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5 Requirements for Next-Gen Customer Experience Management Platforms

Managing customer interactions across channels is a challenge for all financial firms. Customer experience management platforms can help streamline the customer's experience.

Customer experience management is much more than a well-hyped business term. It is a strategic imperative for firms looking to build competitive advantage in the face of changing customer behavior. Whether it is electronic trading, online retail banking or insurance agent portals, an ever-increasing number of interactions between financial firms and their clients occur in a self-service environment.

The shift in the channel for customer interactions does not mean that the key business objectives -- customer acquisition, cross-sell and retention -- go away. On the contrary, new ways of driving profitable customer engagements are emerging under the umbrella of Customer Experience Management (CEM).

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What can leading financial firms do to improve digital interactivity, personalization, recommendations and content optimization to increase traffic, engagement, loyalty and revenue? There are many point solutions designed to help achieve one or more objectives, but a large obstacle is successfully creating an internal platform to access all data, systems and content assets in a unified way that is not dependent on any single vendor’s rigid structure. Only then can firms control their own destiny in a way that builds agility and competitive advantage.

Delivering the right content to the right user at the right time drives engagement and business success. There is no approach available today that does this more dramatically, cost-effectively and efficiently than what analysts such as IDC, Gartner, and Forrester call unified information access. An advanced unified information access platform can aggregate and analyze all relevant information, regardless of source or format.

To ensure you have a CEM platform that fully addresses evolving customer needs and expectations, the following are five must-have requirements:

1. Integration: Seamlessly integrate disparate content and data sources (including databases, digital asset archives & user profile data) and content management systems.

2. Advanced Search: Provide enhanced search with features like predictive type ahead and disambiguation (Did you mean IBM price, Company Profile, or Research?), and guard against user frustration from getting null or inaccurate results. It must provide a personalized experience through optimizing content by audience segment and be able to analyze additional data as it is added or learned.

3. Be Relevant: Analyze behavioral data such as purchase history, user activity and popularity to make relevant recommendations of additional content that might be of interest, as well as compare textual descriptions between content using metadata, topics, genres, concepts or entities - and combine them to produce compelling results. Recommendation options should include: if you like X, you'll like Y; users similar to you liked X; show more like this.

4. In The Spotlight: Support content spotlighting to highlight content for specific queries in the form of promotions. Examples include overriding organic search results with desired order of documents returned for a search query - such as promoting product information over customer service articles; displaying ‘Best Bets' set of links for a particular search query; displaying promotions (image and text) for a particular search query.

5. Easy Data Migration: Enable quick, accurate, affordable and flexible content migration from legacy and archive systems via automated extract, transformation and load (ETL) processes. Reduce the fear of innovation by unlocking all your content and information assets, unifying them in new intelligent and active indexes.

Julio Gomez is General Manager, Financial Services, for Attivio, a Boston-area software company that offers a unified information access (UIA) platform. Gomez joines attivio from Innovation Councils, which develops intelligence networks defined by technology/business pairs (i.e., cloud/banking). He previously founded Gomez Markets, a strategy consulting firm specializing in financial services technology, and prior to that he was Global Head of Research at Financial Insights/IDC.Gomez is also the founder and CEO of Gomez, Inc., a company that measures Internet services quality.

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