Published in Financial Services

Turn your business upside down to deliver better customer experience

There is always lots of news about banks in the UK, ranging from redundancy and risk to profit forecasts and predictions – but very little about the customer: don’t we pay the bills?

The good news for us is that things are changing. Recently the British Banker’s Association (BBA) has reported mobile and internet banking transactions are now a massive £1bn (US$1.6bn) each and every day. Transfers using mobiles and tablets have increased by over 40% in the last year alone. But there are still, according the BBA, 67 million transactions in branches every week.

Only very recently a leading UK retail bank has re-designed its in-branch presence. Gone are the glass partitions where cashiers customarily peered through at the customer. In fact, gone are many cashiers themselves – today they are called ‘community bankers’ and they roam around the floor space eager to serve!

So on the surface (or tablet) a much better way to do business – the customer is once again at the centre of the Banking World. Or are they?

Keeping a brand promise and delivering consistently great customer experience is more complex than ever.  Today we have different channels, different customer needs and perceptions across channels, different customer views of their local branch versus corporate, new roles for frontline staff.  With different interactions across different channels how can banks hope to understand their customers better and still treat them as individuals? How do they react quickly to issues before they become mainstream social media commentary? A complex picture…

How do we engage employees at the frontline and in the back office?  How does the CEO stand up in front of shareholders and the press and talk with confidence about customer experience (CX), loyalty and growth? We need a simple solution…

The best solutions are always more simple than the complex problems we face. To quote a favourite advertising slogan from way back (Ericsson Telecom circa 1995) it’s all about communication – the rest is technology.

So here is the clever bit – if you have not already worked it out… I am not great fan of lists (there are thousands of top ten tips) so our advice is as easy as 1-2-3…

  1. Have a common goal – Make Customer Experience part of every job.  It is not a “department with a target” but more a way of working – that way you can cut through the silos that slow us all down.  Most people go to work to do their best with the skills and tools they have.
  2. Listen to your customers – don’t just “survey” them.  Old style Customer satisfaction surveys create scores – scores create competition – competition often drives internal behaviour, not external improvement.  So a survey that is more like a dialogue encourages opinion, comment, ratings and words.  Analyse these carefully so you know true customer sentiment – not a score out of ten, with “top box”, “detractors removed” and a contrived index – how can you act on that?
  3. Then turn it all upside down and shake it up!  No, not a cocktail mix but a cocktail for faster action. Let your frontline be the first to see or hear what your customers say – give them the skills and tools to put things right, and the praise for a job well done.  They need to know before senior management and can be trusted to act with the company in mind – after all that is what they are paid for!

All of the above are about transparency, trust and honesty – much admired traits that appeal to the people (customers and colleagues) that keep good banks in profitable business.

So why do we care so much? Because we have simple solutions to these complex problems – we help our clients to see, sense and act on the experiences and desires of every customer, at every touch point, live.  We know that the blend of great people and smart technology is our world and the future.  We know this is the most effective way for financial service brands to retain, grow, and repeat great value business.