Time to reconsider the Financial Services Customer Journey

According to Deloitte nearly three quarters (72%) of consumers still want to use their local branch to access financial services. This emphasizes the importance of the branch experience on customer loyalty—at least for now. However, our most recent competitive benchmark shows over one in ten banking customers are not satisfied with their relationship with their primary bank. This makes brands vulnerable to losing market share. Overall, 12% of all banking customers are considering switching banks in the next 6 months, with individual brands ranging from 10% to 19%. Our study also shows that many financial companies have a long way to go in order to create a positive encounter with most of their touchpoints. Look at the following:

  • 1 in 6 consumers are dissatisfied with their experience interacting with their bank’s call center
  • Nearly 1 in 5 customers had a recent problem; fees were the most common problem, followed by operations issues while inside the branch
  • Of those with a problem, 13% said it was not resolved, resulting in a net loss of 46% in overall satisfaction

The research also shows that the advisory experience clearly impacts customer loyalty. Consumers continue to visit their banks’ physical branches to speak with and advisor—and over two thirds were very satisfied with that interaction. However, although bank advisors execute well on the basics such as explaining products and services, they miss opportunities to build relationships by asking questions to understand consumers’ needs and following through on commitments. Most large scale financial institutions are investigating the customer journey and the impact each touchpoint has on customer satisfaction. They would do well to consider the following:

  1. Driving Satisfaction: To create true loyalty, and not simply complacency, banks need to deliver an excellent experience that makes it easy to do business with the bank and builds a sense of trust with consumers. This means focusing on consumers’ financial well-being with great advisory services and creating transparency regarding fees.
  2. Resolving problems is critical: Besides impacting overall satisfaction, unresolved problems lead to decreased recommendation rates. Very few disappointed consumers tell brands they were disappointed, and that leaves brands open to loss of wallet share and poor ratings in social media.
  3. Banking brands have opportunities to differentiate: Banking customers scored their primary banks low on concern with the customer’s financial well-being, understanding unique needs, and even community investment.

These are big undertakings and require a strong discipline to develop the right strategy when they begin the customer process. Consider the following when you embark on a customer journey strategy:

  • Do advisors ask the right questions to ascertain needs and make solid product recommendations?
  • Does your bank have the right processes in place to listen and respond if customers have issues—and is the response consistent across channels?
  • Are you listening to your customers across all of the relevant online, social, and conventional channels?
  • Are you aggregating and disseminating information in effective ways?
  • Do you have a clear picture of reality in terms of your ability to execute against your standards and training?

Market Force’s banking customer journey maps assess the channels customers use to engage with your bank. We will help you identify customer expectations and frustrations at every touchpoint—and show gaps in the overall omni-channel experience. If effectively designed, your customer journey mapping can create an effortless customer journey—and that will insulate you from customer defections and help you improve the number of products each customer wants to purchase from your bank. That’s a great ROI.

Contact our experts today to schedule a free 30 minute consultation that will help you determine whether it’s time to consider a customer journey strategy for your banking customers.

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Charles is a customer experience management expert with over 28 years experience. In that time, he has assisted more than 200 service related companies with their efforts to improve customer experience and loyalty. His education and training includes advanced graduate degrees in Statistics and Market Research Methodology.

Time to Re-evaluate Strategy

When was the last time you took a walk in your customer’s shoes and experienced your brand from their perspective? Having a clear understanding of their priorities and how those priorities connect to your bottom line is extremely important.

The reality is, our knowledge of the customer experience, customer expectations, and our ability to deliver against their needs, is in constant flux. If we get complacent we may find that our focus, metrics, and the systems we use to manage performance, lose their ability to create real positive change. If it has been more than 2 years since your last deep-dive into the customer journey and the associated measurement and support systems, it is time for fresh perspective.

Are you asking the right questions? Do you have the right processes in place to listen and respond if customers have issues? Are you timely in addressing customer concerns? Are you listening across all of the relevant online, social, and conventional channels? Are you aggregating and disseminating information in effective ways? Do you have a clear picture of reality in terms of your ability to execute against your standards and training? Is it clear to all what the true priorities are?

These are just some of the important questions to consider. That said, even if you recognize the importance of the customer experience, it can be easy to get lost in the daily grind and lose sight of important details. If any of the following conditions exist, now is the time for a second opinion regarding the efficacy of your customer experience practices. To make the review process easier, we’d like to share a list of telltale signs that it is time to revisit your customer strategy.

  1. Low engagement in customer experience programs with customers and/or employees and managers;
  2. Low executive engagement or visibility into customer experience program metrics;
  3. Flat or declining customer experience scores;
  4. A high degree of variability in performance across your brand;
  5. A lack of certainty in the connection between scores and a desired business outcome;
  6. Dated program design, branding and PR strategies;
  7. Reliance on a limited number of channels to engage customers;
  8. High or improving scores, with inverse financial outcomes.

If effectively designed, your customer experience program can be a highly scientific tool to manage your business, placing the wants and needs of your customers at the forefront of decision-making. By deploying best practices in combination you will elevate your chance of success, and ensure you maximize the financial return on your investment of time and energy in creating great customer experiences. 

Contact our experts today to schedule a free 30 minute consultation that will help you determine whether it’s time to revisit your customer experience strategy.

 

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Scott Griffith is Vice President, Executive Business Strategist at Market Force Information. Scott consults with client executives to design strategies that foster growth for companies in early stage ventures through IPO and beyond.

 

Forrester CX Conference: CX Investment Remains Core for Leading Brands

On June 21 and 22, Market Force participated in the Forrester Customer Experience (CX) conference in New York City. A report by Markets and Markets estimates that this space is due to grow to $8 billion by 2020, and certainly the level of commitment and investment by presenters validates that trajectory. I found the conference very valuable and walked away with a few key points that I’ll share with you. All of these points are framed by a keen focus by the world’s largest companies in creating cultures focused on exceptional customer experiences. 

  1. The customer is becoming increasingly powerful. George Colony, CEO of Forrester, put corporations on notice by claiming that we are now in an “existential crisis” with the increasing power of customers to voice their opinions and demand increasing levels of service. He believes that customers will increasingly judge corporation based on the state of their business technology and that software investments will be critical to success.
  2. Effortless customer experience requires vision. Vicky Jones at AT&T simply thrilled the audience with the bold and sweeping vision AT&T has for integrating large acquisitions like DirecTV with current mobility platforms to create an “effortless customer experience”. That focus is backed by AT&T’s CEO, Randall Stephenson. His commitment? Over $1 billion in budget to make that happen. Vicky reiterated that this is a “long game” with sustained investment and grit to make it happen.
  3. Design with simplicity as the core principle. Echoing the message from Vicky Jones, Mark McCormick, Head of User Experience at Wells Fargo, spoke to the power of simplicity in the design of products and experiences. “Simplicity is hard. Simplicity is noble”. He made an argument that products and experience that are complex or difficult to use “rob us of time time and confidence”.
  4. Map the customer journey to align the corporation. A presentation by Joana van den Brink-Quintanilha, Forrester analyst, compelled me to think again about the importance of customer journey mapping. This powerful tool makes it clear where every function and every employee plays a role in creating an effortless, simple customer experience. A good journey map will help create channel parity, simplify offers and pricing, and streamline platforms across multiple channels.
  5. Ask creative questions of your CX data to show ROI. Mike Dzura, EVP of GNC, presented a case study based on his experience as SVP of Operations at GameStop. He showed how analysis of CX data could predict top performing managers, clarifying where GameStop should make its talent investments and the strategy for growing game sales.

In summary, the conference emphasized the increasing importance of the Customer Experience, with companies like Ford, Wells Fargo, AT&T, Marriott, SiriusXM, American Express and Etsy emphasizing their own investments in time, money, and people...lessons for all of us. To understand more about Market Force’s solutions for prioritizing investments, see our strategic advisory workshops.

As Chief Strategy Officer, Cheryl aligns Market Force's strategic direction with our clients' strategic objectives. She oversees the North American client base, Analytics and Insights, Winnipeg Operations and Marketing. She has a Ph.D. in social psychology and broad business experience in both private and public companies.​

Five tips for measuring grocery guest experience

The competitive grocery space has experienced so many changes in just the last 12 months. Big players like Safeway and Albertson’s have merged. The Whole Foods value proposition has been challenged by consumers who want great food at lower prices. Regional players like Publix have captured market share. And then there’s the big squeeze from mass merchandisers like Walmart and convenience stores like QuickTrip.

In this dynamic and competitive landscape, keeping the focus on your customers and delivering to your brand standards can be challenging. So to help you do that, let me offer five tips for measuring customer experience in the grocery industry. These tips come from our most recent grocery research and some of our customers in this space, like Aldi

  • Pay close attention to the checkout experience. Cashier courtesy, bagging, and efficiency of line management really matter to grocery consumers. We’ve found that consumers are forgiving if they feel lines are being managed well, tills are open, and cashiers continue to be courteous even in the face of long lines.
  • Let the specialty departments be the face of your brand. In our panel research and client programs we’ve validated over and over the importance of service in the specialty departments. Product knowledge and suggestions are very important to delivering a great experience and can help you differentiate.
  • Solve problems. When customers have a problem, your staff need to be empowered to solve those problems, either on the floor, at the service counter, at the till, or in the contact center. Make sure you’ve trained staff on common issues and how to solve them, and the helpful and professional attitude that must be maintained.
  • Be squeaky clean. You know this, but let me emphasize the impact your store’s appearance has on your customers. A bright shiny floor and squeaky clean bathroom tells customers that you’re handling their food properly—and when they’re buying fresh produce, meat and seafood, that really matters.
  • Make sure your customers receive consistent messaging online and in-store. Whatever you say online needs to be honored in the store. Coupon redemption, loyalty card points, special product promotions—whatever consumers read online or in the store must match. If they don’t, you’ll confuse or anger your customers and hurt your brand. Consider using customer journey mapping to help you understand the customer’s omnichannel experience. 

I hope you enjoyed these five tips for managing the grocery customer’s experience and your own brand reputation. Good luck!

Jay Little is a Director of Strategic Relations at Market Force Information and has over 10 years’ experience working with some of the biggest brands in the UK. He oversees the team of Key Account Managers who will help your business understand the key drivers & insights that will drive the biggest ROI, either in loyalty or financial return.

Bridge Silos and Improve Loyalty through Customer Journey Mapping

Customer journey mapping has become very popular in the last two years with 62% of Fortune 1000 companies reporting that they have conducted or are considering conducting customer journey mapping, according to a 2015 survey by Accenture. Why is it so popular? Because businesses are realizing that their functional organization creates silos—and therefore barriers—to a great customer experience. Forrester Research notes: “Many CX initiatives don’t meet their full potential—or worse, fail completely—because companies don’t have a complete picture of what the customer experience actually entails and the complex dynamics that shape it.”

Three Touchpoint Models

Those dynamics are clearly illustrated when customers receive different experiences within the omni-channel. Consider the dilemma of one of our retail clients where pricing on the web site differs from pricing in stores. That difference creates confusion, undermines trust, and actually increases costs with more calls to the contact center.

Other clients have extended lifecycles with touchpoints that may cover years. In retail banking, touchpoints include not only the marketing touches to set expectations, but experiences with the teller, financial advisors, contact center, application development, and others who will at some point interact with the customer.

Finally, touchpoint models can assess what happens in a given location. Location-based services like cameras and beacons track entry and exit, dwell time, queuing, and other ways in which products, merchandise strategy, and service touch clients.

What to Expect From a Journey Map

Journey maps are created using both qualitative and quantitative research. It should accomplish five things:

  1. Clarify organization goals
  2. Expose root causes of CX problems
  3. Create “line of sight” across silos to understand how one department affects experience in another
  4. Identify and streamline gatekeeping functions
  5. Enlighten employees and partners about their crucial roles

    The goal? A seamless, exceptional customer experience across all touchpoints in your organization.

    For more information about Market Force’s capabilities in this area, please SCHEDULE A BRIEFING.

    Charles Cornwell is a customer experience and loyalty consultant for Market Force. Over the past 20 years he has assisted more than 200 service-related companies with their efforts to improve customer experience and loyalty. Charles' experience includes sales and consulting to Fortune 500 clients in multiple, diverse industries. His education and training includes advanced graduate degrees in Statistics and Market Research Methodology and work experience includes management of every aspect of complex research projects.

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    To discuss your needs for improving performance for your multi-location brand, give us a call. We’d be happy to discuss best practices for measuring the customer experience and compliance to brand standards, using analytics to understand what matters most and the ROI for change, and technology solutions that integrate large quantities of data on one single platform. We look forward to a great discussion!

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