Wasim Mushtaq on Embracing CX to Meet Customer Needs

In this latest instalment of the ‘Reimagining CX’ series, Purple Square’s MD Tim Biddscombe spoke with Wasim Mushtaq, former transformation lead, financial markets at Standard Chartered about using people, processes, technology and data to inform successful customer journeys.

Tim: How do you think companies should be approaching their CX strategy this year?

Wasim: I’ve seen what good looks like, and what it doesn’t. To maximise CX, customers need to be at the top of the ladder, supported by products aimed at their needs and underpinned by a company’s people, processes, technology and data.

Ideally, all of these elements need to be balanced and in sync to allow for vertical movement up and down the ladder in line with each individual’s customer journey.

Client journeys and insights only work if the company has the mindset to understand their customers personally. There is work to be done on the product level in financial services so that the industry is designing solutions to benefit customers, not just the companies and institutions.

Tim: Should CX conversations and efforts focus more on surprise and delight or on resolving and avoiding customer journey problems?

Wasim: I think the surprise and delight model is evolving because customers don’t necessarily want surprises, they want to know exactly what they are getting. They want straightforward service. In this industry, we are talking about money; clarity is hugely important.

Effectively communicating the expectations, timelines and risks are essential for every product in the portfolio. This means having a blend of human and digital interactions. Managing negative conversations with empathy is a huge part of successful CX in financial services.

It’s less about surprise and delight and more about simplicity and consistency and managing negative conversations in a way that shows more empathy.

Tim: How can marketers start to embed more customer experience analytics into their decision making and planning? Do you think it’s essential for future proofing?

Wasim: I do think it’s essential. Data is the new currency. Understanding it is the key. If you’re not providing more personalised, better solutions and experience using the data, then it’s worthless. For each aspect of a customer journey, businesses need to be asking what type of data they are collecting, how they are collecting it, how they are segmenting and categorising it and how they are using it.

For me, when it comes to data, the company and the product teams need to know what they’re trying to achieve and agree what data has been captured and how to use it. It is an iterative process.

I saw an example on LinkedIn recently where the data was the same but the segment was different – both King Charles II and Ozzy Osbourne are white men over 55 years old, live in castles and have high net worth. Their data may look the same, but the people are not!

Tim: What role is social media playing in customer experience right now and how does it need to evolve?

Wasim: I think we’ve seen social becoming more personal lately, with messages written more in first person than third person. There’s been more positive engagement with customers and community building, which is good up until a certain point. The challenge for companies is in understanding what their specific purpose for being on social media is. For example, I recently read about the company Lush leaving social media altogether and changing up their model of working.

I think social has been good in terms of extending the voice of the customer but I still think companies are trying to discover the best way to use it.

Tim: Technology continues to evolve but has personalisation stagnated? What stops brands from taking on new capabilities to deliver a more personalised customer experience?

Wasim: I think it has stagnated in certain industries. Big tech and retail companies are definitely the leaders in transaction-based personalised recommendations, but there are still pockets of innovation in financial services. How they use data in Fintech apps like Moneybox are a good example of this, and as Open Banking evolves, I’m hoping to see more personalisation to come out.

Open Banking may help banks bridge the gap and understand individual circumstances of their customers better, helping make their journeys smoother and more relevant. For example, it can point to a savings account with a better rate and incentivise customers to move their money there, helping them to learn more about what banks can offer.

Ultimately, financial services companies need to build cleaner processes with customers at the top, avoid complacency and be smarter from a shared services perspective. Getting these elements right translates to greater efficiency, resulting in improved outcomes for businesses and their customers.

This interview was also featured in a related article on mycustomer.com on 23rd May 2023. Read it here.

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