Article summary: In this post, we outline nine research-backed ways finance and insurance companies can create a digital experience that meets customers' needs and expectations. All data presented here is from FullStory's original research, The State of Digital Experience 2020: Mapping a Path to Digital Experience Maturity.
Not long ago, sensitive tasks like managing personal finances and insurance were conducted almost exclusively in person or over the phone. But as data security measures become more reliable and virtual transactions become the norm, greater numbers of people are going online to conduct these important tasks.
Higher usage brings higher customer expectations, and as digital experiences become more sophisticated across industries, many customers will walk away from a less-than-perfect online experience–even for critical tasks like managing personal finances and insurance.
Offering a great digital experience is nearly synonymous with remaining competitive in an increasingly digital-first world. In an original research report we released last year, The State of Digital Experience Maturity, data showed that DX maturity can be measured across four phases across four key categories: Alignment, Technology, Outcomes, and Mindset (ATOM).
Here's a breakdown of the four phases of digital experience maturity, as outlined in the research:
For financial service and insurance companies, investing to improve DX maturity across these four categories can help pave the way to meeting customers’ digital needs and expectations.
So, what actions can financial service and insurance DX pros take to achieve greater digital experience maturity? Below, we outline nine research-backed guidelines and focus areas that span those four key categories to help you drive long-term DX success.
Alignment: The organizational structures, processes, and practices that facilitate efficient and continuous digital experience improvement.
Helps with: Creating simple, trustworthy experiences; maintaining transparency around data and pricing with your customers
1. Digital experience success should have an executive owner
While DX efforts are likely to be spread over multiple teams and/or departments, the executive owner is the person responsible for ensuring that everyone involved in the digital experience is aligned on the overarching goals.
Data shows: Organizations that report delivering an ideal digital experience “always” or “often” are 31 percent more likely to have someone in a leadership role who is responsible for the digital experience.
Data shows that organizations with a more mature DX are 93 percent more likely to report that “everyone working on the digital experience understands the organization’s goals and how to achieve them.” This implies that having an executive owner to educate, delegate, and measure the organization’s digital experience efforts is one key to DX success.
2. Cross-functional team structures enable DX improvement
Data shows: Team structure is a key factor in an organization’s ability to move quickly, and more mature digital experience organizations are 68% more likely to report they structure teams cross-functionally.
What is a cross-functional team? Essentially, it’s a team built of people who have different job functions and areas of expertise, who can come together and use their collective know-how to achieve certain goals. A team structured in this way can lead to improved decision-making, creative problem-solving, and a de-siloing of relevant information.
Here are four tips for building effective cross-functional teams:
Set clear goals for each team. Goals should be aligned with the organizations’ overall digital experience objectives. For a cross-functional team, clearly defined, common goals are a critical unifying factor.
Make sure cross-functional teams are plugged into key stakeholders. Stakeholders in DX success–like an executive owner–need to be bought into each cross-functional team’s mission.
Anticipate team conflict and pave a path for conflict resolution. By definition, cross-functional teams group together people with various levels of influence and expertise. In order to be effective, each member must feel able to contribute equally.
Make sure each team is set up for success. Teams should have both the authority, accountability and resources to accomplish the mission at hand.
3. Democratized information facilitates employee autonomy and quick decision-making
Data shows: Organizations in phase 2 of digital experience maturity–in which DX is a top priority and the organization is focused on refining the machine–are 190% more likely to report that team members can access the data they need directly.
To democratize information and combat data silos, some organizations turn to data visualization platforms that allow individuals to have near complete access to relevant customer data that enables them to do their jobs efficiently.
With the onset of widespread remote work, it’s more crucial than ever for organizations to focus on reducing the impact of disconnected teams, breaking down existing data silos, and preventing future ones from arising.
Technology: The effectiveness of the technology suite or stack an organization uses to power the digital experience.
Helps with: Offering hyper-personalized experiences based on customer data; providing the ability for customers to do essentially everything online, including digitized document collection; self-service options for customers
4. Highly integrated technologies diminish the impact of disconnected teams and prevent data silos
When choosing technologies for your organization, one of the first decisions to make is whether to use a technology suite or to build a stack. There are, of course, pros and cons to each. However, depending on the size of your organization, it often makes sense to create a technology stack that can meet your teams’ more nuanced needs.
When researching and building a tech stack, ensure that your technologies have:
Robust APIs that empower developers to enrich their tech stack with platform data and deepen the insights they receive within the platform itself
Webhooks to power workflows across the business and allow you to set up automations and take action in real time
An ecosystem of integrations that allows you to connect your tech stack and create a shared language around digital experience across your business
This is an opportunity to source technologies that proactively point you toward actionable insights and automatically surface your most important opportunities for improvement, according to potential business impact.
Building a fully integrated digital experience tech stack with FullStory has been a game changer for us. With Optimizely we’re able to run experiments on our own digital experience, use Amplitude to analyze results quantitatively, and with both connected to FullStory we can easily analyze the underlying customer experience and find the best opportunities for improvement.
- Matt Stein, VP of Product Design, Metromile
5. Technologies should provide a complete view of your customers’ digital experience
Having a vivid picture of your organization’s digital customer experience allows you to understand which parts of your DX do and don’t work, and guides decisions around how to prioritize improvements and fixes.
How do you put together that clear, complete picture? You need two important capabilities:
1) complete, unsampled data ingestion, and 2) quantitative and qualitative data.
The first part–complete, unsampled data ingestion–hinges on instrumentation and the ability to retain large amounts of data. There are two main ways to do this:
With a traditional product analytics tool, which requires you to manually tag any element that you want to monitor in order to report on it later
The second piece of the puzzle–collecting quantitative and qualitative data–gives you the ability to understand both what users are doing on your site or app and why they’re doing it. An effective tech stack will proactively surface where issues lie in the customer journey, the scale of those issues, and what’s causing them.
Mindset: The organizational mindset or culture, as well as the individual employee mindset—certain cultural traits support digital experience success.
Helps with: Soliciting and acting on customer feedback by focusing on empathy; internally, using evidence over guesswork when making DX decisions
6. Prioritize customer empathy to understand the “why” behind customer behavior
Offering a better digital experience means developing an organization-wide mindset that truly values customer empathy and seeks to understand the customer journey. And customers who are visiting a finance or insurance company’s site or app are more likely to be in a high-stress situation–making your team members’ empathy skills even more critical.
There are many ways to train this muscle including:
Speaking directly with customers,
observing customers using your product,
reading customer reviews and feedback, and/or
collecting survey responses, and so on.
The closer individuals at your organization can get to the customer experience, the more easily they’ll be able to empathize with customers’ struggles and needs. This is an area where a platform that offers session replay can come in handy–and save time. Watching real users navigate (or struggle to navigate) your site or app is a great way for non-customer facing team members to see and empathize with how users are feeling.
7. Adopt and nurture a test-and-learn culture
According to our research, companies that deliver better digital experiences more often are more likely to encourage testing and learning than their less mature counterparts.
An effective test-and-learn culture empowers individuals at your organization to share and learn from both successes and “failures” in their work. Giving team members the opportunity to test data-driven ideas and learn from their wins and inevitable losses fosters an innovative environment–where great ideas are born and shared.
Some key components of a test-and-learn culture include:
Everyone checks their ego at the door
Test ideas are backed by evidence
Transparency: You share your wins and “losses”
Outcomes: An organization's ability to understand and achieve digital experience objectives. Helps with: Prioritizing and solving issues including user frustration, funnel drop out, onboarding abandonment, etc.
8. Develop a system for prioritizing digital fixes and improvements.
By this point you know that a poor digital experience can have enormous consequences for your business. For example, 40 percent of customers say they will abandon the process of creating a bank account if the process takes too long.
Data shows: Seventy-eight percent (78%) of more mature organizations report that they are currently able to quickly ship fixes and features based on customer learnings, compared to just 35% of less mature organizations.
Identifying such issues is one thing, but knowing their business impact is an entirely different story. At FullStory, one of the key complaints we hear from product leaders at ecomm and SaaS companies is: We have a lot of data, but we struggle to find clear, actionable insights and a way to prioritize them. The key is to implement a tool that can help assign revenue values to specific elements of your DX. For example, FullStory Revenue Opportunities–a feature of our Conversions function–let you assign actual dollar amounts to elements of the user experience, creating a highly quantifiable way to determine which improvements to focus on.
Conversions immediately helped us pinpoint friction in our funnel. With FullStory, we were able to easily identify improvement opportunities, validate our findings with Session Replay, and update it quickly.
-Christiaan Johnson, Director of Product Design, Finicity
9. Optimize the digital experience for key conversions
As you think about your organization’s ability to optimize for key conversions and increase revenue, you should consider the success of your digital experimentation program. Running strategic digital experiments at a high volume is proven to generate positive results.
Research from Optimizely shows that organizations that run a high volume of experiments—21 or more per month—drive a 14% increase in revenue. Compare this to organizations running fewer than 20 tests per month, driving 1 to 4% increases.
Here are some high-level strategies for evaluating and adjusting your digital experimentation program:
Refresh your customer research regularly, using both quantitative and qualitative methods to make sure you are addressing their most important needs.
Track current product demand, and identify and validate emerging product opportunities.
Make calculated investments where you can: Hire the best talent, acquire traffic, invest in technology to power your digitization.
Benchmark your digital tech maturity, audit your existing toolset, evaluate alternatives and then consider negotiating better rates or changing to a provider that allows you to modernize.
FullStory helps your organization raise the bar on digital experience maturity. Request a demo today.