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.

With nearly 20 years working in a variety of operations and change management roles in banking and financial services, Wasim Mushtaq has been lucky to see many forms of client engagement and how teams manage it.

“I’ve seen what good looks like, and what it doesn’t,” he explained. “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.”

Products for the people

Offering products in line with customer – not corporate – needs is essential to building positive customer experiences in financial services. When it comes to designing products – and marketing them effectively – the focus needs to be about clarity, trust and simplicity.

“Customers don’t want surprises, they want to know exactly what they are getting. They want straightforward service,” Mushtaq explained. “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,” he continued. “Managing negative conversations with empathy is a huge part of successful CX in financial services.”

To meet these requirements, asking and answering the questions: ‘Why does this product exist?’, ‘What problem is it solving?’ and ‘Where in the customer journey are their problems and interactions supposed to occur?’ should be integral to the product development lifecycle.

Smart data = informed decisions

Data plays an essential role in finding answers and helping financial services companies to put customer needs at the heart of the products and services they offer. Used correctly and together with human input, data insights are a hugely valuable tool in building effective customer journeys.

“Data is the new currency,” said Mushtaq, “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.”

Companies need to ensure they are looking at the data through a customer-first lens, Mushtaq cautioned: “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.

“You need to know what outcomes clients want to achieve and agree what data has been captured and how you can use it. It is an iterative process.”

Trying to tackle everything at once can lead to companies looking at the wrong facts or getting lost in too much data. Citing an example he’d seen on LinkedIn, Mushtaq said, “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!”

To help avoid pitfalls like these as well as build relationships, Mushtaq recommends monthly check-ins with clients.

Fintech and Open Banking – the future of CX?

In addition to the ‘people’ element of regular client interactions, Open Banking can play a role in connecting financial services institutions to their customers. It can also help to re-invigorate the stagnation in personalisation that the industry is experiencing.

“Open Banking may help banks bridge the gap and understand individual circumstances of their customers better, helping make their journeys smoother and more relevant,” said Mushtaq. “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.”

“Big tech and retail companies are definitely the leaders in transaction-based personalised recommendations, but there are still pockets of innovation in financial services,” continued Mushtaq. “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.”

As businesses and their employees become more digitally savvy, aligning the holy grail of people, processes, technology and data becomes even more essential in advancing CX in financial services.

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


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