In my previous blog posts in this series, I introduced Accenture’s Technology Vision 2017 and took a brief look at how three trends—the growing role of AI, ecosystem power plays and an on-demand workforce—will impact financial services (FS) organizations. In this post, I look at how another trend, ‘design for humans’, adds value. 

FS is a services industry that is built around the customer. With rapidly maturing AI and Internet of Things (IoT) interfaces, and increasingly connected home, work, business and lifestyle environments, organizations are able to tap into masses of data. This gives them insight into how people think, what they want, and how they react. For FS providers, knowledge of customers’ personal and workplace behaviors and goals signals entry into an era of ‘living services’.

Living services offers a powerful opportunity

With this level of data available, insurers can, for example, shift from pooling and pricing risk based on historical data to automatically assessing and pricing risk directly, individually and in real-time. It also means insurance providers can now offer real-time services and risk management solutions, such as a ‘pay as you drive’ option. And, with a better understanding of which incentives will motivate positive behavior change, the doors open to opportunities to reduce claims.

In short, the opportunity to ‘design products and services for humans’ allows FS organizations to strengthen their long-term relationships with customers and become a bigger part of their everyday lives. It will change the provider’s primary role from driving people toward a product or service, to partnering with customers to reduce risks or better manage their finances.

How are FS organizations responding?

These are the responses of the FS executives surveyed in Technology Vision 2017:

  • 80 percent agree that organizations that tap into what motivates human behavior, and design the customer experience accordingly, will be the next industry leaders.
  • 79 percent of insurance executives agree that organizations that understand customers’ objectives, and design tools to meet those objectives, transform themselves from provider to partner.

Changing how FS organizations do business

The applications and solutions now entering the market to provide ‘living services’ make use of the IoT, telematics, intelligent automation and other interactive, intelligent and real-time technologies. This is going to require that FS organizations make fundamental changes to the way they do business—from architecting their systems, to better understanding behavior, rethinking their interactions with customers and employees, and recalibrating the role of products and services as pieces of a larger customer journey.

This may be easier said than done.

  • Despite an increase in the amount of customer data and insights available, 67 percent of bankers agree that their organizations struggle to fully understand their customers’ needs and goals.

Design-centered thinking will be required and it will need to be surgically precise. In addition, because interactions are hardwired into the technology, the bank’s technology will need to be agile enough to change as design thinking changes.

Imagine a customer walking up to an ATM with a blank screen that is simply waiting for the customer to dictate the interaction. It means that the bank must adapt its model, infrastructure, and workforce to ensure that every customer interaction is a low-friction, enjoyable experience that fits with the way customers want to interact, not how the bank wants them to interact.

Is your firm already starting to think about, or offer, living services?

For more examples of the kinds of ‘built for humans’ services FS organizations are beginning to offer, and a look at a 100-day and 365-day plan to move these organizations closer to the delivery of living services, link to Accenture’s Technology Vision 2017 for Insurance and for Banking.

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