Two-thirds of financial services execs predict an increased focus on customer experience management programs.

Financial services executives surveyed by LIMRA cite distribution issues, including attracting and retaining sales professionals and adapting to regulatory changes, as their top challenges in 2016.

“When we look closer at the top challenges the executives chose, we see a common thread for their concerns,” says Scott Kallenbach, director of strategic research for LIMRA. “If the Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary standard is enacted as proposed, it will have a significant impact on the distribution and design of financial products well into the future.”

Executives shared insights about the distribution challenge, expressing concerns about how to attract and retain millennials as sales professionals. Related to that, executives also worry about the marketing challenge of effectively reaching and retaining millennial consumers.  

Among their forecasts for 2016, two-thirds of executives predict an increased focus on customer experience management (CEM) programs, up from 34 percent in 2013. 

“Executive responses on CEM show how companies are thinking differently about how to best serve the end customer,” says Kallenbach. “Companies have shifted from listening only to professionals who sell their products to engaging the consumers who buy them.”

In order to compete in today’s market, nearly half of the executives surveyed believe the industry needs to replicate the customer engagement experience found on Amazon.com and other online shopping sites.

To compile the “Forecasting Change: 2016 LIMRA Predictions Report,” LIMRA hosted a webinar in the fourth quarter of 2015 with 36 executives representing companies in asset management, insurance, banking and other areas of financial services. An additional eight executives who were not able to take part in the webinar, provided their predictions via an online survey.

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