When it comes to the customer experience, most banks and credit unions aren’t working from a shared framework — a single, unified, cohesive strategy. According to research fielded by the Digital Banking Report, the majority of financial institutions do not have a formal customer experience plan in place.
And this is a big problem, says Chris J. Snook, author of Digital Sense and brand humanizer-at-large.
But honestly, the absence of a strategic plan isn’t the biggest CX problem facing financial institutions. The truth is, executives in the banking industry can’t even agree what “customer experience” is. It can take on wildly different meanings depending on which department you’re talking to.
“Too often, organizations invest time and money in ‘mapping the customer journey’ for the future but don’t look at where they are now — or vice versa,” Snook says. “The real struggle is how to bridge the experience you need to deliver with the one you currently deliver — how do you get there from here?”
Key Question: How can you develop a customer experience strategy — an initiative that will impact nearly every department in your organization — when there isn’t even any consensus about what the “customer experience” is?
Snook says stakes are rising and the consequences are real, so financial institutions need to get moving… fast. “The reality facing the banking industry is no longer a matter of ‘should we go digital’ but rather a question of ‘do we want to exist in five years.'”
So where does that leave banks and credit unions that haven’t yet made the digital shift? As with any journey, it begins with a clear understanding of where you are starting from, then defining where you want to go and identifying your options for getting there. That’s what Snook calls the “customer experience framework” — a roadmap that organizations can use to plan and execute their CX journey.
“To create a growth engine built around a highly differentiated and defensible digital CX strategy, you must first establish your core competencies,” Snook explains.
It’s critical that your entire organization align around the customer journey, shifting from siloed priorities to a culture where all decisions are driven — or at least significantly influenced by — CX. That means mapping out every touchpoint — both virtual and physical — that consumers interact with throughout their journey.
“Today’s customer is savvy,” Snook says. “It’s critical to meet them where they are. The Digital Age has opened many new doors for marketing and sales, but the key is knowing what lies behind each one.”
Dime Community Bank stepped into the digital waters with the launch of its first national online Money Market Account product. Looking for ways to grow relationships with out-of-state depositors, Dime knew it would need a digital marketing strategy. They started by “empathy mapping” to discover what those consumers needed and what marketing messages they would want to hear. How was Dime going to build trust with consumers they never met and never stepped foot in a branch?
With increased engagement as the underlying goal of any cohesive CX strategy, employing empathy mapping to gauge how consumers feel helps paint a meaningful picture of the experience you need to deliver. Learning what how people think and what they do at each touchpoint in the journey helps reveal critical pain points — key insights that tell you where to focus your innovative energy.
“This work to understand the customer’s experience shaped the customer experience — everything from product positioning and content strategy to the user interface and landing pages,” Snook explains. “Within six months, they closed $100 million in new assets under management. Within 12 months, they had exceeded their aggressive target of $700 million in new assets by more than 20%. And an impressive 69% of those new customers came from organic search. That’s the power of how a customer experience framework can be applied.”
While each financial institution’s needs will be unique to their specific situation, Snook said there are three key elements involved with any effective CX roadmap:
1) Understand the current state of your organization’s customer experience. Get feedback from senior leaders and front line managers across all the operational silos.
2) Create a cross-functional, multi-disciplinary team to look ahead and build a future state journey map that addresses the pain points revealed in your current experience.
3) Keeping scope and budget in mind, prioritizing which pain points and touchpoints have the best ability to bridge your organization from the current state to the future state within realistic time frames.
“From these insights, building an experience marketing framework strategy can transform your future vision into something consumers actually experience in real life,” Snook says. “At the end of the day, it’s about getting people to interact with your organization in a way that truly matters to them.”
You can learn how to create your own CX/marketing framework and effectively engineer a 360 degree experience that delivers measurable ROI in Chris Snook’s session at The Financial Brand Forum 2017: “Customer Experience Marketing Strategies for the Modern CMO.”