Why You Must Understand Customers’ Money Triggers

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How do people relate to money? To find out, ReD Associates spent several days with 32 different families across the US and the UK. The key findings – that people really feel uncomfortable with money, and especially with the relationship between their everyday activities and the bigger future picture, the slow money, is an exciting foundation for new tools and solutions.

In what direction should financial institutions and other companies head to win and retain future customers? While there are many reports and studies on people’s day-to-day financial matters, there’s a lack of understanding of people’s emotional connection to money. This was the starting point as Cognizant and ReD Associates conducted their six months anthropological study The Future of Money.

Help people link different assets
The findings? People literally have money in their matrasses, they have a very fragmented view of their financial situation, with no apparent link between different categories of assets, and money matters are an enormous source of stress for most. In the Future of Money webinar: Fast money vs. slow money, Andreas Wester Hansen Juni from ReD Associates, gave some advice to financial institutions based on the key findings:

  • Help people fix the link between the fast money (everyday activities, transactions, etc.) and the slow money (mortgages, insurances, pensions, etc.).
  • People want to be co-producers of their digital future. Should banks take over completely or digitally enable a DIY culture? Regardless of choice, you need to work on the trust; people’s relationship to banks are now purely transactional.
  • Tap into the customer data you already have. Many banks still don’t do this, and the data is currently siloed. However, the big players have an advantage thanks to their data heritage. In the Nordics, there are also vast resources of public and available data – use that!
  • If you can use data, how do you use it? Make sure that the advisor is digitally provided, with smarter links between day-to-day activities and the future.
  • Organize around the customer through all stages of his or her life. Many fintech companies, e.g., have a very limited view of the customer. Again, big players have an advantage here.

Connect people emotionally
While many companies have been interested in the study findings, most of them have also asked how to apply it. Kaisu Christie, Digital Strategy & Transformation Senior Director at Cognizant, have used the study insights in a Future of Money Designathon. Based on the findings, participants were to help customers get the bigger picture on their money by making them co-producers of their financial futures.

The Designathon winner suggested a tool that provided a holistic view of how a financial situation looks through life. It included data-driven possibilities to compare to peers, scenario planning with predictive models, and virtual assistants available 24/7 for advice. The user could see progress against goals, experiment with different parameters, and plan for emergencies.

Start small
The above example is something that could be realized, and there are several ongoing projects trying to increase consumers’ trust in their financial counterpart. How do you get started then? Look at what offerings your company have, and start with something small. It doesn’t have to be a fully-fledged solution from the very beginning.

Also take into account how well you are performing against clients’ needs; you need to understand the emotional triggers of future events and the emotional aspect of money, things like “How can I afford my children’s education?”, “What if we’re divorced?”, or “Where will I live when I get old?”.

If you can allow customers to simulate situations like the ones above by using existing data, you have taken a big step forward. Any company that can digitally enable customers to turn a frustrating lack of visibility and control, into something more easily digested and manageable, will be a winner.

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