When directors and executives think about customer experience for their financial institutions, old cliches may come to mind. Images of customers smiling, staff giving an exceptional level of service, and good old fashioned hard work all feel relevant.
The reality is that a customer experience strategy challenges the most fundamental assumption most financial institutions (and businesses in general) make: that they truly know their customers.
By challenging this assumption, decision makers ask themselves: How do I get to know my customers from scratch? By creating a strategy of continuous listening, processing and taking action, financial institutions gain a new level of depth and understanding of their customers, create innovative solutions to meet their needs, and create a direction for their organization based on verifiable facts and measurable results.
When you first start learning about your customers, think about the different ways you can solicit their feedback. Email, mobile, in-branch surveys, and mailing campaigns are a few common methods to solicit feedback from your customers.
In particular, the digital channel is valuable now more than ever before. In light of COVID-19, consumers are engaging with the digital channel, often in ways that are unprecedented. For the first time, customers are truly reliant on the digital channel to conduct more of their business with financial institutions. As such, your organization should think about the ways these new experiences are dictating their satisfaction, come up with ways to engage feedback from them, and have a system in place to make rapid changes.
Regardless of channel, you can leverage the way you solicit data in a number of ways.
- Short and sweet. Data can be collected in the moment, particularly at a specific touchpoint, and ask a single question, such as “How was your experience today?”
- Touchpoint feedback. More in-depth feedback, such as surveys about experiences, can provide you a level of depth that helps give your quantitative trends, qualitative feedback, and measurable progress over time.
- Generating a reliable feedback loop. A customer who is willing to give you their time and attention by providing feedback is valuable, and if they do so once, they may be willing to help again. Think about ways you can leverage one-off opportunities for feedback to generate a customer panel. A panel provides a way to regularly solicit feedback from customers and creates a base that can be depended on regularly to automate your customer listening process.
Types of Listening
There are different ways to listen to your customers, depending on your goal. When working with a parter on a customer experience plan, consider these different ways of soliciting feedback from your customers.
- Long term. Long term listening should be at the core of your customer experience plan. Gauging where you stand on a variety of touchpoints, understanding your net promoter score, and measuring this feedback on a regular basis provides the rock on which your business decisions are made, and importantly, provides measurable evidence of your performance over time.
- Short term. Maybe you have a timely topic you’d like to understand more about from your customers, such as a major economic shift. Ad hoc surveys or lines of questioning can help you gain insight, solve problems, and be used when long term data gathering still leaves gaps.
- Tactical. If you have a touchpoint that is particularly struggling, consider learning more by gaining qualitative insight about that touchpoint. What’s going poorly? Are multiple customers having the same issue? Granularity is valuable here. This approach is less strategic, but can be incredibly valuable in its ability to identify pain points and provide a method to resolve them.
Making Sense of Data
Having a consultant or partner on hand can help you objectively look at your data, have it viewed through the lens of an expert, and provide outside knowledge about data collection and analysis to complement your personal professional expertise.
When looking at customer data, consider the following:
- Measure yourself against your past. Without an objective look at where you’re coming from and where you stand, it’s impossible to see progress, identify goals or understand where your strengths lie. Establishing a regular process of data gathering that can be compared apples for apples will bring clarity to the efficacy of your efforts and your overall strengths and weaknesses.
- Solicit advice to get a sense of the professional landscape. This is important not only to identify where you fall short, but also where you excel. You may do something better than everyone else, and you should be using that strength to differentiate your brand from your competitors and acquire new customers.
Translating to Action
Most importantly, the data you solicit should lead to action. This should include not only immediate action based on your first round of feedback, but a strategy for how you will create an ongoing process of acquiring customer data, processing it and identifying your top priorities as an organization.
Once your priorities are identified, finding meaningful ways to implement lasting change will drive customer experience and revenue for your organization.
CSP’s Voice of the Customer program helps in all of these facets, from designing a customized research plan to coaching behaviors that drive revenue.