As the financial services industry continues to mature and consolidate, customer experience has been identified as the key ingredient for winning, growing and retaining customers in an increasingly competitive environment. That insight comes as no surprise, especially in a commoditized world of financial services. However, before we discuss what drives a quality experience, we first must define it.
Marketers have been grappling with the definition of customer experience for quite a while. Sometimes it’s defined as a digital experience and interaction, such as on a website or a smartphone. In other cases, customer experience is focused on customer service or the speed at which problems are solved. In today’s omnichannel retail world, I believe it is the seamless end-to-end interaction of each customer touchpoint – the integration of those interactions in a centralized 360-degree database and the ability to deliver a personalized client experience based on a client’s preferences.
To be really successful in the long term, Fiserv firms will need to create a cohesive, simple and personalized customer experience. If achieved, it will be the competitive differentiator helping to drive growth, loyalty and ultimately, separate them from the pack.
THREE PILLARS OF CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
1 – Customer Journey
If your goal is to deliver the best customer experience possible, then you should become a customer yourself. Having a thorough understanding of a customer’s journey (e.g. how accounts are opened, how money is transferred, how issues are resolved, etc.) is the most logical starting point. Interacting with the products and services firsthand will provide valuable insights that no research survey could possibly deliver. Walking the same steps as your clients will put you in a position to analyze, question and appreciate the pain points they experience and identify where and why those problems exist.
2 – Touchpoints
Next, we’ll need to evaluate how you are interacting with your clients across the various channels – branch, websites, call centers, mobile, etc. What are those experiences like and are they consistent across all channels? What types of messages are you sending your clients, how many, how often, and do they acknowledge the customer’s current relationship? Equally as important, does your messaging strategy support the brand promise and meet customer expectations across those channels? How frictionless is your issue resolution process and what are the barriers that stand in the way of resolving those issues? In other words, do your client’s needs truly come first, or does the company’s bottom line take priority?
3 – Technology platforms
Due to advances in technology and changes in the retail sector, Fiserv firms will need to respond to the e-commerce boom by developing innovative digital and technological solutions. The “Buy Anywhere, Fulfill Anywhere” approach allows consumers to interact using their most convenient and preferred channel(s). It also makes the experience more personalized. In this marketplace, clients use multiple channels simultaneously and those experiences are curated for the client and by the client. For example, a client can make a deposit on their tablet, receive an alert on their smartphone all while driving to the bank to discuss a loan. Is your technology platform integrated to capture and acknowledge these behaviors? Do your reps understand and acknowledge who they are speaking to or supporting?
In the end, the banks who truly embrace the “customer-centric” philosophy and understand their customers’ preferences and behaviors are the banks who will gain market share.
If you have any feedback or questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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