Today’s competitive landscape continues to demand focus on the customer experience (CX). In fact, according to our recent 2023 pulse on the consumer lending industry, the top drivers for leaders of consumer lending all point to serving the customer.
What does it take to meet—and exceed—the ever-evolving needs of the customer with high expectations? The answer is to go beyond what has always worked. Today’s market demands that you allocate time and resources to ensure that your CX continuously evolves with both the market and changing customer expectations. Without superior CX, your investment in creating high-quality products and services is at risk. If you’re able to create exceptional CX, you’re sure to strengthen your brand loyalty and gain a competitive advantage.
This blog highlights key areas where investment in CX yields outsized results.
As part of your vision of how to build CX, keep the customer’s perception of your business top of mind. In addition to having all the tools in place to measure the customer experience, take the time to put a value on the impact of losing a single customer. We recommend to our clients to consider all the potential customer interactions—because both direct and indirect experiences drive opinions. Taking (and acting) on that perspective is one way to improve customer loyalty.
Customer reviews of your brand also affect customer loyalty—don’t underestimate the power of those reviews. That’s because a significant number (more than half) of your customers depend on reviews to inform their purchases. According to the Baymard Institute, that number is even higher (95%).
On the flip side, a lack of reviews drives down sales. In fact, a recent survey on product reviews found that “80% [of customers] are less likely to buy a product if it has no reviews.”
Since reviews are a proven driver of sales, keeping the customer’s opinion at the forefront of everything you do will result in successful cross-selling of new products and upselling existing products.
If customer loyalty is your end goal, then optimizing the experience to yield the highest CX should be a cornerstone strategy. Constant modifications, however, are only possible if you really know your customer. As a lender, it’s likely that you already have an analytics or reporting team who dissects the data to deliver insights that help your business make meaningful decisions. In addition to the operational monitoring and reporting on activities and processes, however, you’ll also want to look closely at the data to monitor the performance of your engagement strategies.
More specifically, you’ll want to continuously test and track new strategy performance. We’ve found that there are four key areas that must always be tracked.
A/B testing: Regularly analyze trends and patterns by running and comparing the effectiveness of different campaigns. This will help you understand what works and what doesn’t as your customers engage online. Use these insights to improve your online presence with optimal customer experience and relevant services derived from high-performing campaigns.
In-page web analytics: Set up your analytics to track how customers interact on key pages, including mouse movement, clicks, screen navigation, and exit pages. By better understanding customer behaviors on critical pages, you’ll be able to adjust each page to provide the most optimized experience based on data what shows what your customers actually need.
Content management: Providing the right type of high-quality, personalized communications will help you build a trusted, effective connection with your customers. One obvious place to start is by ensuring that you use customers’ preferred contact preferences. Then, engage with them via the type of content proven to be the highest performing (for example, “most opened” emails). Because every customer has different preferences for the types, frequency and channel for communications, be sure to establish a rich library of multi-channel content comprising both proactive and reactive communications.
Survey and form building: Soliciting both customer and internal employee feedback—and acting on that feedback —helps to establish brand loyalty. Surveys will help you build trust and rapport while gaining deeper insights into what customers want and need.
As digital continues to evolve, it is important to keep your focus on what matters—the end-to-end customer journey. We recommend consistently tracking success and remediating obstacles within both existing and new technology systems. Your intra-day and daily tracking capabilities, monthly reporting, and month-over-month trend analysis should reflect a story of banking customer experience improvement, regardless of which technology you employ.
One of the most exciting trends over the past decade has been how organizations have been increasingly able to harness data intelligence to help them understand their customers in more robust and holistic ways. Even better, the data that we’re using is increasingly dynamic and “intelligent”—as the near-ubiquitous use of AI shows us. As that intelligence continues to evolve and improve, it becomes increasingly important to harness it to drive the customer journey.
If you are making the leap to use AI or machine learning, you must first understand the data that will go into the model. As the old saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” To get the most out of the AI model, feed it with the correct type of data based on your defined use case. Technology on its own—even powerful tech like AI—will fail without both customer and operational considerations.
If investigating and purchasing more advanced tools is not your budget priority, there are still many ways to develop how you use data to improve the banking customer experience. Regardless of which technologies you are using to collect and analyze data, your ability to successfully understand and act on those insights determines success. Doing so will ensure that your data properly informs how you create an engagement experience without the gaps and conflicting strategies that can create a negative experience.
If you’re using promotional offers, be sure to track them all the way through the journey. This way you can compare what is most effective and which offer yields the highest pull-through rate.
Also monitor for obstacles that are impeding the customer journey. For example, you should be closely tracking abandon, fall-out rates and no response. Use fall-out reasons to create broad themes that can help you improve CX. Not all obstacles stem from customers failing to engage. For example, system outages for planned maintenance or updates during peak usage times can be equally harmful. So make sure that you understand non-peak online activity as well.
At the end of the day, regardless of which technologies you’re using, the success—or failure—of your offerings hinges on how closely and authentically you connect with your customers. That customer-centric approach needs to be robust (data), holistic (across all relevant channels), optimized (tailored to the individual), and adaptive (tracked, monitored and continuously refined). Keeping the customer at the forefront of your strategies will ensure that you position yourself for ongoing success, regardless of which technologies you are using or how your industry evolves.
While immediacy is the promise of most of today’s digital tech, that doesn’t mean that we have it right. Often, a delay in the human interaction component is where the customer journey can crumble. That’s why a customer-centric culture hinges on identifying—and removing—any obstacles that prevent employees from delivering a swift, positive customer outcome. This is one of the tenets of exceptional customer experience.
To ensure that employees are empowered to act quickly, a robust initial (and ongoing) training program ensures that customer-facing representatives have deep product knowledge in addition to system training for product servicing.
Another part of establishing a customer-centric culture centers around capturing employee feedback through regular surveys. You’ll gain valuable insight to what’s working well in addition to what you should be improving. Employee insights—especially from the front lines—help to ensure a cohesive experience for your customers from both digital and human interactions.
Banking customer experience involves all the ways in which your business interacts with a consumer—it extends far beyond the initial purchase. From how customers use your product or service, to traditional customer service and online interactions, an effective experience relies on continuous monitoring, analysis and refinement.
Bridgeforce experts have mapped hundreds of processes within multiple operations. We transform and analyze even the most complex customer journeys into distinct components that can be analyzed for efficiency and performance. We then create actionable insights to help you improve the customer experience, increase customer adoption and strengthen controls. You can rely on Bridgeforce to help you remodel or completely revise your banking customer experience to ensure ongoing success.