Maintaining client relationships in a digitalised environment

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By Matt ConnerChief Growth Officer at Paragon DCX

Matt Conner, Chief Growth Officer at Paragon DCX, explores the barriers hindering digital transformation and how firms can break them down for an enhanced customer experience (CX).

The emergence of a rising generation of younger, more digitally savvy clients is challenging the very principles of the financial services industry, and reshaping the asset finance journey for a new market landscape where companies will be empowered to do business in a different way.

A recent study found that competition from digital challengers was driving digital transformations. Inspired by a trend already successfully adopted by global banking – where new challenger banks and neobanks have created a new paradigm for the sector – asset finance and leasing companies are setting the wheels in motion for an industry-wide move towards digitally-powered self-service models that enhance customer experience (CX).

Yet, despite the broadly acknowledged sense of urgency for an accelerated drive towards digital transformation, many firms have not yet completed their digital transformation programs.

So what is hindering widespread digital transformation? And what crucial steps can companies take to future proof the lending experience for technology-astute clients, while accelerating processes, increasing efficiencies and improving CX in the digital era?

Navigating the transition to digital CX

Naturally, when it comes to the digital customer experience, thoughts often turn to all things FinTech – be that AI-enhanced decisioning algorithms, machine learning or Robo-Advising – but in truth, enterprises need to look beyond technology and first consider the fundamental strategic changes that need to be implemented to support such a paradigm shift.

While the benefits of smart technology are clear to see – be that faster onboarding, lower costs, or more thorough client relations – without the infrastructure, and perhaps most crucially the organisational mindset to underpin strategies, companies will be unable to develop mature and cohesive approaches to digital CX.

Dismantling the barriers to such strategies must begin with a change in culture that increases agility and which allows senior executives to take ownership of CX and develop innovative solutions that place the client at the centre of everything they do.

This responsiveness and ability to pivot to a customer-first CX strategy, with a human touch, can enable asset finance companies to prioritise customer needs more accurately, and engage with them in a way they prefer. The result is client interactions that move beyond the exclusively transactional, and instead create experiences that make clients feel valued.

With competitors investing heavily in digital, and tech-savvy customers expecting better online experiences, leading asset management company Artemis, partnered with ORM, part of Paragon DCX, to develop a digital strategy that aligned with its business objectives and enabled it to evolve and adapt over time. Central to this was the creation of a new website that was simple to use, provided great content and showcased its capabilities. The website also needed to reinforce the company’s strong brand identity while delivering enhanced CX. For example, it was optimised for mobile and clearly displayed essential information.

Following the website’s launch, Artemis saw its ambitious KPIs exceed expectations. Targets for content consumption, improved engagement and brand reach were met and surpassed: traffic increased 96%, page views 43% and session time by 24% over the first year. With the ability to analyse, monitor and attribute the performance of the website, Artemis is also able to evaluate which funds and insights visitors are engaging with, helping it to optimise future sales and marketing activities.

Get glued up

The strength of CX relies heavily on internal collaboration to drive high-quality client experiences. However, research reveals that only 24% of companies are developing an approach that is joined up, while one in five (17%) organisations have a developed approach to CX, but work in silos .

This is supported by research from the Glued Up: The shocking truth about the ‘silo problem’ impacting customer experience and how to fix it report, which found a lack of time, internal politics and staff remaining in their silos are just some of the major barriers to cross-functional collaboration.

Indeed, a third of marketing and CX managers believe structural silos are a barrier, with a quarter citing poor internal communication as being the foremost challenge .

The data dilemma

While the source of internal silos is often broad and varied from company to company, data is routinely the number one problem that almost every financial organisation faces. In fact, half of company leaders admit that customer data is not centrally stored and 49% of CFOs see the ability to execute with accurate, timely data that drives quick, informed decisions as the biggest gap in their organisation.

Although the majority of organisations are data-rich, information is held in separate systems, applications, and even teams, so the inability to unify data silos and glean the actionable insights ultimately renders data worthless. Such is the scale of the problem, that some 50% of enterprises have potentially invaluable unused customer data sitting on their CRM .

By bringing the critical insights these technologies provide into alignment with the needs of the company, finance companies will be better placed to create campaigns that deliver genuine value for clients and achieve business objectives.

A unified approach

The growth trajectory of digital disruptors and the growing economic influence of younger clients is posing a significant threat to the traditional strategies and processes of large, multinational asset finance organisations. However, by balancing technological proficiency with data optimisation to dismantle internal silos, managers can gain a true competitive edge.

To download the full Glued Up report visit

* Matt Conner is chief growth officer at Paragon DCX, a digital acceleration agency, which tackles business, marketing and, digital challenges. He is a specialist in integrated communications and has more than 20 years experience in the industry.