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Write-up: FinTech North Roundtable – Designing the future customer experience in FS

Joe Roche / 4th May 2021

On Tuesday 4th May, FinTech North gathered together business leaders from across the Financial Services and FinTech sectors to discuss Designing the future customer experience in FS.

The Roundtable was hosted in partnership with leading technology and engineering consultancy Infinity Works.

The event was chaired by FinTech North chair Chris Sier. We were joined by business leaders from FinTech and FS organisations, ranging from CIO’s and Heads of Digital, leaders in Customer Innovation & Experience, right through to strategy and planning leaders.

Chris kicked off the event and gave an overview of the UK FinTech sector, including the recent Kalifa Review and it’s recommendations around regional FinTech and the creation of the Centre for Financial Innovation and Technology.

Sam Quayle, Head of Design and Research at Infinity Works, was our keynote speaker. Sam talked us through the Financial Services journey from its genesis with the first transatlantic cable right through to the rise of neobanks.

“With each new innovation that’s come along, it’s added a new layer of separation between customer and institution” – Sam Quayle, Head of Design and Research at Infinity Works

Sam then spoke about the unintended consequences of innovation. For example; faster transactions meaning lower patience in customers, or a decrease in loyalty as it becomes easier to switch providers.

“Customer expectations have continued to rise, but the personalised service has been eroded away and along with that, customer loyalty” – Sam Quayle, Head of Design and Research at Infinity Works

“Organisations that react the fastest, putting the emphasis on customer experience, fared best in the wake of the last financial crisis” Sam Quayle, Head of Design and Research at Infinity Works

Here are 4 actions for CX leaders to preserve or enhance their position:

  1. Prioritise care, safety and trust; reach out with support, not marketing
  2. Meet your customers where they feel comfortable; enabling everyone who can to use digital channels
  3. Increase your agility;
  4. Embedding customer centricity into the culture of your organisation

The Financial Services sector of the future may well look a lot like it did in the past.

“Banking has always been a trust business… there’s transactional trust (i.e. I trust you to execute) and there’s also emotional trust, from a customer perspective I trust you to give me the right recommendations.” – Major Retail Bank

“Trust is earned, alongside trust is agility – if you can do both together you’ve got a winning ticket” – Head of Digital, Major UK Building Society

“There has always been a difference between the trust in Building Socieites and Banks. For most BS’s we didn’t go down the sales route most banks went down a few years ago.” – Strategic Planning Lead, Major UK Building Society

“Profit provides resilience” – Chris Sier, Chair of FinTech North

“Trust exists in the UK at sector level, you trust the system as much as you trust the brands. When you get into the brand level, the experience really counts. I couldn’t name a banking or building society brand I didn’t trust.” – Julian Wells, Director, Whitecap Consulting & FinTech North

“A lot of the challenger banks suffered under covid… when there’s a crisis, you entrench your trust in brands you perceive to be more resilient” – Strategic Planning Lead, Major UK Building Society

“Our front line heroes enabled us to keep many branches open and operate contact centres, to continue to support our customers. That level of dedication to our customers, at a time when we were all impacted by the effects of the Pandemic, was simply incredible to be a part of.” –  Major UK Retail Bank

“We saw greater retention throughout the whole pandemic, far greater than we expected” – Head of Digital, Major UK Building Society

“Customers who would have traditionally gone into branch have had to become more digitally savvy” – Customer Innovation and FinTech Lead, Major UK Building Society

Threats to business:

  • Climate change
  • Vulnerable Customers

“We’ve never been in this situation; everyone is potentially financially vulnerable.” – Major UK Retail Bank

“There’s a line between being creepy and useful. Customers expectations about how we use their data are ever-rising. It is our responsibility to be pro-active.” – Major UK Retail Bank

“Capturing the data – it’s easier to say and harder to do on the legacy systems that the older institutions are dealing with” – Head of Digital, Major UK Building Society

“The neobanks, by and large, under-cater for people with low digital skills or accessibility barriers” – Sam Quayle, Head of Design and Research at Infinity Works

“Some of the more traditional banks and Building Societies know they have that customer base where they do have to cater for, they do invest more in accessibility… doing that work takes more time and effort” – Sam Quayle, Head of Design and Research at Infinity Works

“I don’t think we can digitise every element of customer experience” – Strategic Planning Lead, Major UK Building Society


Final Q from Sam Quayle: How important is CX and how ingrained is that in decision making?

“Without our members there is no building society” – Customer Innovation and Fintech Lead, Major UK Building Society

“Working for a mutual BS, customer experience is at the forefront of everything we do.” – CIO, Major UK Building Society

“The mutual ethos is who we are; we’ve re-pivoted to remind ourselves and our customers what our purpose is.” Strategic Planning Lead, Major UK Building Society

“In a digital world, communities have become digital communities. Some brands ” – Julian Wells, Director Whitecap Consulting


To find out more about customer experience and customer centric service design, please contact Infinity Works.

For more information about FinTech North Roundtable events, please contact FinTech North engagement manager Joe Roche (

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