We’ve learnt a lot since we launched a few months ago. Here are 5 key things to look out for in the year ahead.

1. Leading organisations will add depth to their customer centricity

The idea around customer centricity (placing the customer at the centre of a company) is not new. In fact, most organisations have adopted the principles behind this in some shape or form.

In 2015 we see leading organisations going further. In short being truly customer-centric in 2015  will mean engendering a level of authentic depth in organisations. This depth will make customer interactions better…and will help organisations to build a community of genuine advocates (loyal customers).

A few days ago we spotted something. Barclaycard had mailed statement balance updates to their customers on Christmas Day. The customer reaction on Twitter was not favourable. After all, who wants to be reminded about their credit card splurge before watching a loved one unwrapping a present? See one review here: http://smartmoneypeople.com/brand/barclaycard-revi...

Being customer-centric means that Barclaycard offer payment reminders in a range of formats. In this case, adding authentic depth would have meant looking for a way to deliver the reminder differently. Achieving this in Financial Services is not easy, but it is possible, and will start to happen in 2015.

2. #CustomerPower will emerge as a strong trend

2015 will see a hard fought general election campaign in the UK. Immigration may well rival the Economy as the key battleground, but the Financial Services industry looks set to be drawn back into the media spotlight. Is the industry lending enough to small businesses? Are customers being unfairly treated? These questions will deliver column inches in 2015.

It will also empower the public, and we see customer power impacting Financial Services too. As our reviews show, customers want to like…and even love the companies they interact with. Equally, customers increasingly know that they have other options.

Customer power is a challenge, but embraced well, offers significant opportunity for organisations and customers a like. We predict that some organisations will capture this opportunity in 2015.

3. 'Alternative Finance' will reach new heights

Increased regulation of payday lenders was a watershed moment. It rooted out the ‘quick buck’ brigade and promises to leave the industry healthier. In 2015 we predict significant customer-friendly innovation from this sector as business models evolve and reputations are rebuilt.

2014 was also the year that Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending entered the mainstream. With favourable market conditions, 2015 will see this growth continue. The pie will get much bigger, but so will the competition between P2P organisations. We predict that this competition will become aggressive as organisations jostle for market share.

4. Lending your mate a fiver will become a bit too easy

Apple won’t become a bank and neither will Facebook. What they could, and seem set to do, is muscle in on segments that best fit with what they do best.

In the case of Facebook this means payments. It would provide a new, and potentially large revenue channel. It would also deliver the richer data that its advertisers crave. We predict 2015 Facebook payments will go live.

5. New entrants will have to prove their worth

New entrants will be under pressure to prove that they are truly different, and offer something better than what is currently on offer. After the successful launch of Metro bank, new entrants know that they need to raise their game. We predict that only the most innovative (and customer-centric) will thrive in 2015.

About SmartMoneyPeople

SmartMoneyPeople is the first customer experience and engagement platform for the Financial Services industry. We use the power of real customer reviews to increase trust and transparency in Financial Services.