Financial industry’s guide to customer experience success
Every industry has its threats—from new competitors and regulations to shrinking margins and global unrest. But few face this onslaught all at once—and for extended periods of time—like the financial services industry has in the past couple of decades.
Yet, you can’t expect to overcome all these challenges at once. You have to start somewhere, and 75 percent of the 50 largest global banks are starting with a customer experience transformation. And there’s good reason for this movement.
According to CNBC, “Financial services is the least trusted industry in consumers’ eyes.”
Clearly, there’s a problem, and marketing and PR can only go so far. Real interactions with your company must resemble what your messaging promises, which is where customer experience comes in.
Perhaps you’re not running one of the largest banks, but for anyone in the financial services industry, a great customer experience is quickly becoming a prerequisite. To help you get ahead of the curve, we’ve written this guide to financial customer experience success.
Amplify the Customer’s Voice
At first, the importance of your customer might seem obvious. But it’s very easy for executives to prioritize what they see as valuable to the customer experience rather than what the customer sees as valuable. For example, as McKinsey points out, companies often latch on to self-service improvements and, while this may expedite service requests, it doesn’t necessarily improve the experience for the customer.
McKinsey cites the example of a payments provider that did just this. The vendor was planning an overhaul of their technology to reduce the time it took to resolve customer disputes. But when they collected customer feedback, they found out that customers were getting frustrated not by how long dispute resolution took, but by the lack of updates throughout the dispute resolution process.
For those pursuing customer experience success, the takeaway is that you need to be diligent in soliciting your customer’s voice to inform your efforts. Otherwise, you’ll end up prioritizing initiatives that don’t provide maximum value to your customer.
Prioritize Solutions that Scale
From day one, financial service providers need to prioritize customer experience solutions that scale. Fortunately, with the growth of cloud-based software, this is less of an obstacle. Cloud-based solutions eliminate the need for expensive infrastructure and provide flexible pricing. This makes it far easier and cost-effective to test, and eventually deploy, technological solutions that would have been an all-or-nothing proposition in the past.
However, identifying solutions that scale isn’t just about software. Rather, because customer experience will fall under the purview of several departments, including marketing, sales, and customer support, your plan must allow for seamless communication between these channels.
That means mapping out the entirety of the customer journey to understand how and when customers interact with different departments. It also means establishing processes and communication procedures that do not change from department to department.
In other words, everyone should be working toward the same goal. And to do that, all departments must use the same terminology and define customer experience success in the same way. Otherwise, you end up with confusion and misdirected efforts.
Tie Your Customer’s Experience to Business Outcomes
One of the most difficult challenges you face with improving the customer experience is winning buy-in. As mentioned earlier, customer experience only works when it’s linked seamlessly between departments. But that seamless link can only exist when both the rank and file employees and high-level executives within each department buy in. The quickest way to get buy-in is to demonstrate the value of the solution or strategy you’re proposing.
With customer experience, this can be difficult. Without a system, it’s impossible. So find ways to link customer experience related results to business outcomes.
For example, let’s say you regularly collect customer feedback to find out if the customer was satisfied with their experience after placing a call to your customer support center. To identify a link to value, you could compare your customer’s satisfaction ratings to customer churn rates. If you can show that higher customer satisfaction ratings lead to lower customer churn rates, you can show a specific, quantifiable example of how customer experience is affecting an important business income.
To be sure, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to tie customer experience to valuable business outcomes. After all, valuable business outcomes for your company may not be valuable for another company. So look carefully for opportunities where you can make a clear link between your customer’s experience and outcomes that are uniquely valuable to your business.
Conclusion: The Path to Customer Loyalty
If the rise of fintech has shown the financial industry anything, it’s that a superior customer experience goes a long way. Everyone, from long-established banks and credit unions to payroll providers and credit card processors, is vying for the notoriously fickle loyalty of customers in this industry. And, for the most part, the major players in the industry agree, the path to customer loyalty is paved by customer experience success.