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Tagged: cem

Are CMOs Ready to Take Responsibility for the Customer Experience?

June 22, 2016

Should Chief Marketing Officers be customer experience experts? Looking at the increasing trend of CMOs becoming the chief managers of customer experience (or CX) for their brands, the answer is a resounding yes.

According to a recent Gartner study, a considerable number of CMOs say the most-increased expectation their CEOs have of them, is that they lead customer experience. A corroborating report by Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud and Deloitte, titled Bridging the Digital Divide: How CMOs Can Rise to Meet Five Expanding Expectations,” names customer acquisition, personal experiences and customer engagement as the top three external marketing priorities of a CMO. Sanjay Dholakia, CMO at Marketo, even goes so far as to say that by 2020, CMOs will have become responsible for the entire customer journey.

While CX may not traditionally be regarded as a marketing function, new research unequivocally proves it to be not only a decisive factor in brand identity, but also in differentiation within the marketplace. Customer expectations have evolved: a 2015 study found that 42% of Americans would turn away from a branQuote to support CMOs involvement in CXd after just two negative experiences.

Positive customer experiences, on the other hand, not only influence the way a bank is perceived, but also play an active role in retention and repeat business through customer loyalty, and eventually in increased revenue. According to the Gartner study, 89 percent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience in 2016. Whereas the quality of customer service was once seen as a separate, ‘internal’ issue, nowadays it’s an inextricable and decisive factor in a bank’s advertising and marketing strategy.

That said, the question is not whether CMOs should become the stewards of their bank’s CX. The question is: are they up to the task? “It’s a new expectation and it’s a difficult expectation,” says Laura McLellan, VP-Marketing Strategies at Gartner.

When the study asked CMOs about the areas in which they’d made the most progress, customer experience came in last.

Clearly it’s not just customers who are on a journey; a lot of CMOs have journeys of their own ahead of them. Challenges include tying together web, commerce, and mobile technologies to not leave any gaps in quality; centralizing customer data; and providing customers with the best possible interactions with every part of the bank, down to each branch.

This may sound daunting, but like every journey, building up great CX starts with a single step. There is no need for CMOs to reinvent the wheel: the expertise to research customers’ experiences and help enhance them is already at hand. CSP has nearly 30 years of experience with customer satisfaction research and improvement, specializing in financial services. Our seasoned experts and proprietary tools can help you along your individual journey.

One thing is certain: as marketers invest more in improving customer experience, and banks adopt CX as one of their most important strategies for staying ahead of the competition, no CMO can afford to stay behind. In order to be prepared for the future, take the first step now.

Banks, Don’t Overlook the Business Customer Experience

October 29, 2015

When banks and credit unions look at the topic of customer satisfaction, most likely they are thinking about their consumer customers – students, retirees, and everyone in between. But what about business customers? A new business is started every minute in the U.S., and some predict that over half the labor market will be self-employed by 2020. This creates a huge opportunity for banks to fill these entrepreneurs’ needs.

Banks who want a piece of the small & mid-sized business pie need to devote attention and resources to the business customer experience just as they would to consumers. Business and consumer customers walk through the same door into the same branch, but their journeys, needs, and expectations diverge from there.

What do business banking customers value?

personal-791345_640By and large, the same basic elements apply to both consumer and business banking customers – friendly and competent customer service, product availability and associated fees, etc. — but they look at those elements from different angles.

For example, the availability and quality of mobile and online banking tools are valuable drivers of satisfaction to both consumers and businesses, but they’ll be using them very differently. It’s unlikely that the same portal will meet both of their needs. And while the consumer segment has embraced digital banking readily, small business banking customers still favor visiting a branch to conduct their affairs.

Likewise, a consumer may not be bothered if they interact with different faces each time they perform a transaction as long as the quality is reliable, while business owners are more comfortable with an ongoing, consistent relationship with the same person or team of people. One survey found that small- and mid-sized businesses cited their relationship manager as the most important point of contact with their bank — more important than online banking by a wide margin.

Business owners, especially small businesses and start-ups, don’t just need someone to handle a transaction; they are looking for a partner to help them navigate the complexities of things like payroll, taxes, cash flow, and SBA loans. Consistency helps build and maintain trust, particularly if the business hits a rough patch and needs some flexibility or extra help.

Just like consumers, business customers want to feel understood on an individual and specific level, and want service that’s personalized to them. A later survey by J.D. Power & Associates, referenced here, found that business customers who felt that their relationship manager ‘completely understands’ their business were far more likely to say they’d definitely stick with their bank than those who felt less understood – 47% vs. 19%.

Follow the logic.

The correlation between feeling understood and sticking around as a customer should not come as a surprise. But does that mean banks are going out of the way to deeply understand the needs of their business customers? J.D. Power has found that overall small business banking satisfaction is trending upward in the last five years, with big and mid-size banks eking out a lead over regional and community banks, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

To see things from the business owner’s point of view, you might also be interested in this guide from the Wall Street Journal: How to Choose a Bank for Your Business. Using those criteria, do you think a business owner would feel compelled to choose your institution?

CSP specializes in customizing your customer experience to drive satisfaction among your customers, consumer and business alike. If you see room for improvement at your institution, contact us or call (800) 841-7954 ext:101 to start a discussion about your concerns.

How Banks Can Evolve Alongside Their Customers

August 18, 2015

We’ve written at length on this blog about important changes in the evolving banking industry, including the rising popularity of universal bankers, online customer support, FinTech firms (especially among Millennials), and an omnichannel approach to improving performance across all points of contact with customers.

As the industry forges ahead, so must the banking customer experience. It begins with asking the right questions about the key components of the customer relationship lifecycle:

  • Acquiring Customers: Which products and services capture potential customer’s interests? Which marketing channels are the most productive for prospecting customers?
  • Maintaining Customers: How can you better manage customer expectations? How could you better fulfill promises to keep customers satisfied?
  • Maximizing Customers: What opportunities do you have to up-sell and cross-sell? How could you improve your referral and recommendation solicitation?
  • Customer Loyalty: How else could you increase your customers’ purchasing power? What customer loyalty programs might you consider offering?
  • Customer Retention: How can you keep your good customers and reduce “churn?”

It’s enough to make any bank manager feel a little lost in the dark, feeling around for a light switch that will illuminate a clear path through. Every bank will have different goals, different needs, and different customers motivated by different key drivers, so while the destination is the same, no two enterprises will walk the same path.

The Three Stages of the Journey to Improvement

The three stages of the journey to aligning with customers

It begins with Stage 1, Data Infrastructure – the collection and reporting of Voice of the Customer data from feedback tools like surveys and evaluations. This becomes the Customer Intelligence that is the backbone of every successful CEM strategy. With this foundation, banks can better anticipate their customers’ needs and be proactive in offering personalized solutions.

Stage 2 is Performance and Insight. Once the data is collected, it’s time to do a deep analysis of the performance of all metrics, down to each branch and each retail position.  In this step, we identify what’s changing in customer needs and expectations by sifting through data currently siloed in various channels and integrating it into a complete, 360-degree view of the customer experience.

Stage 3 is Holistic Strategy. Using the data and information from the previous two stages, the real work of improvement begins. This is the opportunity to perform an alignment check on the bank’s internal culture to see how closely it matches customer needs, wants, and expectations, and make necessary adjustments to establish and maintain the proper alignment.

There you have it: a clear path from Data to Information to Knowledge.

In our 25+ years of Customer Experience research, CSP has served as a “trail guide” to hundreds of banks walking their own paths to improved customer experience. We believe a bank’s value to its customers is defined through relationships. Employees, not smartphones or laptops, should remain at the center of those relationships.

Our experts are here to lead you through the three stages along the journey. More articles like this one can be found in our STARS library, available to current CSP clients as part of our full-service delivery. Contact us with any questions you may have.

Improving the Customer Experience Through Benchmarking

August 11, 2015

Benchmarking is the process companies use to identify and establish key performance standards, or benchmarks, and measure their performance against those standards over time. With a benchmark analysis, a company can compare its current scores in critical areas against its own past performance, as well as against its competitors.

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Done in-house from the ground up, benchmarking can be a dauntingly complex process. Benchmarks must be agreed upon, measurement tools and strategies implemented, research assigned and completed (which, in some cases, means navigating security and permission concerns), and reports compiled. The information in the final analysis can be invaluable, if the right resources, attention, and talent are invested in it.

What’s more, benchmarking is not a one-time exercise, but a living process that depends on continuing collection and interpretation of current data. The shelf life of a single analysis report is fairly short, but properly maintained, a benchmarking strategy can be a gift that keeps giving.

Where does benchmarking fit into improving the customer experience?

Often used to determine how a company is faring against its peers financially, benchmark analysis also has a qualitative application. This includes measuring the critical metrics of customer service and experience that carry the most weight with overall customer satisfaction – what CSP calls key drivers.

Responses to Voice of the Customer initiatives like surveys can be translated into scores and percentages, which then get used to identify the top, bottom, and average range of responses to those metrics. Comparing the most current available scores against these ranges gives an indication of whether the customer experience is excelling, lagging, or falling behind.

Benchmarking is a way for managers to reality-check their perception of how their strategies and employees are performing against what the customers are actually saying.

Benchmarking provides a competitive advantage

The quality of a business’s customer service is often a make-or-break factor in customer satisfaction, loyalty, and likelihood to promote that company to others. In many ways, customer experience is the marketing that keeps happening even after you’ve initially earned the customer’s business.

Benchmarking not only demonstrates a company’s performance against itself, but against a defined peer group of its competitors, measured by uniform standards. While a direct Company A vs. Company B comparison may not reveal much of use, there is valuable insight in identifying one’s overall standing among the rest of the pack.

For instance, let’s say a manager has grown concerned about how long customers are kept waiting before they speak to a representative. Maybe she has noticed longer lines on the sales floor, or customers looking frustrated or impatient while in line.

Through benchmarking, she has been tracking “wait time” as a key driver for six months, and sees that this month, customers have indeed indicated a drop in satisfaction against this metric. She then reviews the wait time satisfaction scores of her peer competitors and determines that they have seen a slight increase in the same period of time, dropping her company back in the ratings from the “top” to “average” category. Now there is a risk she may start to lose customers to the better-performing competitors.

This intelligence informs the manager of an opportunity to improve the customer experience by implementing new strategies to affect the wait time at her location. Continued benchmarking will help her track progress against that goal, and identify any new opportunities for improvement that may come along.

It doesn’t end with the report

Benchmarking is one step in the process – a critical one, but nonetheless, just one. As with all Voice of the Customer data, its ultimate value depends on how the information is used to improve the customer experience with well-informed training, continued evaluation, and timely reporting.

That’s why CSP’s new Benchmark Analytics Reporting Dashboard pairs so nicely with our training and employee support, such as the STARS library available to our clients, to create a balanced ecosystem of process, performance, and progress. The dashboard takes much of the rigorous research and reporting aspects of benchmarking and delivers an easy-to-read analysis that can tell you, at a glance, where you fall among your peer group.

To learn more about benchmarking, the new dashboard, STARS, or any other component of customer experience management, contact us with your questions.

4 Ways to Engage the Millennial Banking Customer

June 17, 2015

millennial customer engagement

Millennials want businesses to meet them where they are, and that includes their financial institutions. So how does a bank go about satisfying this demanding demographic?

In Part One of this series, we got into Millennials’ heads to see the world through their own lenses. Knowing what they value and prioritize can help you shape the customer experience to meet their ever-evolving expectations.

Appeal to their impatience.

Speed of service, whether online or human-to-human, is a must.

If a customer needs to get in touch with you to ask a question or resolve a problem, he’d rather open up a web chat or send a Tweet than be put on hold with a call center or wait for a response from the Contact Us form on your website. And if he does Tweet you a question, he expects you to answer it as promptly as he expects a friend to reply to his text.

He doesn’t want to be beholden to “business hours,” either – in his world, answers are always a click away, day or night. If 24/7 customer service is not something you can promise, at the very least, he should have the option to find his own answers through the resources you make available to him online, like FAQ pages, blogs and articles, or forums.

He’ll also appreciate a degree of automation to processes that would otherwise be tedious or require multiple steps and the intervention of a human employee. Take, for instance, mobile check deposit, or peer-to-peer payment, two innovations that streamline simple financial interactions into a matter of clicks, no middleman required.

Give them control.

Automation and self-service aren’t just about getting from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible; they allow customers to self-determine their customer journey and customize it to meet their own unique needs, rather than be lumped in with the generalized population of your customer base.

Personalization is important to this highly individualistic customer. Jane Q. Millennial doesn’t just want the Fifth Third experience, she wants Jane’s Fifth Third experience. Each channel she uses, digital or human, should greet her by name and anticipate her needs before she even has to state them.

Millennials personify the omnichannel customer experience. Take advantage of the Voice of the Customer insights and transactional data you’ve collected on them to craft personalized and intuitive experiences.

Participate, and invite participation.

Tap into the Millennial customer’s social side by engaging with him, not just broadcasting to him. We won’t claim that it’s easy, but you’ll have to reconcile traditional customer service language and behavior with his native tongue. Show personality in your communications, demonstrate social values that align with his own, and he’ll find you more approachable than the out-of-the box Customer Service Rep™.

Give him opportunities to engage with you beyond the standard problem/solution model of service. Social media is an excellent platform for conducting (completely non-scientific) surveys or hosting contests. You can blend information and entertainment with things like “Did You Know?” trivia or “Caption This” contests for funny images. The prize might be as simple as public recognition of the winner’s cleverness, but that’s still more than he was likely expecting to get when he logged on today.

Be their entrepreneurial ally.

In the past, banks might have targeted the 18 to 35 demographic with messaging around financing their homes, cars, and children’s college educations. But Millennials are famously delaying typical young-adult milestones like marriage and home ownership in favor of pursuing their dreams, creating the perfect opportunity for financial institutions to step in as allies, coaches, and incubators. Make them aware of both consumer and business products.

Consider hosting workshops for start-ups or the self-employed; offering sponsorships, grant opportunities, or other competitive rewards; or coaching them on career advancement or salary negotiation via your blog (you are blogging, right?). Seek out the places in your community where these young entrepreneurs are gathering, like TED Talks, networking groups, and even street fairs, and make sure you have a visible presence there. Think about it: how cool could it be to have a reputation as THE bank that young self-starters turn to?

While we’re on the topic of business products, consider this: Even if your business customers aren’t run by Millennials, they’re certainly employing them. The person responsible for managing banking interactions at any given business, start-up or established, might be a 28-year-old man or woman, who expects your B2B experience to be as modern, flexible, and streamlined as your consumer-facing experience.

 

So, how does your customer experience measure up against the Millennial mindset? By this point of reading, you’re either patting yourself on the back for a job well done, or you have new insights into potential areas of improvement and innovation.

CSP is passionate about improving the customer experience for customers of all ages. Read about our solutions and services, and contact us when you’re ready to take the next step.