Stay Focused. Stay Relevant
In the financial services industry, competition has never been tougher and will continue to get more competitive. Faced with a more knowledgeable, demanding, and powerful customer archetype, executives are aware that competitive advantage resides in providing an excellent customer experience. However, the road from awareness to action can be rough. What can we do?
In an era where all financial institutions are striving to deliver distinctive customer experiences and offering high-quality services, staying relevant to customers is essential(see Figure 1). That’s much easier said than done. There is no “wonder drug” that delivers excellent customer experience while staying relevant. However, there is a prescription that will help to generate great experiences, supported by an overarching strategy.
Use Data to Be Insightful
David Ogilvy famously said, “Consumers don’t think how they feel, they don’t say what they think, and they don’t do what they say.”
This emphasizes the importance of understanding customer behaviour. We don’t want to rule out qualitative research data completely; well-crafted qualitative research will help to generate insights into customer behaviour. Yet, a better understanding of customer behaviour requires advanced analytical capabilities built on a database rich in accuracy.
Advanced analytical capabilities include being able to personalise offerings and interactions, using real-time data for immediate action, and running prescriptive analyses to surprise and delight customers. The more a company can function in real-time with precision, the more it is likely to gain a competitive advantage.
Leveraging data for customer experience breeds significant business value. It helps by lowering costs-to-serve, increasing sales, and establishing long-term customer relationships. Digitopia estimates that high performers in customer experience are likely to earn 10% greater revenues on average by providing more relevant offerings and decrease cost–to–serve by 10% on average by reducing customer queries and complaints.
Design for Simplicity, Convenience, and Significance
While function, usability, and convenience are all important value propositions, excellent customer experience extends its value further than these by offering significant interactions. Providing a superior customer experience often starts by identifying key elements within a customer’s journey. For many financial institutions, there is a set journey that contributes extensively to customer satisfaction; be it opening an account, applying for a loan, taking out a mortgage, monitoring credit card transactions, or making a money transfer. Empathising with customers through in-depth research and factual data is key to understanding the customers’ needs and behaviour on each journey. Moreover, an omnichannel approach is required to customise interactions based on the customer’s preferences.
Crafting personally significant customer solutions requires agility within teams of diverse skill, e.g. business owners, data analysts, researchers, and designers.
Studies show that companies can deploy major service improvements in less than 20 weeks by using human-centric design methodology and “working agile”, outperforming competitors significantly.
Measure for Continuous Improvement
Focusing on customer experience is not a one-time action. It is a methodology and requires continuous improvement. To attain a culture of continuous improvement, the right metrics should be identified and measured. To make sure that metrics serve a holistic customer experience strategy, in-journey metrics need to be linked to a top-line experience indicator.
Furthermore, customer experience should be frequently discussed within the company and remain an active area of attention. Results from these efforts should be embedded into frequent discussions to review progress, identify improvements, and allocate resources for further evaluation. User-friendly dashboards that integrate customer feedback data across channels, survey results, comments from frontline staff, customer sentiment on social media, and operational data enable everyone to keep up with the customers’ pulse.
Overall, data analytics, design capabilities, and performance metrics aligned with strategy are the important pillars of customer-focused business and significant levers of staying relevant. Understanding different components of customer experience, assessing the maturity of the enterprise at each component, and drafting a roadmap for improvements are key steps to reduce any gaps between customer and company. Identifying and closing these gaps will result in delighted customers, happier employees, and better business performance.
This article is a part of our monthly Digitopia Digest:
Digitopia Digest is a monthly newsletter showcasing the latest news in digital transformation. If you are determined to discover what to do next in your organization to achieve digital success or are simply interested in digital technology and innovation, please subscribe for updates.