CSP Happenings





Tagged: trends

The Future of Banking in 2017 – and What it Means for the Customer Experience

January 26, 2017

2017 outlook and predictionsIn this season of annual meetings and strategic planning, those with a 30,000-foot view on banks and credit unions are predicting what the year will bring. Some of these predictions are fueled by polls and studies, while others come from the informed instinct of seasoned experts. Having served the financial services industry with quality customer research for 30 years, CSP is interested in how these predictions could impact the customer.

So let’s review some of what the experts foresee for banks and for customer experience trends across industries, through our own unique lens:

“Banks will open 1,000 new branches, with an emphasis on the right location.”
– David Kerstein, BAI Banking Strategies

Our Take: The influx of digital channels has had banks questioning the relevance of the branch for years now. As banks reassess and update their branch placement, they will need to look to their customer data to evaluate how the new locations are serving the customers, both new and current, now using those branches. Brick-and-mortar branches aren’t dead, but the successful banks will be the ones who optimize the in-branch experience around customer needs.

“CEOs will exit at least 30% of their CMOs for not mustering the blended skill set needed to drive digital business transformation, design exceptional personalized experiences, and propel growth.”
– Forrester’s
2017 Predictions: Dynamics That Will Shape The Future In The Age Of The Customer

Our Take: As we’ve reported before, more and more CMOs are finding themselves saddled with the responsibility for the customer experience. While not a traditional marketing function, new research unequivocally proves customer experience to be not only a decisive factor in brand identity, but also in differentiation within the marketplace. An alternative would be the fairly novel position of CXO – Chief Experience Officer – but the point remains that this person would need the left-brain/right-brain balance of data analysis and experience design expertise.

Consumers will take more control of their financial relationships and will look for digital tools for advice and insight. Banks will come to realize that fintech is not a threat, but rather an opportunity.”
– Bryan Clagett, CMO at Geezeo (
as reported by Jim Marous at the Financial Brand)

and

“One product that will likely receive greater attention in the next year is digital personal financial management (PFM). As customers develop higher expectations of their banks, reporting basic account data is no longer enough. Today’s banking customers are in greater need of financial advice than ever, and internal data silos prevent banks from providing effective and personalized guidance.”
Rob Guilfoyle of Abe, a customer service AI for financial institutions

Our Take: Customer loyalty is all about that relationship-building.  Digital tools and advances in artificial intelligence add convenience and responsiveness to daily transactions. That said, customers still like to talk to real live people when it comes to more complex money matters. That means understanding both the uses and the limits of automation and AI. Fintech-enabled solutions should seek to bridge the gap between software and staff, providing customers a direct and convenient channel to a trusted advisor.

And let’s not forget that a great customer experience starts with the employee experience:

Creating a culture of continuous feedback will be top priority for organisations and is being driven by millennials’ expectations for regular, ongoing feedback and the increasingly fast-paced business environment.  Adopting tools that enable people to receive regular feedback from different sources, such as peers, customers or multiple managers for instance, will therefore become more and more important for boosting engagement among the growing millennial workforce and improving overall productivity.”
– Sylvia VorhauserSmith of PAGEUP, an HR solutions provider

Our Take: Regardless of what generation the majority of your employees were born into, transparency and trust are essential to a healthy workplace environment. Any manager who is charged with giving employees feedback on their performance must be willing to take feedback, too, and to use it constructively for the benefit of the whole team. That’s the kind of leadership that builds a healthy and productive company culture. Smart employers will have structured systems in place to allow for this multi-directional feedback, as well as training and development programs to foster leadership. (Hey, we know a thing or two about that…)  


You might also want to read:

Self-Service Customer Support: How Companies Help Customers Help Themselves

September 9, 2016

Customer self-service continues to rise in popularity as companies adapt to customers’ demand for convenience and independence. Customer service experts agree that self-service is one of the biggest developments for 2016.

In 2015, Microsoft’s annual Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report surveyed 4,000 consumers. When asked what they expected from customer service, 90% of those consumers stated the importance of self-service options. 2015 was also the first year that respondents in the Forrester Consumer Survey reportedly used the FAQ pages on a company’s website more often than talking to an agent over the phone.

Online support: FAQ and Search

post-it-1547588_1280The Forrester study shows that online information is a great example of an area where self-service is booming. 72% of consumers call self-service support a fast and easy way to handle support issues. Examples of successful online methods include the use of dynamic Frequently Asked Questions forms: support forms that respond to the specific needs of each customer, rather than stating a list of fixed answers.

Design and content go hand-in-hand. You can support customer self-service by simply moving the Search box on your website, and optimizing content for frequent customer searches. While 92% of people use search engines to find solutions, over two-thirds of them say they get frustrated with the placement of search bars on company websites, or can’t find the information they need and call customer service after all. Online support systems can be economical, but they need to be smart and flexible in order to work.

Self-service banking

Although online services have affected customers’ need to physically visit branches, a significant number of customers still visit their bank regularly. While most simple transactions can be completed online, more complex transactions almost always take place in branches. In order to cater to a variety of service demands, most modern banks are now shifting to the concept of full-service locations that integrate digital and personal customer service.

Some banks, including Chase, have experimented with self-service kiosks at their branches. These kiosks can handle many of the same transactions as an ATM, with additional capabilities like issuing cashier’s checks and debit cards, printing statements, and transferring funds between accounts. Not only does this free up tellers to perform higher-value tasks, it also gives banks the opportunity to cross-sell their products and services.

Self-service kiosks began gaining attention in 2015, so it’s still early to tell whether customers are showing a distinct preference for kiosks over human tellers. But it seems likely that some degree of in-branch self-service that’s more sophisticated than a traditional ATM will be part of the banking customer experience in the future.

Call centers are another service touchpoint with potential for automation. Alongside call center employees, some banks are using interactive voice response (IVR). This system allows customers to “talk to” an automated menu of options and guide themselves to a solution. Much like kiosks, this frees up call center reps to handle the more complex callers, and increases the bank’s capacity to take a high volume of calls at once. IVR systems have grown more sophisticated, too, enough to greet customers by name and better understand what customers are asking on the first try, even when they stray from the expected script.

Retail self-service checkouts

One of the most common and visible examples of the changing nature of customer service is self-service checkout lanes at retailers; from big DIY stores like IKEA to supermarkets and drugstores.  To customers, the appeal of the self-service checkout is the option to move at their own pace and zip to the end of the line. To retailers, these lanes also help reduce the cost of staff.

However, self-service checkouts come with their own set of challenges. Theft is a big issue, for example: a recent study by the University of Leicester found that self-service checkouts criminalized normally-honest shoppers, who “resort to theft because it is so easy and the technology so frustrating.”

Help your customers help themselves

Self-service customer support provides companies with exciting opportunities, but it can’t be done half-heartedly, and it’s not a matter of set-and-forget. In order to realize its full potential, self-service solutions need to integrate smoothly with other customer service channels. As they are implemented, it’s essential to continue monitoring your customers’ experience by collecting feedback. Help your customers help themselves. In the end, it will help you.

Report: Techy Competitors Turning Bank Customers’ Heads

April 29, 2015

Capgemini has released the 2015 World Retail Banking Report and their Customer Experience Index, calculated from the results of a comprehensive Voice of the Customer survey of more than 16,000 respondents in 32 countries.

The CEI has dropped only slightly from 72.9 in 2014 to 72.7 in 2015, indicating that customer satisfaction is stagnating as banks try to keep up with modern consumer demands and innovative competitors in the digital space.

More highlights from the report:

  • smartphoneGen Y customers registered lower customer experience levels than other age groups.
  • North America continued to have the highest level of overall positive experience compared to other countries, but still saw a dip in positive experiences compared to last year.
  • Customers around the world reported increased likelihood to leave their bank within the next six months. Gen Y in particular has a tendency to move banks, and are more open to internet-based providers or simple financial products offered by retailers.
  • Banks and customers don’t agree on the role of the branch. Banks would prefer that customers purchase simple products online, and visit a branch for help with more complex solutions. Customers continue to use banks for simple transactions and don’t trust that the online options will be as helpful to them as a live person.
  • The rise of FinTech firms means customers can complete their entire banking lifecycle without ever approaching a bank.

You can read the full report here.

Customers are clearly not thrilled with the status quo. They want their banks to keep in step with the other digitally savvy experience they’re having elsewhere in the consumer marketplace, from retail to healthcare to entertainment. The newest young adults have grown up with the convenience of instant, constant connectivity, and highly customizable products and solutions.

“Status quo” is what you get when you assume you already know your customers. The global numbers won’t tell you what intelligence you’ll gain from your own Voice of the Customer research. Every bank serves different customers and it’s their needs and expectations you need to be listening to, measuring, evaluating, and integrating into your customer experience.

If you’re concerned about your status quo or want to know what you can do to change it, contact Customer Service Profiles today by phone at (402) 399-8790 ext:101, via our website, or on Twitter @csprofiles

5 Customer Experience Resolutions You Can Make in 2015

December 31, 2014

 

new years resolutions for customer experienceIt’s that time of year again – as the calendar creeps up on the end of December, our thoughts traditionally turn towards the coming year and the opportunities it may hold. It’s a time for reflecting on goals and progress towards those goals, recognizing how far we’ve come, and looking for ways to improve.

Once you’ve decided on what you’d like to achieve personally in 2015, turn that lens on your customers and make some resolutions in the interest of their experience.

1. Embrace Data.

Every interaction a customer has with your business produces valuable information on the key drivers that directly influence the customer experience. Don’t be afraid of it – instead, commit to trying to understand it better. The voice of the customer can be interpreted through the language of analytics.

2. Get Personal.

Personalization is important in an age when customers can customize practically anything. It also means being responsive to the diversity among your customers across multiple demographics. Personalization makes for a more relevant experience, which leads to loyalty and referrals.

3. Adopt an Omnichannel State of Mind.

Speaking of personalization, one thing customers are likely to modify to their own preferences is the combination of channels on which they engage with your brand. Three customers with complaints will go to three different places to air those complaints – maybe one takes to Twitter, one fills out the Contact Us form on your website, and one phones your call center. Are you ready to meet them wherever they find you?

4. Tune Up Your Training.

Training is one of those ongoing goals that can never really be checked off the list, because there’s always room for improvements, updates, new ideas, and feedback. Keep your methods and materials current and relevant, and don’t let educational opportunities pass you by. Consider asking representatives for their input on the effectiveness of your training and what they’d like to see improved.

5. Smooth Out the Seams.

As customers move between the different platforms and channels that connect them to your business, they expect that movement to be free and unencumbered. Seamlessness is the holy grail of the new omnichannel school of thought. Use regular reporting and up-to-date information to identify areas of success and struggle, and be proactive with that knowledge.

Above All: Adapt.

The biggest challenge customer experience managers face is the constant churn of trends, innovations, competition, and news, and evolving customer expectations in the technology world, which is more and more enmeshed with CX by way of data, mobile, social, and online channels. It’s exhausting to keep up with, but they wouldn’t be called resolutions if they didn’t require some resolve.

 

What would you add to this list of customer experience resolutions? Tweet your suggestions to @csprofiles.

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.

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.