Digital Blind Spots Kill Financial Institution CX on Every Front

Don't neglect user experience when your institution's marketing and web teams are up to their elbows in digital transformation. Take a lesson from e-commerce, and start renovating the functions on your site that every user interacts with. And put yourself in a first-time visitor's shoes to see what makes sense.

We all have blindspots. No one can mitigate their own perspective entirely. So when it comes to your efforts in improving your customer experience, ask if you are seeing the whole picture?

Now is the time to act on the changes that will make a lasting difference to your organization, moving it one big step forward in digital transformation. And you don’t even have to shake up your core infrastructure.

Are your marketing and IT departments failing to think long-term and working to empathize with the customer? These days, you can no more separate those organizational functions than those two efforts. Long-term planning will keep you from making rash decisions that drive away consumers just when the competition is fiercest.

Let’s consider some key lessons every bank and credit union can take from e-commerce. I make a few recommendations around customer self-service, innovation and strengthening the customer experience (CX).

E-Commerce Offers Critical Insights for Financial Institutions

Financial institutions do their best to create and automate systems to produce a superior customer experience. But banks and credit unions too often assume that an earlier default — calling a bank to check on a transfer, for example — is the preference.

Businesses and consumers are asking if they have time to waste on such calls. Your business doesn’t have the bandwidth either, not at a time of cost-cutting. So reduce calls and save money. Consumers are used to maps detailing exactly what they need, when they need it. They are used to Netflix recommending the next show to watch. They are used to Amazon and Lululemon providing the most relevant product recommendations. Customers know what’s possible — even for small businesses, and small banks and credit unions.

The right digital systems increase conversions. Sephora knows when my concealer is going to run out, so they send me a deal for 10% off the same product eight weeks after my original purchase. That brings me back to Sephora’s site, browsing other recommended products.

Consider this: I spend $30 every other month at Sephora — but I trust my financial institution with my life savings. If Sephora knows more about me than my bank or credit union, we have a problem.

Customers don’t see how you’re using their data. They are only seeing the end product of your having that data. If your institution can foster a better customer experience, you’ll earn the same kind of customer loyalty Sephora commands.

Don’t Let ‘If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It’ Be Your Epitaph

Remember Blockbuster? I don’t — because my generation has only ever had Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO streaming.

Do you rely on in-person deals being the core to your customer experience? So did Blockbuster. While we celebrate those human connections, in-person deals won’t appeal to the next generation at scale — or survive when, say, another pandemic hits.

If customers don’t find an answer on your website, for example, they’re calling or walking into a branch. Are your employees empowered to find quick answers, no matter their area of expertise? Is your call center empowered?

With a robust enterprise search solution like Funnelback, customers are more likely to find answers on your site on their own. And call centers or other staff can surface just the right answer quickly across internal and external systems.

Be ready and willing to iterate again, and again, and again until you find the best answer for customers and for your team. Disruption is happening — and it is not optional.

Your business can’t afford to just move core functions to the cloud and call it a day.

Financial Content Is Only as Good as It Is Findable

Many institutions’ digital efforts will fail to move the needle because they’re not thinking about how customers will expect to find the information. When focusing on a customer-first, thoughtful approach to digital transformation, here’s what you must consider:

• People are uber-focused on task completion.

They will respond positively to UX built to support task completion. Even if you give a message significant real estate on your home page, visitors won’t notice. On average, people read only 20% of the words on a webpage.

Return visitors might read even less. This phenomenon is known in UX as “Change Blindness.” It affects even your most digital-savvy consumers.

The “Principle of Limited Attention” tells us that people are so focused on the task at hand, they often miss otherwise shocking and noticeable visual cues.

• It’s your job to understand what task your customer wants to complete, and how.

Chances are, a few questions and tasks drive most of your traffic in person, on the phone, and online. This longtail curve means that many banks and credit unions are optimizing these pages, moving answers online, and investing in technology to make answers discoverable.

• Visitors want to save you time and money (a myth).

In reality, they want to save themselves time and money. But a call to the customer service center costs your financial institution an average of $20-50 per call, according to customer experience specialist Blake Michelle Morgan. To deliver on your brand promises with mutual benefit, empower customers to self-serve on digital platforms.

• Self-service is the way forward.

Empower your customers to find and accomplish what they need. What’s on your website is only as good as it is findable. Enable task completion and provide value along the way. Your bottom line, and your customers, will thank you for it.

Just because you know where your content lives, doesn’t mean your customers or members do. Confusing information architecture is a major pain point, and siloes or legacy systems don’t make it any easier. When a webpage is posted to your site, is it merely available, or is it actually findable?

Which Digital Financial Experiences Are In Your Institution’s Blindspot?

Your marketing or web team know what most people want on your site. When we meet with our financial services customers, we generally see a few top tasks for most web visitors: people want to get account information, move money, or find the site’s FAQs.

Are they finding new products, functions, promotions or opportunities to engage with your services? Recommendations and findability are among the huge blindspot for many internal teams.

Here are the critical three spots on your site. Every visitor who moves beyond the homepage on your site uses one of this trio of tools to complete their task:

  • Navigation bar/menu.
  • Internal search engine.
  • Links or buttons featured above the fold on your site — like “log in” or “contact.”

Focus on maximizing value from functions that you know every site visitor is engaging with, no matter where they are in the funnel or customer lifecycle. Ask if there is one area where you are underinvesting?

Optimizing the three key functions mentioned above are critical to customer experience, delivering on your brand promise. Navigation bar and homepage links are often part of strategic design decisions. Are you forgetting a useful, secure search box that includes branch locations, frequent answers, integrates social media and surfaces relevant content and recommendations based on each user? If so, you’re missing out.

Long-term thinking isn’t just “How do we get the most value out of this interaction?” It asks, “How do we provide lasting value for customers from interactions like this?”

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