Technological capabilities are now imperative to serve customers in a meaningful way. In today’s online world, the ability to which an organisation can successfully engage with their customers and deliver its services in a digital capacity will determine its current and long-term success. Therefore, digital EQ should matter to all financial service providers, as it is the crucial ingredient to engaging with audiences in a meaningful way.  


This article at a glance: 

  • A look at the true meaning of EQ in its original application and its modern application in the digital business world. 
  • The relevance of digital EQ in a customer-focused industry. 
  • How financial service intermediaries can build digital EQ into the sales and distribution channels. 
  • The role of technology in delivering digital EQ. 


What is Digital EQ?  

Before answering this question, first, we should look at the term ‘EQ’, what it is and its relevance in the modern world, where interaction between customers and businesses is heavily digitally orientated.  


EQ, also known as the emotional intelligence quotient, is a measure of person’s ability to understand another person’s needs and emotional drivers. This EQ is critical in helping sales and distribution professionals understand and meet customers’ real needs and requirements. But as interactions increasingly move to remote or digital channels how can sales and distribution professionals make the best use of the tools available to ensure their digital EQ is telling them the right things.  


Whilst the importance of EQ in customer experience (CX) has been known for many years and businesses have long understood the importance of understanding their customers, the importance of translating EQ through digital channels is continuing to present challenges to the financial services industry. 


With the global pandemic being the catalyst for a rapid shift to digital communication, the personal and human touch is no longer the primary touchpoint for many customers, which delivers an unprecedented challenge to FS providers. How can a business deliver the brand promise and value to consumers online?  


In a competitive financial services industry, customer acquisition and retention are vital, requiring superior customer experience. Cue the rise of digital EQ. 


The birth of Digital EQ 

Digital EQ augments the traditional sales capability using data and digital tools to build more effective customer engagement and interaction (even in times of crisis or changes in customer behaviour).  


At a time of fast-changing and rising customer expectations, financial service providers must get the delivery of digital EQ right to deliver value to their customers to drive growth. While much has changed in the way customers communicate with their financial service providers, they still demand personal experience and want to feel valued and respected as a customer. 


The question, therefore, is how does the real-world experience translate into the online world, and how do FS companies deliver a truly digital brand experience?  


Why is it important  

Understanding your customers’ needs and motivations is a critical part of effective selling. When traditional ways of interacting are interrupted, it is easy for sales teams to lose touch with customers and the real drivers of their purchasing decisions. Having an effective approach to building “Digital EQ” will help to prevent this.  


The importance of EQ may seem difficult to understand as the world continues to become increasingly digital, with more people working remotely and on virtual teams. Not to mention the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) taking over many aspects of people’s jobs and our increasing tendency to use social media to interact with friends, family, and colleagues.  

However, these are the very same reasons that EQ has become more important than ever. The rules of human engagement have changed, and individuals are impacted by cultural and business expectations across the world through the globalisation of today’s workplace. We also increasingly work in team environments instead of in the isolated, individual environments common in the past.  


Approaches to building digital EQ 

Approaches to building Digital EQ can range from simple to highly sophisticated but all address three main requirements: 


  • Building a rich understanding of your customers’ needs and motivations. This can be done by capturing and analysing qualitative and quantitative customer data.  
  • Actions include everything from building sophisticated customer intelligence systems to ensuring that sales teams are populating call sheets correctly.  


  • Give your customers reasons to think about you. If you have understood your customers well and understood their needs and wants, the better you will be able to provide solutions to their problems.  
  • Actions include developing targeted thought leadership, building social media interaction and ensuring a polished web presence. A combination of push and pull marketing techniques can ensure that you effectively attract and convert the most suitable customers.  


  • Enable personal contact when customers want it. In today’s world, this means an ‘always on approach’ and using your website as a shop window and digital support to serve your customers even when your branches and call centres may be closed.  
  • Actions include offering web chat, zoom meetings and webinars or even just having simple call-back plans ensures continued contact.   



Technology as an enabler  

Implementing suitable technological software is critical for financial service providers to deliver effective Digital EQ across omnichannel sales and marketing communications. And this digital transformation of the financial services sector is well underway.  


Despite the challenges traditional providers face with legacy IT infrastructure, their highly regulatory environment and resistance to change, they must change. Digital EQ can only be realised when the customer is placed at the centre of a technologically enabled customer journey that delivers a consistent, seamless, and superior experience. 


Hesmur is a digital transformation consultancy helping financial service organizations navigate and adapt to a rapidly changing data-driven world. Through rapid diagnostic and leading-edge digital delivery, we implement measurable change swiftly and effectively, and through our network of highly experienced professionals and data specialists, we use data-driven insights to help financial service organizations maintain that competitive edge with tailored and transformational consultancy services.


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Call: +442045742661

email: info@hesmur.com

Written by Hesmur parter Christopher Hess CA, CPA, CFA. Chris specialises in intelligence, strategy, market intelligence, performance improvement, digital transformation and fintech partnerships within the financial services sector. With 20 years of international experience as an advisor and executive in wealth management and insurance he has held senior tenures at Scottish Widows and NED at Origo, amongst others. He has also held several senior roles with major consultancies, including Deloitte and EY.


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