphasis on simplicity and empathy—could cut through the complexity of the coming IoE economy, while driving the creation of products and services that resonate with the way your customers live, work, and play.
After all, isn’t that the reason for creating those products and services in the first place?
Tags: Big Data, Cisco, customer experience, design thinking, IBSG, Internet of Everything, IoE, Personalization, Problem solving
Technology has and will continue to be a key enabler across every product delivery channel within the financial services sector. You simply need to explore some of the newer bank branches, available applications within app stores or investigate online innovations inherent in many institutions’ web presence to see how engrained technology has become in the customer experience. While firms are making this transition in differentiated form factors and across different channels, the trend itself is clear and pervasive; underpinned by the “anywhere, anytime” mantra and the continued consumerization of technology.
These channel developments cut across all products, but all have one common element – enabling improved and increased collaboration between institutions, their clients, businesses and/or consumers to drive accretive revenue. While these developments have and will continue to deliver impressive initial returns, they are largely siloed by either a business unit and/or delivery channel. The true potential value can only be unlocked by enabling a seamless and contextual integration of the physical, direct and mobile channels – the evolution from multi-channel to omnichannel.
The omnichannel model enables the customer to choose how and by what method they want to conduct their business, be that in person, via a mobile device, from the home, online or with telephony. Cisco’s IBSG team has published a white paper that looks into the transformation of institutions from multi-channel to omnichannel. While the method of communication is important, the true differentiator in transformational channel evolution is the ability to integrate interaction. Institutions must be aware of the context and outcomes of customer interactions as customers move from channel to channel, product to product, or business line to business line.
From an institutional point of view, the value in the omnichannel impacts multiple factors. Read More »
Tags: Cisco, collaboration, customer experience, Financial Services, insurance, omnichannel, remote expert, retail banking
Cisco attended the Next Generation Insurance Summit (March 11-13) in Newport Beach, CA and the Best Practices in Retail Financial Services Symposium (March 13-15) in Carlsbad, CA. Some of the top minds in the financial services industry were in attendance and it was great to see these leaders deliver ideas and solutions for how to further the customer experience for both industries as well as the agent experience in insurance. Both conferences focused on reducing the amount of time it takes to adopt new technology and innovative ideas for competitive advantage, a current problem many financial institutions are going through.
At the Next Generation Insurance Summit, Cisco’s Michael Cantwell, Financial Services Solutions Architect, delivered a keynote on building a customer centric distribution network and how the expectations of today’s insurance customer has of their insurance institution/agent. He stated that from the end customer’s point of view everything is getting more integrated and simplified, but that insurers have yet to create that agent or customer omnichannel capability that allows for communication channel choice as well as fluid switching during an interaction to answer questions or assist in self-directed channels. Michael also touched on how enabling insurers with new tools and technologies, including sales force automation and mobile devices, will be key to fulfilling overarching business goals of improving sales interactions through traditional channels and, therefore, driving revenue.
Attendees showed immediate interest when Michael spoke about the best methods for line of business executives to work with their IT executives and vice versa. The success of customer retention rates among insurers who have incorporated Cisco solutions to improve customer-centricity was also of special interest to attendees. Read More »
Tags: Cisco, customer experience, Financial Services, insurance, multichannel, omnichannel, retail banking
Geoff is the Lead for Cisco’s Business Transformation solutions for the Financial Services Industry in Canada. To read Geoff’s full bio, please click Here.
This is the first in a series of blogs where I will discuss the capabilities that are driving innovation in the design and structure of retail financial services organizations. These capabilities shape where and how work is done, how resources are allocated and positioned, where geographic expansion is executed, how customer points of presence are designed and staffed and how workplaces are configured. In sum, these capabilities offer new ways to engineer retail financial services organizations, the service delivery models that are critical to superior client experience and highly productive and cost-effective operations. Organizations that embrace and implement these capabilities will have a significant edge.
Imagine for a moment that you and your executive team are working to establish a new upstart financial services firm in a market with established competitors.
- How would you shape and structure your organization, operating model and service delivery system so that your retail bank, insurance and wealth management businesses can effectively compete with the established players?
- What would you offer that would drive superior, clearly differentiated level of satisfaction to the point where more clients move their assets to your firm?
- What factors would influence and guide your organizing model? Also, what capabilities would be essential to win market share, enable cost effective expansion and growth?
- What choices would you make in terms of how you allocate and locate your critical knowledge experts to drive the differentiated level of service and simultaneously achieve high productivity and the requisite level of profitability?
- What infrastructure assets would you decide to own and operate within your organization, and which would you choose to have outside and provided by others?
- Finally, how much time and focus would you and your executive team place on those assets and capabilities that make these advantages possible?
These are a few of the decisions and choices that would be paramount to you and your executive team. Why? Because these decisions and choices will influence the success of your enterprise. Read More »
Tags: Cisco, customer experience, Financial Services, innovation, retail banking
Cisco’s Financial Services Industry Marketing team is pleased to welcome a monthly contribution from industry professionals sharing their insights and observations on key trends in the Financial Services industry. The opinions expressed in these posts are those of our welcomed guests and may not reflect the opinions of Cisco.
Jerry Silva, Principal at PG Silva Consulting, is a 25 year industry veteran in retail banking business and technology, and advises institutions on technology strategy as well as contributing thought leadership to a number of industry conferences and publications like the Financial Times, the Economist, and the Wall Street Journal.
Time for Banks to Join Us in Our Daily Lives
I’ve been in the market for a new pair of earbuds. Due to the big storm that hit Boston a few weeks ago, my earbuds were lost during the hectic scurry to fly home before the blizzard hit. Once I was safe at home, I visited a few “big box” retailer online sites to check out the latest technology. Using the stores’ customer review sections, I found a suitable pair that seemed to fit my needs, then I checked prices and searched for physical locations near me that had them in stock. My local store didn’t have them, but another location five miles away did have a few. After a quick sales chat with a store representative, I bought them through the web site, drove to the store, and picked them up at the customer service counter saving me the wait at the cashier.
Most of you will recognize this series of micro-experiences as a typical, and more importantly, single event in our e-commerce lives. The experience was seamless to me; A single journey – using transparent channels – to acquire a new set of earbuds. I was able to get the “Three C’s” I needed to complete the transaction; Credibility from other consumers on the quality and reliability of several models, Convenience of homework and shopping from anywhere (using my smartphone at one point), and Choice having the earbuds shipped to me if I wanted, or in my case, picked up at a physical location.
This post is about Banking, so you know where I’m headed with this… Read More »
Tags: branch, Cisco, customer experience, Financial Services, omnichannel, retail banking