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Dave O’Flanagan
27 March 2019

Financial Services, Airlines and Channelling Henry Ford

Back in 1908, Henry Ford built and sold the first Model T. Easy to drive and maintain, it was a good car and a commercial success.But that wasn’t enough for Mr. Ford.

He wanted a larger workforce. A bigger factory. He wanted to build more Model Ts, more quickly. But he didn’t know how to do it. No other car maker did, either. So he did what to him made complete sense: he looked outside the industry for inspiration.

By 1913 he had borrowed a hatful of ideas and developed the first moving assembling line. Seven short years later: more than half the cars in America were Model Ts.

What if we could, Ford-style, bring the two industries together?

Ford did something that on the one hand seems obvious, but on the other deeply counterintuitive. It’s odd to think that the answer to the problem keeping you awake at night might be hiding in the brain of someone who does something entirely different.

But recently this most simple of ideas got us thinking. I’d been having a lot of conversations with contacts and customers at financial services brands. They were all telling me the same things: disruptive new players are redrawing the rules. The fight to rebuild consumer trust continues. It’s an uncertain regulatory environment. Margins are squeezed.

And I heard one thing above all: together, those issues have intensified the idea that customer experience, led by personalization, will determine differentiation and commercial success.

Banks can certainly do more to create connections with customers: ‘traditional’ players have never had such lingeringly low NPS scores. The trouble is, a range of overwhelming barriers stand in the way, from legacy infrastructure to regulation.

It was these barriers that led us back to Henry Ford.

The airline industry is incredibly similar in dynamic to financial services, facing the same technological, regulatory and commercial barriers and a similarly disrupted competitive landscape. Despite all that it has come to lead the way on customer experience and personalization.

We’re doing exactly that on 28th March. We’re hosting an exclusive webinar with leaders from financial services and airlines to discuss what it takes to achieve leadership in customer experience. Given they share so many similarities, what can financial services learn from the world’s leading airlines?

Di Mayze from Scratch Consulting will host, and I’ll be participating alongside Eddie Dillon, Director of Innovation at KBC and Dave O’Donovan, Director of Digital and Mobile at Aer Lingus. Marketers in financial services will hear how the world’s leading brands are thinking about personalization today and pick-up practical tools and techniques from first-movers.

Airlines have always led the way in marketing innovation – consider the emergence of loyalty programmes, for example. I’m sure there’s much more that could be adapted or borrowed. I hope you can join us on the 28th.

Dave O’Flanagan

Dave is CEO at Boxever – a market-leading personalisation platform that uses data and AI to make every customer interaction smarter. Boxever is recognised by Gartner as a leading player in personalisation and ranked by Forbes alongside Google, Apple and Amazon as one of the most powerful examples of AI in use today.

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