CSP Happenings





Topic: Customer Service Experience

In-Person, Digital and FI Satisfaction

June 18, 2019

The digital/in-person life of a financial institution’s customer is rapidly shifting. Interactions with branches have lessened, but still remain thoroughly important, serving as key moments for brand differentiation. Understanding this dynamic and the way customers think about brands based on this shifting landscape can help your organization deliver the highest possible service.

Digital Only Struggles to Make a Connection

It’s worth noting that customer who are digital-only tend to be the most dissatisfied. The combination of a lack of personality and potential issues or tasks that can’t be accomplished online may contribute to this issue. Financial institutions can encourage customers to visit a branch, reflecting the biggest demographic of customers an those who tend to be more satisfied.

However, Millennials are increasingly digital-only, a trend that is here to stay. Because of this, financial institutions need to ensure they leave no stone unturned when considering their own digital experience. This means ensuring individual touchpoints delight their customers, thinking about the overall customer journey in which those touchpoints lay, and finding unique communication strategies to differentiate themselves in a digital-only venue.

Mid-Size Institutions Close the Digital Divide

Because mid-size institutions tend to have more in-person customers than large institutions, the fact that they’re improving in the digital space makes them uniquely positioned to do well in the present and near future. Digital and mobile interfaces, which were once exclusive to the largest organizations who had the financial power to pioneer the digital path, are now more accessible and less expensive to mid-sized financial institutions, and their performance has caught up with the major players.

The Importance of Omni-Channel

Due to the often complex nature of branch visits, having a throughly thought out and fine-tuned omni-channel experience helps to eliminate growing pains in the branch experience. Customers will want to get to the heart of their issue, and providing interfaces where universal bankers can quickly familiarize themselves with a new customer will cut down on their background research time, allowing them to focus on the human in front of them. Customers will feel like their time is being respected, and that your organization has a pulse on their status as a customer and what they want from your financial institution.

Digital-Leaning Branch Visitors

Customers who tend to interact with your brand in a more digital sense, especially younger audiences, can be considered “high stakes” branch visitors. These infrequent visits present unique opportunities to engage them in a way that leaves an impression on them. Often, these infrequent visitors will come in with a complex issue or request. Your financial institution’s ability to handle this request can help solidify your place in their minds as a brand that is invested in their well-being. Failure might leave a lasting impression that causes them to seek out competitors or change their financial institution.

It’s important to note that these individuals follow their digital tendencies across different brands and purchase categories. In this way, despite less interactions, branch visitors should truly be viewed as an opportunity. Organizations that write off these individuals as only caring about digital platforms ignore important moments for their brand’s impression at their own peril.

The Physical Branch Lives and Evolves



Some bank employees and executives may feel concerned about the existence of physical branches in the future. Buzzwords such as FinTech and blockchain, along with an increasing number of digital and mobile transactions, may lead one to believe the branch is a thing of the past.

However, physical bank and credit union branches are here to stay. In an age of tech-centricity, branch experiences are major opportunities for financial institutions, serving as make-or-break chances to truly engage and connect with customers in order to differentiate from the competition. Moreover, valuable customers seek out in-person experiences to help them navigate complex financial issues of high importance to them.

Evolution of the In-Person Branch Experience

While there are inevitably some closures in branches due to an increasingly digital customer base, this number is smaller than what most people might assume. In fact, the vast majority of financial institutions don’t have plans to close a branch this next year.

With this in mind, financial institutions should think about how their branches plan to evolve:

  • Financial institutions should focus on adding value. This means creating options for in-person or digital kiosk-driven tasks, and allowing individuals to seek out in-person experiences when they desire.
  • Education of universal bankers to handle complex problems and tasks should be a key priority for financial institutions. This means a heavy investment in staff education.
  • Financial institutions should be capitalizing on infrequent branch visitors by delighting them. Educated staff, convenience and unique branch concepts, like the Capital One Cafe, will see adoption in the future.
Finances Are Viewed and Complex and Important

One of the main reasons customers seek out a branch experience is to resolve an issue. Because of this, banks should be training universal bankers armed with information and insight into their financial institution’s various functions and revenue streams, along with a wide variety of customer types, being prepared to deal more with complex issues and less with basic transactions, which consumers tend to handle increasingly digitally.

Other reasons consumers seek out branch experiences are for education about products and their general financial health, as well as performing routine transactions. On the prior, financial institutions should invest in ways to be general financial consultants for their customers in order to differentiate their brand. On the latter example of routine transactions, financial institutions should consider the way technology (e.g., digital kiosks) and their staff intersect in order to streamline those processes and add convenience for customers.

High-Value Customers

Older individuals with higher net worths and individuals with more complex financial issues, such as business owners or those with major loans, seek out branch experiences. The logic is simple: When dealing with something complicated, they want to have a face to face conversations. This is a reassurance that they can have a continuity of help (meeting with the same individual multiple times), ensures that their requests can’t be evaded, and generally instills a higher degree of confidence in their interactions.

Beyond this, customers that are more loyal tend to be those who engage in regular branch experiences. Familiarity, location and interpersonal connection all contribute to this. On top of that, as mentioned, branch experiences tend to be major customer service differentiators.

Less is More: Cutting the Customer Journey



Most organizations engage in sophisticated customer journey mapping. Each touchpoint is analyzed and optimized, generally with the goal of creating a joyful and satisfying customer experience along each step. Beyond making touchpoints satisfying and engaging, brands should work to expedite the customer journey. Doing so respects your customer’s time, shortens the overall purchase process, creates a greater sense of service to your customers and allows your organization to focus more intensely on the remaining touchpoints and tasks.

Simplifying Individual Touchpoints

Sometimes a touchpoint isn’t simply a one-off interaction, but a series of tasks, questions or processes that have to happen within that touchpoint. Normally, companies strive for excellence during these touchpoints, aiming for high net promoter scores and increasing satisfaction at each touchpoint. While this is valuable, it’s also important to streamline each touchpoint. Are all tasks necessary? More importantly, do they bring value?

Understanding where value lies, and where it doesn’t lie, can help streamline each touchpoint into a shorter number of tasks. The benefit is less customer fatigue (remember, customers might give high ratings to a touchpoint if their interaction and service is good, even if that touchpoint is too lengthy or arduous), and a simplified interaction to provide more focused training to employees.

Removing Steps Entirely

It might seem extreme, but removing customer touchpoints entirely may be worth your organization’s time. In fact, if a touchpoint can be removed, it should. Anything that isn’t absolutely essential and adding value to your customer’s interaction isn’t worthy of their time, and their overall satisfaction with the ease of your service will rise with every touchpoint or interaction that goes by the wayside.

In this light, think about ways interactions can be consolidated or batched. Customer success relies largely on ease of interaction, and while delivering value each time is worthwhile, expediting the interaction altogether is priceless.

Removing Customer Impetus

Beyond removing pieces or entire steps of your company’s customer journey, you should be working to take as much responsibility as possible off the customer. Think about the way you place responsibility on a customer, whether it be paperwork, presenting them with challenging concepts, or even having too high of expectations for their desire to meaningfully interact with your brand. By removing any responsibility they might have, they’ll have a true sense of service they’re receiving from your company, and a higher overall satisfaction.

Identifying Hidden Touchpoints

Finally, there may be “hidden touchpoints” along the customer journey that don’t even involve your brand directly. Particularly, customer journey steps such as their education about a product or service, especially when it comes to major decisions or purchases, could make up a tiresome and difficult step in their customer journey.

Your organization should work to find ways to educate, assist and help customers through this process. Proactively providing information, meeting them at the beginning of their purchase consideration and directing them to resources not only makes your organization stand out from the crowd, but boosts the customer’s confidence in your brand and reinforces the idea that you genuinely want them to make the best purchase decision possible, whether with your product/service or another.

Prepare Your Financial Institution for a FinTech Partnership

May 21, 2019

In a financial services environment that is evolving faster than ever before, innovation and adaptability are key facets of business growth for most financial institutions. Creating a seamless omni-channel experience has become a core expectation among consumers, and they now look to their financial institutions for creative and useful ways to better manage their finances. Enter Fintech.

FinTech partnerships with financial institutions is a key strategy for accelerating innovation. Financial institutions bring the allure of an existing customer base and regulatory adherence to FinTech companies, so creating a partnership can be hugely beneficial for both parties.  Once you’ve decided your financial institution is ready for this step, consider the following to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

Prepare for Your Partnership

Taking the appropriate steps to prepare your financial institution for a FinTech partnership can expedite the process and growing pains associated with this transition. Specifically, creating Open APIs is a huge first step toward allowing third-party access to customer data. FinTech companies’ access to customer data and their ability to manipulate that information in ways that bring value to customers is essential for their success. Additionally, transitioning to an Open API may require you to staff appropriately, or contract someone to help you with the transition.

Align Across Organizations

One of the most important cornerstones of a successful FinTech partnership is establishing goals and defining success for both parties. How are the FinTech and financial institution mutually dependent? What resources do they need from each other? What does success look like? How will each organization successfully monetize their partnership, and what does that monetization mean for the bottom line? Beginning with the end in mind can help both organizations work together toward a successful business relationship.

Additionally, resources allocation is an important part of a successful partnership. Who will help set up an Open API if it isn’t already established? What staff members are dedicated from each organization to help facilitate the partnership? Answering questions like these is important on the front end. Additionally, it’s important for both organizations to buy into the partnership, and acknowledge that it won’t work without a substantial amount of elbow grease on both ends. Getting both organizations to go above and beyond for each other can facilitate a successful partnership.

Expect Hurdles

Perhaps most importantly, both organizations should understand that a partnership is a long term effort, leading to long term return on investments that may take months or years to fully realize. Having realistic expectations about the speed of a partnership while emphasizing the mutually beneficial aspects of the partnership can help both parties get over growing pains. Additionally, each organization should lean on each others’ strengths and areas of expertise to help them get over difficult periods. And, last but not least, consider bringing on a neutral third party to help navigate your partnership. A consultant who has worked with these types of partnerships before can help set realistic expectations, prepare both organizations for the most difficult parts of a partnership and ensure that everyone is working toward a common a mutually beneficial (and profitable) goal.

 

Personalization for Financial Institutions

May 16, 2019

“Personalization” is a hot topic within the customer experience world. The core concept of personalization is to establish a brand interaction and customer journey that feels less like a major corporate personality, and more like a reflection of the customer making a purchase. When this concept is applied to financial services, delivery looks like a financial institution that understands its customers’ personal finances, anticipates their activity to alert them when they might make mistakes, protects them against fraudulent activity and proactively supplies them with information and resources to help them make the best decisions possible for their unique financial situations.

Preventing

Financial institutions should use AI and machine learning to understand their customers’ typical banking activities. What are their bills? How often do they get paid? What are typical internal transfer amounts for them? When a financial institution automates the collection and analysis of this information, they can prevent customers from making errors that might inconvenience them. For example, protecting against overdrafts is possible when financial institutions automatically generate alerts about low account balances. Similarly, when machine learning knows what average transfer or payment amounts are for an individual customer, it can point out to the customer when she makes an unusual action, such a large payment or transfer, and verify this atypical action is intended by the customer.

Alerting for Security

When customers are contacted with specific questions and information about potential fraud on their accounts, it reinforces the idea that they are more than a number to financial institution. Instead, they know they are being treated with a high degree of importance and detail. Potential fraud alerts also ensure them that they can have confidence their financial institution will look out for them, rather than having to closely monitor any unusual activity themselves. Similarly, alerting customers when unusual logins happen, or when out-of-the-ordinary purchases are made makes customers feel in control of their financial security and appreciated by their financial institution.

Informing and Guiding

More than ever before, customers are looking to their financial institutions for help and advice in their personal finances, rather than simply viewing their financial institution as a house for their assets. Budgeting tools, creative investing options and debt repayment psychological tools only scratch the surface of the new world of personal finance tools customers now have at their fingertips. Rather than trying to offer these solutions alone, financial institutions should make sure their data sharing protocol is up to par and work to establish meaningful FinTech partnerships. FinTech organizations can utilize customer data to help provide this type of guiding, and these experiences transform the financial institution from a service vendor to a well-informed and invested partner.

Proactively Offering Solutions

Beyond offering advice and feedback about customers’ personal finances, financial institutions should be able to use customer data to create tailored offerings for customers that feel timely and valuable. Internally, financial institutions should think about loans, special accounts like CDs and applicable investment opportunities as areas where customer data can help navigate a sophisticated and applicable pitch. By doing this, financial institutions grow their level of intimacy with a customer, benefit from a larger customer portfolio and open the door for future recommendations.

Beyond internal selling opportunities, financial institutions can use customer data to create meaningful third-party partnerships, where customer data can help guide what type of partnership would be beneficial, and customers can be provided with incentives (such as rewards and discounts) for continued loyalty. Additionally, pre-qualification for certain offers, such as loans, can help streamline the process and make sure any loans customers consider are applicable and readily available to them.

Pitfalls in the Customer Journey

April 30, 2019

Most customer experience initiatives focus on touchpoints, and rightfully so. Touchpoints, or moments when a consumer interacts with your brand in some way, are the stepping stones of the overall customer journey, and improving individual touchpoints leads to greater customer satisfaction. With that said, the overall customer experience and value derived from the customer journey is greater than a simple sum of its touchpoints. Sometimes, while individual touchpoints deliver quality, the overall journey can be flawed. Consider the following:

Measurement Can Be Misleading

A good way to get a grasp on this issue is to compare your NPS with your aggregate touchpoints. If the two don’t align (ie the NPS is well below the average of your touchpoint ratings), you may have one of two issues:

– You have important touchpoints that are performing poorly. If your overall touchpoints are good, but you have a few low outliers and a low-performing NPS, you could be neglecting your most important touchpoints. Key driver analyses can help identify the most improtant touchpoints in your customer journey, but keep an eye out for this.
– Your overall journey is flawed. If individual, high-importance touchpoints aren’t the culprit of an overall low NPS, your customer journey as a whole could be flawed. Take a moment to step back, invest in listening to your customers, and understand the customer journey from beginning to end to understand where dissatisfaction arises.

Understand Customer Learning

A common source of dissatisfaction in the overall customer journey could be in the learning process. Thinking about key customer questions related to your business: What is obvious, and what isn’t about your product/service? Where are customer getting their answers? How easy are those answers to find?

Issues in the learning process can derail your overall customer experience if the learning process isn’t intuitive, accessible and exciting. On top of this, some organization may be overlooking learning steps in their customer experience. It’s important to understand that not all steps in the customer journey involve a direct interaction with your brand. Background research, such as looking at online reviews, is an essential step in your customer journey, and your organization has to be willing to acknowledge and improve steps such as this to the best of its ability.

Qualitative research can play a role in improving these steps, by understanding what is confusing customers, and where they are investing their own personal time to understand an aspect of your product or service. Understanding the learning process means understanding your customer and their most pressing needs.

What Brings Value? What Doesn’t?

Another major source of dissatisfaction in your customer journey may be sheer exhaustion. Your customer journey should have steps in it that bring value, delight your customer and add to their well-being. While most organizations strive for this type of customer journey, there may be excessive amounts of hoops customers have to jump through.

Consider the way you choose to balance cost cutting initiatives and customer self service with value. Notably, there may be specific opportunities to “trim the fat” of excessive touchpoints that don’t bring value to the customer and simultaneously cost your organization time and resources. Any way you can find to streamline the customer journey allows you to focus more on the necessary touchpoints, save your customers time, and optimize the value your organization brings.

Breaking Down Silos in Customer-Centricity

April 16, 2019

How much do you know about your internal analytics team? If you’re an executive, you may have valuable insight, but what about the managers and universal bankers at your various branches? How much does your app development team understand the day-to-day experience of a teller? While these groups have somewhat disconnected responsibilities, they all work toward the same goal of better serving customers and creating meaningful partnerships. As such, if you can get these diverse groups to interact with each other more, you can reveal learnings and opportunities otherwise unseen in your financial institution.

Understanding the Influence Separates Services Have on Each Other

Organizations have to interact with each other to figure out how their separate tasks and responsibilities come together to help the customer. Take the example of the dynamic between an app glitch and the customer service department. While customer service may be trained to handle a wide variety of tasks, handling work-arounds for tech issue such as mobile glitches could be out of their scope. Therefore, when a confused customer reaches out to customer service regarding a glitch, they may additionally report a poor customer service experience if they aren’t able to get their questions resolved.

Examples such as this exist across a variety of departments and teams within a financial institution. Marketing materials affect customer expectations when they interact with branch representatives. Data analytics make product recommendations to customers, such as new accounts or loans, which they may apply to online. Customers are dynamic, and tend to think about their experiences more holistically than organizations. Seeing things through their lenses helps financial institutions provide higher value and better service.

Internal Access to Comprehensive Customer Information

Part of breaking down department silos requires educating employees about other departments. However, while learning about other people’s work is important and valuable, understanding the way their work connects to the customer is vital. Universal bankers should be given access to customer information that is succinct and useful to their communication. This can combine information impacted by various departments, such as the customer’s omni-channel activity (digital), any loans they have and notes from past customer interactions (customer service). When universal bankers apply this correctly, they can enhance the customer experience through better service.

This type of customer data aggregation also helps the organization as a whole better understand the customer journey. In a dashboard a universal banker accesses, they should (hopefully) be able to understand the customer journey up until that point, and document an touchpoints that haven’t been accounted for. In this scenario, the old school approach of asking a customer how they learned about a service or what information gathering they did can provide valuable insight and shape the way the organization as a whole looks at the customer journey.

Creating Selling Opportunities

Encouraging different groups within your organization to interact can lead to the revelation of selling opportunities. Consider an example of a digital advertising team interacting with universal bankers. The digital team may focus on various analytics to predict customer needs based on their financial situations. However, by interacting with universal bankers, they can gain more context about the statistics along with useful framing of solutions for customers.

The reality of financial services is that it serves a diverse set of needs. One on hand, customers themselves are diverse individuals with various needs, preferences and opinions. More importantly, the individual customer has a diversity of family dynamics, interests, and multifaceted financial factors that play into their overall well-being. This puts a huge responsibility on financial institutions: to try to understand and serve the whole person, rather than focusing on an individual need. By getting analytics, universal bankers, advertisers, loan experts and compliance professions to interact, financial institutions can begin to put this puzzle together and customize the way they sell to, and interact with, their customer base.

April Trends: Innovations in Financial Services

April 10, 2019

With 2019 in full swing, this year is already shaping up to be hugely transitional in the world of financial services. Change can be anxiety inducing, especially in an industry that has traditionally functioned under a premise of security and heavily regulation. With that said, Changes in open banking and FinTech open up a new world of opportunity to excel in customer service and the overall customer experience. Here are a few trends to consider for your financial institution this year:

Data Visualization for Internal Use

More customer data is available than ever before. On one hand, this data is being made available to the customer in the form of budgeting dashboards. Showing customers information like mortgage amortizations, projected retirement cashflows and recommendations for how they can tweak their budgets are all coming in full force. Similarly, financial institutions are beginning to become more savvy at customer-specific ad recommendations and making major decisions based off customer segments.

However, another area of opportunity lies in quick, real-time education of financial institutions’ staff based on individual customers. Having an abundance of customer information available is only useful if it can be processed and applied in real-time to help aid customer interaction. Financial institutions should focus on making pertinent information about customers easy to identify for their universal bankers. Converging disparate financial pieces (loans, mortgages, monthly expenditures, changes in spending habits) in succinct ways enables universal bankers to inquire, document, and recommend solutions based on an individual’s complex financial picture.

Enhanced Support Amid Open Banking and APIs

The future of FinTech and banking is both clear and uncertain in terms of its trajectory. There is certainty in the idea of tech disruption in financial services, open banking and the sharing of customer information to third parties to add value and create opportunity. However, the specific way these FinTech organizations will impact financial services, and which services/products will offer the most value, remains uncertain. The good news is that financial institutions don’t need to identify the major impact players in this space yet, they simply need to open themselves to these opportunities. Making APIs available to third parties opens the door for “passive” innovation by letting third party tech companies apply your financial institution’s data with their own platforms. Simply put, the time to develop and provide an API to third parties is now in order to be on the front end of coming financial services innovations.

Enhanced Visual Interactions in Banks

Bank and credit union branches feel somewhat enigmatic at the moment. On one hand, consumers are conducting an increasing amount of the bank activity online and through mobile, taking some attention off of bank branches. On the other hand, this puts extra pressure on branch visits to leave a lasting impression and create a customer loyalty bond that is more difficult to do online or with mobile.

The increased use of kiosks give customers an opportunity to self service in ways that are proven to improve customer satisfaction when applied correctly. Additionally, visual screen displays allow for a flexible medium to tap into local events, culture and create a bond that extends beyond a transaction and attempts to form a deeper bond with customers. These factors, combined with a staff of universal bankers armed with customer information has the potential to create an experience that delights customers and creates a unique moment.

Balancing Security With Innovation

As the open API format of financial services continues to evolve, financial institutions will need to find ways to safely utilize the customer data they have historically been entrusted to protect. The PSD2, the second Payment Services Directive being established in the European Union, will likely become an international standard for financial institutions and payment services to operate under. This standard takes some of the responsibility for protecting customer data away from banks and into the hands of customers, with enhanced security checks. In short, this means that banks and credit unions will need to be aware of these changes in security measures, educate their customers, and most importantly, be ready to evolve with the these changes in the market. Traditional financial institutions will see an influx of competition from third party providers, and it is up to these financial institutions to utilize FinTech partnerships and their own offerings to maintain the interest and attention of their existing customer base.

Financial Institutions: Staying the Course Amid Big Tech Disruption

April 5, 2019

Apple’s recent release of the Apple Card follows a familiar trend: tech and major tech organizations playing a disruptive role in financial services. For bank and credit union executives, these types of changes can feel like an existential crisis. However, while things are changing faster than ever before, financial services decision makers need to see this transition as an opportunity to position themselves for the future.

Innovation Officers

The reality of an ever-changing landscape is that someone will have to take the lead on change and guide their respective financial institutions from discovery to full implementation of major organizational changes. Individuals like CEOs and COOs likely already have their hands full with the day to day responsibilities of the organization, and may not have the capacity to navigate such changes.

Hiring a Chief Innovation Officer, an Innovation Director, or someone of this nature can help organizations stay ahead of trends and prioritize their initiatives based on pertinence and ROI. Chief responsibilities of this person can include:

– Exploration Attending trade events, maintaining a pulse on banking news and understanding the competitive landscape

  • Financial and Resource vetting Understanding which initiatives may be feasible for an organization based on workforce and financial resources
  • Vendor Solicitation Seeking out assistance from potential partners, consultants and any third party resources to bring new innovation to life
  • Transitionary planning and staff direction Overseeing the implementation of new initiatives and shaping the overall plan for change
Change Management and Agile Structures

With anticipated change, financial institutions should have a foolproof change management structure in place. Understanding how new initiatives will be communicated, who will be responsible for follow through and how behaviors can be reinforced are key to success. Before any meaningful change can truly happen, addressing this general structure will help to guide implementation when rubber hits the road and a prospective innovation becomes a plan ready to be acted upon. Executives teams can start early by establishing a hierarchy for implementation within their institution and a general framework for notifying, teaching, improving and reinforcing new behaviors.

Staying Calm Amid Disruption

In an environment of unprecedented change, executives may feel tempted to act in reactionary ways. Taking on a multitude of initiatives, seeking out an edge in innovation and still trying to maintain high quality in day to day operations may seem like the only solution to keep pace. However, overextending your team will lead to fatigue, lack of focus and an end product of half-baked services and offerings.

Instead, financial institutions should focus on iterated, calculated change based on areas of their business that have the most potential to improve the customer experience. Creating a clear mapping of various customer journeys and nailing the omni-channel experience should be first priorities. As disruptive technologies continue to evolve, financial institutions will need to stay aware of the industry’s direction, but don’t necessarily need to be the players pioneering the way, as long as they’re able to act once opportunities with a clear ROI are established.

Consumers (Sometimes) Like Self-Service

March 19, 2019

Self-service opportunities in banking can streamline a customer touchpoint, increase utility of your brand and allow your organization to provide more value by focusing on complex tasks customers truly wouldn’t be able to handle themselves. The key is knowing when and where to utilize self-service, and any pitfalls that can change this approach into a burden.

Pros

Simple tasks with a minimal amount of time between beginning and end are ideal for self-service. In other words, having to rely on a bank representative should feel like an inconvenience, because the service is simple enough that it doesn’t necessitate assistance.

Obvious examples include things like internal back transfers, bill pay, and other tasks which have become self service with the advent of mobile technology, such as depositing checks via an app. 

Cons

The largest shortcoming with self-service is quite obvious — that it puts impetus on the customer to accurately and efficiently complete a task. Organizations need to be careful about when they choose to create self service opportunities, and why they’re created. Self-service should always be in the interest of the customer, genuinely creating something that is easier for them to complete themselves than the effort that would be required to get on the phone, online or in a branch with a representative.

Some organizations utilize self-service as a cost cutting mechanism, replacing an activity that would be better suited for a financial institution representative with the customer’s own leg work. This runs the risk of hurting the customer experience, making brand interactions feel arduous, and creating more subtle losses in the long run in terms of lost revenue and opportunity due to poorer customer experience.

Complexity of Task Dictates Self Service

Simply put, customer experience directors need to take a critical look at processes to understand whether they can be utilized in a self-service environment, and whether that experience adds value to their customers.

  • Can it be completed in a single sitting? Customers should be able to complete a task and move on, requiring only a notification that the task was validated later.
  • It is achievable for customers? Can customers easily complete this task without much education, a learning curve or potential confusion?
  • Is it verifiable? Once the task is completed by the customer, can a hands-free process take place to verify the actions they took, without creating difficulty for them?
Branch Interactions Matter

Among discussion about self service, it’s important to note the value of branch experience. The world of financial services will never be completely self-service because the importance of regulation and inherent complexity of personal/business finance will always require navigation by experts. Refocusing your organization and staff on those complex tasks, reviewing the self-service process and improving both adds value to your customers and gives them the services they want in a deliverable package that is most convenient to them.