CSP Happenings





Tagged: cx

More Than Just a Program, Voice of the Customer is a Promise

February 4, 2015

Instating a Voice of the Customer program to capture customer experience insights has many practical benefits:

  • It takes something vague and subjective, like customer experience, and turns it into quantifiable metrics.
  • It clearly identifies the key drivers of customer satisfaction that are unique to each business and each customer base.
  • It shows trends, progress, and declines over time, allowing you to adapt to changes as you go, and see warning signs ahead of time if something is awry.
  • It plays an informative role in employee training, performance review, and shaping a company’s internal culture.

And that’s just naming a few.

But while all of those reasons are worthwhile, to the customer, they’re just corporate jargon that has little to do with the reality of their lives and their relationships with your business.

Looking at the notion of customer experience from their perspective, Voice of the Customer isn’t a toolbox, it’s a promise.

voice of the customer is a promise

By actively listening to customers, you promise to value their opinions just as much as those of the shareholders or owners who are profiting from their business.

rio bank newsletter voice of the customerThis newsletter produced by Rio Bank for its customers puts that promise front and center by telling customers what steps this Texas institution is taking to look out for their interests, and transparently discloses exactly what goals will be satisfied through Voice of the Customer measurements and initiatives.

Customer loyalty starts with accountability to your promises. Accountability starts with a Voice of the Customer program.

A guarantee to put customers front and center in business decisions can inspire confidence, especially if they see enough direct action to prove they’re not just empty words. It also gives them an invitation to raise their own voices and participate, knowing those voices won’t fall on deaf ears.

While it’s still true that the squeaky wheel tends to get the grease, for any vehicle to move forward, all of the wheels must get enough attention and care to roll along smoothly.

Voice of the Customer keeps the customer-facing side of any business running like a well-oiled machine, lubricating relationships between employees and customers, customers and products, managers and staff.

Are you delivering on your promises? CSP is passionate about improving the customer experience, and can show you how you measure up against your customers’ expectations. Contact us today to find out more.

Mobile is the Land of Opportunity for Banks

November 24, 2014

eMarketer (@eMarketer) recently hosted an informative webinar on the outlook for the financial services industry in 2015 and beyond, based on data collected this year.

The projections point strongly in the direction of mobile banking and payment options gaining broader favor and driving demand. While the Millennial generation has motivated much of the digital advances of the last decade, adoption is projected to increase among the 55-64 and 65+ demographics in the coming years as they become more familiar and comfortable with the new wave of mobile technology.

emarketer_mobiletrends

Mobile share is only expected to grow in the coming years.

Trends in the mobile technology industry have a distinct ripple effect on financial institutions and consumer expectations. At the beginning of the Millennium it seemed like every new device was smaller than the last; the public’s imagination was captured by the mindblowing amount of information, space and capabilities that we could now fit on something smaller than our thumbs.

But the early part of this decade has seen a demonstrated shift to larger screen sizes and lighter devices. The iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Note, Kindle series and the new category of “phablet” would indicate that the tech industry and consumers might be moving towards a happy medium of size and functionality.

The good news for banks getting into the app game is that a larger screen poses fewer limits on what you can do with that app. Cross-device compatibility is still a thorn in your side in such a fragmented marketplace, but if the eMarketer projections are any indication, sharpening the mobile experience should be a priority and worth the investment.

What’s important to keep in mind is that mobile may be the land of opportunity right now, but we’re still in an omnichannel world, and one channel can’t be emphasized at the expense of others without hurting the customer experience.

Some other interesting takeaways from the eMarketer webinar:

  • Security and privacy concerns, including one’s device getting lost or stolen, remain primary inhibitors to greater mobile banking usage.
  • Between now and 2018, consumers will start making larger purchases on mobile devices (compared to lower-priced purchases like lunch or taxi fare that are gaining traction right now).
  • Proximity payments and near field communication (NFC) are drawing a lot of attention from innovators like Apple and Google, as well as major national retailers.
  • Mobile ad spending will outpace desktop spending in 2016. Financial service advertisers are dedicating more budget to video, which has proved to be an effective engagement tool on digital platforms.

And we especially liked this one, from Vinoo Vijay, CMO at TD Bank:

Our most effective marketing channel is the actual moment when the customer experiences us in our store or on our website. We put a lot of emphasis into the experience that the customer has because, at the end of the day, that experience is far more powerful than anything we can say.

Thanks to Bryan Yeager (@bryanyeager) at eMarketer for leading the webinar. We look forward to helping our financial services clients navigate the evolving customer experience of the next several years.

Online-Only Banks Forcing Traditional Institutions to Upgrade Their Customer Experience

November 12, 2014

PIcture 1

There’s plenty of debate out there among financial services professionals about the fate of the traditional brick-and-mortar branch.

What’s clear is that in the meantime, a new species of bank has been gaining ground and turning heads: the online-only bank.

While consumers are justifiably wary of cybersecurity concerns, the promise made by these services is twofold.

On the Dollars and Cents side, they lure consumers with low- or no-fee banking, perks they can afford due to the lower cost of running an online bank.

And on the Customer Experience side, one word sums it up: convenience. The anywhere, anytime availability of these banks, and the fact that most of them are designed specifically with mobile in mind, is attractive.

Even these digital banks realize the value of a human touch, so many of them also promise the availability of customer service personnel to help as needed.

Today’s consumers have grown accustomed to managing much of their life online, and to being able to get online at a moment’s notice. The fact that these banks don’t tie them down to a particular location or region is another plus.

This emerging competition should be a strong nudge to traditional banks to evaluate the promises they’re making to their customers and what is being done to fulfill those promises.

It’s also yet another incentive to put the spotlight on your digital and mobile services and user experience. Using Voice of the Customer data and insights, you can zero in on the key drivers of satisfaction and make the necessary improvements to meet that goal.

A robust VoC program is your best asset in customer experience management. As we enter 2015, now is a good time to ask: Are you getting everything you need from yours? Contact CSP today to find out what you could be missing.

Onboarding is a Make or Break Moment in Customer Experience

October 8, 2014

As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a lasting first impression. The beginning of your business’s relationship with a customer is one of many moments of truth that will shape that customer’s continued engagement and loyalty.

Onboarding may be near the top of the sales funnel from the enterprise’s point of view, but it’s likely that a first impression has already been made before that customer even walked in.

In all probability, that customer has already been exposed to your brand and business practices for some time before deciding to come on board. He or she has observed your marketing and promotional messages, visited your website and perhaps your social profiles, and run your brand name past friends, family and search engines alike.

Some of these impressions are carefully controlled by your marketing and public relations initiatives and are meant to encourage adoption. Word-of-mouth, whether collected from personal acquaintances or anonymous online reviews, can be a mixed bag.

But obviously, the first impression was positive enough to bring them to the table to begin onboarding. This next moment of truth is your opportunity to reinforce everything positive they’ve absorbed about your brand, and if necessary, dispel the negative (but only if the customer brings it up).

Think of it as a gesture of good faith, promising that the experience will be everything they expected – and then some. While overenthusiastic selling may leave a new customer overwhelmed, this is a perfect chance to raise awareness of your various products and services and encourage early engagement with these additional touchpoints.

Adoption of those products and services ensures that the relationships are stickier, which means reduced account attrition and reduced pressure on acquisition.

Provided that you have a robust, optimized customer experience strategy and can deliver on your promises to your new customers, the right onboarding process puts you a step ahead on the path to customer loyalty.

This makes it critical to have the right tools in place to identify and measure the key drivers of customer experience across all channels. CSP’s research methods, expertise and resources empower you to keep your brand promise. Contact us today for our insights into customer onboarding and beyond.

The Rise of Predictive Analytics in Customer Experience Management

September 17, 2014

The emergence of Big Data has been one of the most disruptive events of the new millennium, impacting practically every industry.

Technology has leapt forward again and again over the last decade, and brought us new tools for accessing, collecting and delivering data with mind-boggling volume and velocity. With the floodgates open, businesses large and small are still looking for the best way to turn this vast ocean of disparate information into valuable insights, action steps and outcomes.

One new tool enabled by Big Data fits comfortably into the customer experience manager’s tool belt: predictive analytics. By streamlining internal and external sources of customer information, this method of data-mining is applied to anticipate an individual customer’s needs and wants with greater speed and reliability than has ever been possible.

Finding Shapes in the Cloud

Predictive analytics, in a nutshell, means identifying patterns in an existing data set and extrapolating those patterns to deduce what is most likely to occur next. Businesses were already doing this before the Information Age, but by largely outsourcing the task to algorithms, we’re now able to crunch much larger data sets in much less time and come out with much more nuanced portraits of customers.

Another advantage of predictive analytics is the ability to quickly and easily drill down to the individual level. A single customer produces a wealth of data on a daily basis by simply going through the motions of his/her life. By applying resources to examine just that customer (rather than the general demographic or profile he/she fits), a business can design a tailor-made experience with the best likelihood of producing the desired outcome – be that sales, loyalty, or resolution of a complaint.

Export that ability across every individual in your customer base, and you can see how the lines between responsive and proactive are blurring. For example, Wells Fargo rolled out ATMs that deliver a unique display of buttons and options each time a customer signs in, reflecting how that particular customer has used ATMs in the past and will likely use it this time.

Big Data vs. Big Brother

In a way, predictive analytics has taken us back to the Main Street General Store model of doing business, where the proprietor not only knows your name but has your shopping cart all but ready to go when you set foot inside the door. This kind of personal attention is what customers want and what keeps them coming back, right? Yes – to an extent. But it’s deceptively easy to cross the line.

You may recall this headline from 2012: Target figured out one of its customers, a teen girl, was pregnant before her father did. The retailer relied on patterns in her customer data to reach this conclusion and ‘congratulated’ the young woman with personalized coupons for maternity and baby gear. Her father intercepted the mail, leading to a very irate confrontation with an oblivious store manager who had nothing to do with the decision to target (no pun intended) this customer with maternity messaging.

As it turned out, the data didn’t lie, but the damage was done and not limited to just that household. The story spread rapidly across the Internet and became part of the growing narrative of distrustful consumers and intrusive, creepy companies who know just a little too much. Brands want relationships with customers, and customers do respond well to the personal touch, but they sure don’t want to be stalked.

That’s why, even as the technology continues to leap forward, there’s still no real substitute for the kind of expertise that comes from years of hands-on customer experience management. With great power comes great responsibility, and as a discipline, predictive analytics is still maturing. Leaving all decision-making to the algorithms may be accurate, but wisdom doesn’t translate well to automated code.

By integrating CSP’s Voice of the Customer research with actual sales results, our Predictive Sales Analysis (PSA) brings together the best of both worlds. We produce a unique set of key drivers determined by employee behaviors that have the greatest correlation to sales metrics, and coach clients to focus on the areas that are most important to their business strategy. Learn more about PSA.

Master of Your Domain: The Omnichannel Approach to Customer Experience Management

August 27, 2014

“Omnichannel” is a buzzword that’s emerged in recent years to replace “multi-channel” as a way of describing how customers interact with a business.

While multi-channel indicated that there are a number of distinct touchpoints, both physical and digital, that matter to a customer’s experience, omnichannel goes a step further to reflect that customers are using all of these channels and moving fluidly between them as they see fit.

What this means for the enterprise: the customer experience must be optimized to facilitate that mobility by providing the seamless consistency customers have come to expect. Anything short of that is a recipe for dissatisfaction.

Omnichannel as a philosophy also reflects the changing world around us. We’re seeing the rise of the Internet of Things – a world where all our devices, from the cell phone to the car stereo to the refrigerator to the dog’s food dish, are wirelessly interconnected and constantly speaking to each other to best meet our needs, without asking us to jump through any hoops ourselves.

That concept is what’s driving technological innovation today, which is, in turn, driving significant changes in customer experience management.

As technology enables new options like thumbprint identification or person-to-person electronic funds transfer, customers won’t wait around for businesses to catch up – if it can be done, it should have already happened. By the time it does happen, they’re on to the next flashy new thing.

Is this fair? It might not feel that way, but it underscores the importance of staying current, because all it takes is one disruptive innovation to suddenly put you behind the times.

Practice What You Preach

Employing the omnichannel approach from the enterprise point of view gives your leadership a 360-degree view of the customer experience across all touchpoints and channels.

The goal is not to find out which touchpoint matters most, because what matters most is that all touchpoints fit neatly into the same picture. The omnichannel view illuminates the gaps and mismatched pieces to that puzzle.

The ability to understand and have data for each channel empowers the enterprise to integrate and align those channels. Solid data for each channel goes a long way towards identifying the influential behaviors that drive a great customer experience.

For example, there might be plenty of success stories and high scores for on-the-floor personal interactions between customers and employees, and customers then walk out the door satisfied with the experience.

But once out those doors, they don’t bother engaging with the business’s digital platforms because the experience there is clunky and unhelpful, or they opt not to connect with the brand on social media because from what they can see, there’s no obvious incentive or benefit to subscribing.

When even one channel is lagging, the entire experience is affected, which has a direct impact on attrition and revenue.

Of course, designing an optimal omnichannel customer experience is only possible when you have the best information at your disposal. You’re only as good as your research.

Omnichannel is a big idea to wrap your head around – and with the wealth of new customer data now available, seasoned experts like the team at CSP are an invaluable resource for bringing everything into alignment. We’re passionate about improving the customer experience. Contact us today to learn more.

Mid-Year Check-in: Technology Driving Customer Experience Trends

August 6, 2014

With 2014 just a little over halfway behind us, it’s an ideal moment to step back and take a big-picture view of customer experience management as a discipline, to see what forces are coming together to influence customer expectations and best business practices for driving loyalty.

Without a doubt, technology continues to provide both the incentive and the tools to improve customer service across all channels.

Consumers are usually faster to try, adopt and master new technologies than businesses are. Few organizations were prepared for the mobile explosion, and even now, several years into the “smart device” age, many are still catching up to what consumers have come to expect.

It’s not just the mobile platforms themselves that merit attention. Because of them, consumers have grown accustomed to new habits and behaviors – swiping and tapping instead of pointing and clicking, cameras that do much more than snap a photo, and thumbprint-based identification, to name a few.

Suddenly, a typical ATM interface feels about as sleek, sophisticated and modern as an Atari.

This shift in customer expectations and behaviors outside the walls of your business is one of this year’s major motivators to be proactive in improving the customer experience.

On the other side of the technology coin, though, is data. All of these interactions across the different channels produce an abundance of information that enterprises can use to identify, measure, and track the key drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Leadership and shareholders alike are beginning to see voice of the customer research as a must-have, enabling them to turn all this data into action steps like customized employee education programs and initiatives to align the organization’s sales approach with the overall culture.

Basically, they are realizing what we at CSP have touted for decades: The better the understanding of the customer at the enterprise level, the better equipped the enterprise is to deliver the optimal experience at every touchpoint.

It seems simple, but it takes the right combination of tools, resources and expertise to create the bridge from research to results. While the marketplace at large is showing more proactive interest in the voice of the customer, there’s still a lot of room for improvement over the rest of this year and beyond.

Beware the Ripple Effect of a Single Bad Customer Experience

July 21, 2014

This call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance.

It’s a familiar sentence to anyone who has had to call a customer service line for support. But one Comcast customer recently turned the tables on the cable provider, and recorded a maddening conversation with a customer service representative that quickly went viral.

Ryan Block’s objective was to cancel and disconnect his service with Comcast. According to him, after his wife had already spent ten minutes on the phone going around in circles with the representative, he took over and began recording the call himself. He then uploaded the recording to the audio streaming site SoundCloud, where it gathered enough momentum to catch media attention.

You can listen to the call yourself here.

In these eight minutes, Mr. Block puts forth his request to cancel in a variety of creative, straightforward and polite ways, only to be blocked or derailed by the increasingly agitated rep at every turn.

Obviously, part of the rep’s responsibility to Comcast is to limit cancellations and retain customers, and he may have been incentivized with compensation for doing so. But his aggressive manner and obstructive methods indicate a corporate culture in which the voice of the customer falls on deaf ears.

On their own behalf, Comcast issued a statement saying, “We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block […] While the overwhelming majority of our employees work very hard to do the right thing every day, we are using this very unfortunate experience to reinforce how important it is to always treat our customers with the utmost respect.”

But as the story gathered steam, it also gathered comments from thousands of other Comcast customers (and former customers) as well as customers of other cable giants like Time Warner, with whom Comcast is set to merge, pending FCC approval.

Many shared their own horror stories of similar experiences with service reps, while others lamented that due to lack of consumer choice among cable providers, Comcast and its peers have little incentive to improve the customer experience, in spite of any promise to emphasize respect.

If there’s a lesson in this for other businesses, it’s that the voice of just one customer can have enormous reach when amplified by the megaphone of the internet. No business is immune to that threat, but the damage is completely preventable when the company culture is aligned with the objective of providing an excellent customer experience, down to the last representative.

As banking paradigms shift, voice of the customer insights are critical

June 23, 2014

A significant shift is underway in how banks across the country are relating to and responding to their customers’ needs and expectations.

Spurred on by emerging technologies that put more control in customers’ hands – most notably, mobile banking – and a decrease in branch foot traffic in the last decade, some banks have begun experimenting with new customer service models to reshape the customer experience.

The June edition of American Banker magazine highlighted some of the initiatives being tested in select branches and markets, such as PNC’s “universal bankers,” employees who can handle tasks from a simple cash withdrawal to account and small business services. Read the full centerpiece article here.

The Battle for Branch Relevancy
It’s a trend that’s already disrupting other industries and has bled over to banking: Automated and self-service options have made today’s customer less reliant on branches and tellers, prompting speculation about the future of brick-and-mortar locations.

Yet, as the article points out, people are not yet ready to abandon personal interaction with their institutions, preferring to at least have the option of a human face or voice, even if their first stop is an app or ATM.

The shared goal behind these new models of customer service is seamlessness.

Branches may become extensions of a bank’s digital presence, and vice versa. Customers may still prefer to handle certain interactions in person, but they expect the person they’re dealing with to be more knowledgeable and flexible about transactions, products and services, and less roped off from one another (literally).

Temperature-Testing
It’s still early to tell whether and how quickly this integrated, flexible approach to banking service and sales will catch on – that growth will largely depend on how the concept is rolled out to market and how much change customers are willing to navigate at once.

To stay nimble, banks will need to make sure the voice of the customer does not get lost among the shuffle of new ideas and experiments. CSP will be watching, and more importantly, listening with great interest as customers encounter and evaluate the next generation of experiences crafted to exceed their expectations.