The Comfort Consumer Trend in Financial Services: Trust and Safety

Datamonitor are  “flogging” a new report so these words are theirs and (in this instance at least) not mine!

I have been banging on about the need for FS companies to realise the error of their  ways and to “open up” so that they can really engage with customers using, in particular, social media. But the obstacle that refuses to go away is the need to embrace TRANSPARENCY!

Is their a more damning indictment of the state of our FS industry? Well YES…it is contained in the “HIGHLIGHTS” section below I have highlighted again so no-one within the industry can claim that they didn’t realise!

OK so you can win, even retain customers on price but that isn’t sufficient to sustain profitable retention levels when your price rises…even if others are also on the increase. Inertia has, for long enough, been a reliable source for retention too but these are times of austerity and it is a very foolish few who merely accept what they are told.

Then there is that old favourite of banks and credit card issuers…”indebtedness”. These guys love it because it is cheaper than earning loyalty through offering fair deals and decent service but, what they should now realise is that these unlucky customers won’t be around for too long. They either cannot afford their debts and you both lose (after you have taken a “haircut”).

You could “win” by getting back what you are owed BUT lose a customer for life…as well as the custom of anyone who asks them about their experience of dealing with your company. People’s practical experience will always trump the outbound sales effort of a spotty youth or a glossy campaign declaring undying love for customers. See below: REMEMBER THEY DON’T TRUST YOU OR LIKE YOU AND YOUR MARKET WILL DISAPPEAR AT THE FIRST OPPORTUNITY OR SIGN OF CREDIBLE COMPETITION.

Consumers in the FS industry look for protection and reassurance from their providers in order to feel a sense of safety. The loss of trust as a result of the global downturn has left consumers feeling uncertain. Trust needs to be rebuilt, not only to offer consumers financial safety but also to increase consumer engagement and build better relationships with customers.

Features and benefits

  • Strengthen customer relationships by driving an increase in consumer engagement.
  • Demonstrate customer knowledge via an understanding of how the Comfort trend can be used to rebuild trust on a regional level.
  • Satisfy consumer demands through understanding consumers’ need for protection and reassurance.
  • Restore trust by learning how to demonstrate real concern for consumers and the safety of their finances.


The highest demand for Comfort is seen in Brazil and South Africa where 78% of consumers demand this Megatrend. The demand for this trend is low in most of Europe where consumers badly affected by the downturn no longer trust their FS providers to protect them.

Diversity, Risk and Innovation Growth

Brain Leaders and Learners is a consistently interesting and challenging blog that is worth a visit…if not subscription. Simply because it is very easy to just get on and do rather than to think, question and create. The following is an extract from a recent article.

My interest is two-fold.Firstly, who doesn’t want to develop their intelligence!? Secondly, complexity is often referred to as problem-solving capability…

Originator of multiple intelligences, Harvard’s Howard Gardner,  defines intelligence as … “the ability to solve real-life problems, to generate new problems, and to create something meaningful or offer a service that is valued within a person’s culture or community.”

Are you moving in the direction of innovative renewal? It takes a plan that’s rarely easy, and sometimes suffers heat from others’ risks.

Risk-taking tactics, open segues to filing work digitally across departments, as a way to avoid paper piles, open more access to organizational goals and save time.  Can help the old guard to leap over a few routines and ruts that hold back innovative growth.

Let your brain lead you past limitations and ruts

If you believe IQ is fixed and business is stuck in recession without options, then stagnation may be ensured at work, because brains either fuel or limit growth through mental plasticity. More intelligence at work relies on multiple intelligences, and leaders who expect dendrite brain cells to reconfigure for higher IQ in multiple domains. MITA brain based approaches facilitate originality through many mental and technological portals, such as multiple intelligences, built into strategies online.  How so?

1. Looking for more linguistic intelligence? Want words to come easier, ads to mean more, speeches to ring truer, or books to yield innovative action? Then play with words, do crosswords, join a list serve discussion, compete in scrabble, debate, or offer to speak to leadership conference. Search for new ideas on the internet, write a blog.  Or tell your best idea in a Tweet of 140 letters or less.  To develop words and language daily is to boost your linguistic brainpower, which includes mastery over language. Read more of this post

CEO’s recognising BENEFITS of sustainability

CEOs See Sustainability Issues as Critical for Future Business Successrecycle istock_000008722438xsmall

CEO’s seem to spend a lot of time participating in surveys. This may not come as a surprise to some!

Perhaps, talking about sustainability is part of their therapy to help deal with the “trauma” associated with contemplating consultancy-sponsored questions relating to the, apparently, numerous strains of a growing complexity pandemic!? I DO wonder how many [CEO’s or consultants] have recognised the relationship between the two? Irrespective we should ALL be grateful that both are now on the agenda.

The vast majority of CEOs believe that sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their business, and they want investors to more accurately value sustainability in their long-term investments, according to a new survey by Accenture and the UN Global Compact.

The survey involved 766 CEOs and top executives, including face-to-face interviews with over 50 of the world’s foremost business executives.

This new research found that:

  • 93 percent of the CEOs polled believe that sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their business.
  • 86 percent want investors to better price sustainability issues into valuations.
  • CEOs are addressing sustainability issues in new ways.  For instance, 58 percent of survey respondents cited the consumer among their most important stakeholders, even above employees (45 percent) and governments (39 percent).
  • 91 percent of those polled said that their company would be employing new technologies and innovation to help meet sustainability goals over the next five years.
  • Partnerships and collaboration are increasingly important. 78 percent of survey respondents feel that companies should engage in industry collaborations and multi-stakeholder partnerships to address sustainability goals.

In 2006, the UN launched the Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative (PRI), a $20 trillion effort developed to persuade mainstream investors to better integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into valuations and investment processes. At a major UN Summit in New York City last week, Donald MacDonald, PRI Chairman urged investors to ‘push further’ despite recent progress.

“Time and again investors have seen how ESG issues can affect investment performance and there is now a critical mass of institutional investors who know that good management of these issues is an  important factor in for the  long-term financial success of their investments.  I expect the next decade to be an age of responsibility for capital markets,” he said. “If a company has poor corporate governance or persists with bad environmental management then it can, and should, affect the long-term valuation of the company. The truth is that’s still a relatively new concept for many investors, but there are now leaders in mainstream markets that have developed the tools and models to integrate sustainability and who can push the global capital markets beyond the tipping point on sustainability.”

The 60-page report, titled A New Era of Sustainability, is available here.

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