From self-service apps to chatbots and virtual assistants, financial services companies and banks have expended countless resources in the name of delivering world-class, digital experiences. Yet there remains a disconnect between these organizations’ intentions and the execution of CX strategies. Digital Banking Report found that while 91% of CEOs believe customer centricity is essential to business growth, only 31% of U.S. banking customers agree that their bank is customer-centric.
In today’s hyper-competitive and digitized landscape, clients expect better experiences for the quantity and quality of data they hand over to banks and financial institutions. In turn, these organizations are under pressure to not just provide the best banking experience, but the best experience across any industry.
In order for banks and financial institutions to exceed customers’ expectations and move the needle on meaningful business outcomes, they must consider the following three questions to ensure clients can cash in on CX promises.
1. Is your CX strategy optimizing the channel or the journey?
Whether it’s opening a checking account, reporting credit card fraud, or applying for a mortgage loan, customers turn to banks for a range of important services throughout their life. However, they experience friction all too often.
When I was looking for a mortgage to buy my home I wanted to turn to the same national bank I’d been using for my personal finances for nearly two decades. However, in working through pre-approvals, credit checks, and other data processing, it became painfully clear they didn’t know who I was. More accurately, as I received marketing, onboarding, and troubleshooting emails, each of the bank’s business functions thought I was a different person based on the limited view they had of my interactions with their sprawling enterprise. Because the bank had a fragmented view of me, spread across different divisions, they lost my lucrative mortgage business.
This siloed view of the client is not unique to the banking industry. Many enterprises are challenged by curating a personalized, seamless customer experience when it involves touch points across multiple business lines. Why is this? To start, it’s challenging to collate client banking data into a single source of truth. In addition, marketing, product, and client services teams traditionally manage engagement based on the channel that the business function owns as opposed to the task the client wants to accomplish.
Now CX leaders are adopting a journey-centric approach to client engagement. Instead of focusing on channel-specific goals like increasing time spent on a bank’s website or reducing the number of support tickets, banks and financial institutions can measure performance at the journey level based on what the client set out to do. Establishing journey-centric KPIs, such as increasing the number of checking accounts onboarded and increasing time-to-funding for loans, leads to client relationships with higher lifetime value.
2. Are you apologizing for poor experiences or course-correcting them?
In order to keep track of various customer journeys, many financial institutions turn to experience management (XM) tools. Their goal is to leverage historical customer data to curate personalized experiences in the future. However, XM is not the end-all, be-all solution for improving CX.
XM is retroactive. It tells you when your clients experienced friction after the fact. While understanding customer sentiment is a key component to CX strategies, XM is ill-equipped to drive real-time action. In contrast, experience orchestration (XO) enables banks and financial institutions to play an active role in curating experiences and to course-correct around friction in real time, before it occurs.
The shift from XM to XO will be critical when competing for the digital-native banking clients of the future. American Express found that millennials are willing to pay 21% more to do business with companies that are able to deliver a better customer service experience. Orchestrating experiences helps add value regardless of where a client is on their journey or what channel they are using. Lean into XO to increase the quality of engagements with banking customers.
3. Have you built in a tolerance for iteration when defining CX strategy success?
All that said, XO is unchartered territory for many banks and financial businesses. Each of these companies have different business models and priorities as well as varying degrees of digital maturity and journey readiness.
One of the first critical steps is to define what success looks like—what do you want to be able to say to your boss’s boss as evidence that engagement with banking customers has improved? Then define journey-centric goals that ladder up to this vision of success.
An often overlooked step in this KPI-setting process is to build in a margin for iteration. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of progress. Many enterprises spend so much time strategizing, their journey maps never leave the desk drawer. Heart of The Customer reports that only one-third of customer journey mapping initiatives drive action. Define success with a tolerance for some iteration and maybe even some failure.
Banking customer experiences aren’t linear, so journey implementation can’t be linear either. Prioritize agile and iterative XO strategy and be comfortable with a test-and-learn approach so that you can continue to deliver superior experiences based on dynamic customer needs.
Bringing your CX promises to life
There’s no question that CX strategy promises alone are no longer enough. Customers who switch companies due to poor service could cost U.S. companies a total of $1.6 trillion. As financial institutions seek to build lifelong relations with their customers, a journey-oriented XO model with a bias for action will be the key to driving strategic business outcomes like revenue, retention and cost reduction.