Customer empowerment is very different from the days of American-born British retail magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge, who famously advocated the "customer is always right" mantra. In our modern age, catch phrases are more aggressive. The new sayings—such as "the customer is king," "customer-centricity," and "the age of the customer"—prove that customers now have more power and influence than ever.

Here are some stats that back this up.

Recently, Forrester Research's Customer Experience Index revealed that Customer Experience Management (CEM) leaders outperformed the market average on the S&P 500 index by nearly three times, and CEM laggards not only underperformed on the average but had negative returns on investment.

Likewise, studies by Forbes and Economist Insights found that outperforming companies were 54% more likely to collaborate extensively with their customers and 24% more likely to give customers a seat at the boardroom table.

Knowing those facts is especially important for companies in the financial services industry because customer experience is, hands down, their greatest customer acquisition and retention tool.

Changes in the Financial Sector

The increasing focus on customer service is even causing a revolution among the financial institution governing bodies, as was the case with the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) campaign in the UK last year.

The UK Payments Council recently implemented new rules to:

  • Increase competition between banks
  • Support the entry of new banks
  • Give customers a broader range of options in the financial sector

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Chris Randall is vice-president of Client Services for ResponseTek.

LinkedIn: Chris Randall