age of the customer

Get Smarter in the Age of the Customer

by Jenna Sindle

Keith Block, Vice Chairman, President and COO of Salesforce began the financial services keynote at Dreamforce 2017 stating the “age of the customer is upon us,” as he explained how the pace of innovation has accelerated to the point where companies and markets are literally being born overnight. “We have a perfect storm of convergence with cloud, social, mobile, data science, and now artificial intelligence.” There is so much opportunity to innovate he said, yet challenges remain. Many financial services companies are wondering how they can get smarter and reach their customers the right way through technology.

Rohit Mahna, General Manager, Financial Services of Salesforce said the main challenge that financial services firms face face today are due to “the loyalty crisis.” It’s something that can be seen in every area of the financial services spectrum – from banking, wealth management, and even insurance.

Mahna referenced a recent Bain study showing 33% of retail bank customers are “hidden deflectors” – meaning they open up an account with their primary bank and they go to a competitor for a second, third, and fourth account.

And in wealth management, 50% of heirs leave the wealth management company they received money from to invest in a competing financial institution. Why? Mahna explained that relationship managers are struggling to ensure they have relationships with all those that make up the “spheres of influence.” In order to reach their customers, financial services firms must be agile and have a 360 view of the customer.

Mahna added, fintech firms are “already there when it comes to agility,” but banks need to “get smart about what customers are broadcasting every day.” Today, firms have visibility into transactions, payments, and activity customers post to social media. Manha advised firms to analyze this information and use the intelligence to find patterns so the right recommendations can be made. He added, “We need to think about when we should be interacting and through which channel. It’s about connecting at the right time.”

In order to address these concerns, Salesforce has launched Salesforce Einstein, which takes machine learning and put it into everything relationship managers are doing on a daily basis. Mahna shared that AI has been built directly into the customers success platform to:

  • Discover connections to deepen and grow existing client relationships
  • Predict when a client is likely to buy
  • Recommend the next best action for every client’s financial life journey
  • Automate routine tasks so more time can be spent with clients

Companies like Farmers Insurance now use apps to get closer to the customer experience. They have a seamless icon- based app that enables customers to file claims and report losses. Information then gets passed back to agents so they have visibility into all customer interactions. Data takes all this knowledge and puts it at the fingertips of the agents and customer. As the Farmers CEO said, it “Allows us to better understand the customer, how we can imagine the future and serve customers better.”

Bank of America is using the Salesforce marketing cloud to deliver the right message at the right time, as soon as they see any activity changes with customers. The marketing cloud gives agents a full 360 view of customers– so they can see lifetime value, products and other customer information which gets passed back to different departments that need them.

And this is just the beginning. As the many different languages of financial services continue to evolve, so will the technology. And as Keith Block, Vice Chairman, President and COO Salesforce concluded, “at the end of the day our job is to paint the vision of the future.”