By Riaan Bekker, Solutions Specialist of Risk Management and Insurance Systems at thryve
Some introductions are never too late. Though it has been four years since Salesforce launched Salesforce Financial Service Cloud, this service continues to be a game-changer. If anything, it’s become even better, including features that appeal to different segments of the financial services world.
So, introducing this service again is not breaking news. But if you haven’t yet heard of Salesforce Financial Services Cloud (SFSC), it might as well be. In terms of addressing the most pressing improvement all financial service providers need – a greater focus on end-customers – SFSC is the catalyst that will make that difference.
I’ve previously touched on the view that personalisation and customer experiences are the forces redefining the insurance industry. But this can be said for every corner of the financial services world. In 2016, when SFSC launched, financial service providers unanimously said that the new era of customer engagement is the most significant change sweeping through their industries.
Statistics at the time reflect this change: 72% of clients would rather bank with Google, less than 30% of insurance customers reported having positive experiences, and 51% of investors are dissatisfied with their advisor’s ability to meet their needs.
Customer experiences have fundamentally reset how the finance world should do business. The ability to personalise those expectations are on businesses: 76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. Such experiences are already showing their value through ride-hailing, online shopping, hotel bookings and a growing number of examples. But the financial services world lacks a similar engagement model.
Financial firms have nearly all the elements through which to do it. A typical financial services firm will have more information about a given client than most other organisations. These internal resources have been chained by paper-based engagement: spray-and-pray marketing or turnkey products with just a veneer of personalisation.
The writing is on the wall and service professionals know this: 80% of service decision makers say emerging technology is transforming customers’ expectations of their service organisation, while 82% feel their company’s customer service must transform in order to stay competitive.
What all financial providers need is a way to exploit those resources to create a personal connection with customers. This approach must be able to scale and adapt as the provider requires, and at a consistent, manageable and OPEX-funded cost. If budget and time weren’t concerns, the largest financial firms could build their own solution to manage what are complex and sensitive processes. But that isn’t how things work in the real world.
Salesforce saw this need emerging and set its sights on a solution. Bringing together its extensive experience and interactions across the finance world – from large banks and multinational insurance carriers to local operations and fintech disruptors – Salesforce developed SFSC. This service introduces a customer-centric engagement operating model that fits with different financial services environments. From wealth management to insurance policies, SFSC has it covered. Here are some of its headline features:
- Unified Client Profile
- Financial Goal Tracking
- Life Event Tracking
- Wallet Share Calculations
- Merge and Split Households
- Organisation and Household Consolidation
- Interaction Management
- Assets Under Management
SFSC branches out of Salesforce’s original core competency: customer relationship management. It adds the nuances required by financial services companies, including controls for governance and legislation.
Many companies have avoided any significant upgrades. One reason is the threat of privacy laws such as POPIA and GDPR. They also fear that modernisation will expose them to new threats, such as cybercrime and legal action. These concerns are not misplaced, which is why SFSC was designed to meet regulatory and other legal needs as well.
I say ‘was designed’, but SFSC – as with all Salesforce services – is continually improving. A year after its launch, SFSC added specific support for retail banking and introduced AI services for enhanced analytics and process automation. Last year, it added bespoke features for insurers, enabling them to reach policyholders on the channels of the customer’s choice, and intelligently prioritise tasks. Such enhancements are often made available for current users – as SFSC is a web service platform, its upgrades are introduced into the existing service.
Why is SFSC better than other products? Salesforce didn’t just learn from its experiences – it involved many financial firms as advisors to the project. It built something the financial sector needs. Salesforce started as a customer-centric service and has this in its DNA. Through web services and the cloud, it could expand its core CRM engine to engage with all other aspects of an organisation, including data, processes and people.
The result is a service that delivers the financial services operating model that puts customers at the centre of your focus. It’s safe, secure, affordable, flexible and scales as needed. It offers what financial service providers know they need, but couldn’t realistically nor affordably build for themselves.
The world has changed. Customers want personal service and context to their needs, especially when it involves their finances. So it might have been around since 2016, but allow me to introduce you to Salesforce Financial Services Cloud. With it, every part of the financial sector can align with their customers.