The business imperative around Client Experience

At the latest RETAIL BROKER SUMMIT in Toronto,  I had the honour to represent Recognia in a panel discussion with three industry UX leaders about the changing roles of User Experience (UX), Client Experience (CX) and Service Design (SD); and the related business imperatives for online brokers.

The panel was moderated by Jeff Feldgoise, Principal, Ogee, who himself has designed #1 ranked investment research tools for top online brokers and started out the session by reviewing findings from a recently published survey by Gartner. Then joining the conversation with me were Eric Lennert, Chief Creative Officer, Markit on Demand, and Alpesh Sethia, Head of Digital Content and Delivery, TMX.

I could give you my own play-by-play, but I'll do one better and offer you the formal write-up from a third-party perspective i.e. our friends at EXT Marketing who were free to take good notes! But I've thrown in some of my favorite links for good measure.

UX: THIS MEANS BUSINESS / panel discussion notes

In the self-directed channel, Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX) are really about the power of design in driving superior business results. While the two concepts are inextricably linked, there are key distinctions to be made. While UX has more to do with the platform, products and tools that customers are interacting with on a one-on-one basis, CX is focused on the entire customer journey—from working with the platform, to customer support and even the in-store experience for those companies featuring a retail presence.

Businesses that ignore the importance of CX do so at their own peril, as a Gartner survey indicates 89% of companies believe CX will be the key differentiator for future success, compared to just 36% four years ago. Customer experience is the most pressing mandate for marketers, the top area of marketing technology investment in 2014, and it will lead innovation spending for 2015.

As competition and buyer empowerment increase, CX itself is proving to be the “only truly durable competitive advantage.”

 What’s especially telling is that companies recognize the important of CX and are devoting the requisite resources for improvement. While “fewer than half of companies see their customer experience capabilities as superior to their peers – two-thirds expect these capabilities to be industry leading or much more successful than their peers within five years.”

By 2017, 50% of consumer product investments will be redirected to CX innovations.

Clarity of Purpose: Delivering Superior UX

An essential element to the best Client Experiences, clarity of purpose not only guides the online broker toward designing the most effective experiences to distinguish their brand, but it also creates cohesion between departments so that all the backstage actors can work together to deliver on the desired experience. In the best brands, there’s less of a distinction between marketing, product and client service, as all the units are moving in the same direction toward a common goal.

Brand purpose is a new idea for brand strategy focused on a set of ideals that energize all aspects of the company toward an imperative, creating the intense internal necessity that is required for market leadership. [A useful reference is The New Strategic Brand Management]

The team leading the digital UX in online brokers will have greater impact when aligned to and involved in the brand strategy along with marketing and overall client experience. 

Another key differentiator for superior CX is a focus on efficiency: giving users what they want, when they need it – so investors can get back to their busy lives. It’s no longer about increasing page clicks.

Thinking holistically about growth and integrating the different components of the business becomes a critical consideration for continued market success.

As leaders within our respective organizations, we need to be planning for how we might build the team relationships and systematic processes to create the momentum and continuity needed for a larger impact or transformation.

Company growth or attrition can pose a challenge to maintaining a well-integrated CX that continues to take steps in advancing the brand purpose.

Discovering Your Customer

One prerequisite for delivering great products or platforms is knowing exactly who you’re designing for. Collecting input from traders and leveraging those insights are an indispensable facet of creating effective products. There should be multiple tests or conversations with traders about your products each month, in whatever form, or you are missing out on useful feedback and reference stories.

While user research and testing is known to be important to optimized designs to better meet investor needs, it can also provide the insights needed to guide product lines and business strategy (i.e., creating new revenue opportunities or profit maximization).

Place data-driven insights at the point of action for investors.

Current user experience trends extend the mandate of product groups beyond web page design, and rather to conceive of what insights are necessary at the point of action, and leveraging big data to offer prescriptive analytics.

 Gartner, 2013: showing the higher value of prescriptive information vs predictive information.

Thanks to 70+ participating online brokers and partners

Thanks to the 70+ participants for being so open and engaged in discussing the industry and our collective role in moving it forward to improve experiences and outcomes for investors at large. Here is the opening video with an update about the Recognia and TRADING CENTRAL business, and the themes discussed during the event. 

Reach out to Recognia if you are interested in the next summit!
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