In the previous part of our article, we discussed why understanding the customer and putting the customer at the center is of utmost importance for creating the customer experience of tomorrow.
In this part, we will discuss the importance of creating a holistic plan for improving customer experience and how technology will act as the lynchpin for delivering great customer experience.
Map the customer journey
Gathering and analysing customer needs, while being great starting points, are not enough to take the mission towards a great customer experience forward. It is important to apply a human perspective to this data and analyse and understand the true motivational causes.
Also, leverage frameworks as you map out the customer journeys. Frameworks such as The Disney Compass map your customers and their customer journeys.
Customer journey maps tell the banks how the customers interact with the bank. It is not just a visual representation of how customers interact with a bank, but a bible of all the customer interactions, if done right.
Mapping the customer journey will not just tell where the customers interact with the banks but will help the latter focus on customer needs across each stage of customer interaction and lifecycle. It will also clearly reflect the gaps existing in the current customer experience. This can help the banks identify and work on priorities that require the maximum focus.
Create a holistic plan for improving customer experience
Based on the customer experience vision and the customer journey maps, the banks should create a strategy that will take them from the present state to the envisioned state.
The banks should break down the plan into strategic, tactical, and operational levels and make sure the timeframes and milestones allow for agility and flexibility but is also ambitious.
The banks should also make sure that the plan caters to each of the five stakeholders. Bring in acceptance amongst all the five stakeholders. The banks should be ready to tweak the plan to make sure each of the five stakeholders are on board.
Also, the banks need to make sure that there is a process to collect feedbacks on a real time which is coupled with frequent checkpoints to see if the plan for improving customer experience is on track.
Communicate the vision and draw out clear responsibilities
No single department handles customer experience. Hence, it is not the job of one team or one function to define and execute customer experience. In fact, customer experience, like people management, cuts across all the organizational silos and the goal of creating a genuinely great customer experience is the accountability of every single stakeholder of the bank’s ecosystem. Break the silos and make sure customer experience is a reality that is omnipresent across the bank.
After the bank draws out the plan for improving customer experience, it is important that each and every person is educated on the same. Communicate the vision of customer experience across the organization. Make sure the bank’s employees identify themselves with this vision of customer experience. Educate them, retrain them, and establish a culture of customer obsession across the organization.
While delivering great customer experience is not the job of a department, it is equally important to draw out clear responsibilities for each role as part of this process. These will act as a guide and will help each employee identify what he or she is supposed to do as part of the overall bank’s vision for customer experience.
Apart from all this, one rule will help the different stakeholders deliver great customer experience – go over and beyond. If each of the employees and other stakeholders of the bank decide to go over and beyond and do what is in the best interest for the bank’s customer, genuinely great customer experience will be a norm.
Focus on hyper personalization
It is important that the plan for improving customer experience should be based on personalization. As mentioned before, personalization will be the key to success in the future for the banks of tomorrow.
As per the latest reports from the Financial Brand, only 31% of the customers feel that their personal financial institutions know them and their financial needs well.
This is certainly a gap that the banks of tomorrow need to fill if they need to make sure that their customer experience is the best and personal.
In fact, as per recent reports, personalization is not enough, hyper personalization will be the key.
To focus on this and to deliver personalized customer experience, banks need to do the following
1. Understand each of the customer in as much detail as possible and build a detailed portrait of the customer, which is mapped across the life of each customer.
2. For each customer, build a customer map which highlights the needs vs gaps and the difference from the customer experience vision that the banks want to provide. Use this map continuously and fill the gaps as the customer evolves.
3. Be ready to be part of the life events of each of the customer. To be ready, banks will have to start listening. Just like Amazon Echo or Google Home, banks will have to adopt the habit of being particularly good listeners and connect to the purpose of the different transactions that its customers make.
4. To connect to the purpose of each transaction, leverage technology and make sense of the data that each customer generates. I will be talking about technology in detail in a later chapter, but in short, to deliver a hyper personalized experience, leverage technology to the fullest, digitalize all internal and external processes. While technology may be a broad-based term, for personalization, it is important to understand that I am using the term technology as a sum for digitalization and other aspects like machine learning, artificial intelligence etc.
5. Last, but not least, educate each employee to treat each customer as different. Would it not be wonderful if the bank employees were able to connect to the customers through their first name? This is what I call as first name relationship. First names are powerful. Banks should aim to build first name relationship with the banks customers to build personalization.
Technology will be the lynchpin for delivering a great customer experience. The importance of technology cannot be said in a few paragraphs and I will talk about the same in a separate chapter later.
But we need to understand that along with the entire bank, the technology infrastructure is also undergoing a rapid transformation.
As a bank, to enable customer experience, these are the following steps that banks can do from a technology perspective –
1. Create a technology vision aligned with the customer experience vision.
2. Draw out the current infrastructure and map the gaps vis a vis the technology vision.
3. Make digitalization a way of life across the entire banking process rather than think of it as an addendum. As part of the digitalization process, integrate technology as part of the customer experience.
4. Create a process where technologies like big data analytics, machine learning, blockchain, and virtual reality are continuously explored and included in improving products and services. Also, be ready to learn from other industries like retail which are always at the forefront of innovation in leveraging technology to build superior customer experience.
5. Build a rapid action team that will leverage new technologies and build minimum viable pilot products (not minimum viable products, because these products need to be launched) and test them on a sample market.
6. Continuously explore ways to improve existing products and services through technology, either through incremental or exponential changes.
7. Educate the entire bank about the impact of technology and create tech and finance savvy bankers, rather than just finance savvy.
The banks of today are constantly impacted by the rise of technology and in an increasingly digital world, they are being constantly being compared with technology giants such as Google and Amazon. Banks need to continuously leverage technology to create a genuinely great customer experience so that they are able to play a more integral part in their customers life.
To create personalized customer experience that is invisible, intuitive, immersive, and integrated, banks should automate to the extent they possibly can. This will certainly make the customer experience better and help banks to acquire and leverage data that they can use to continuously improve customer experience.
Automation will be successful only if it is integrated with human interactions. To deliver a great customer experience, banks should focus on building human checkpoints that will engender the automated processes.
Not automating can seriously impact customer experience. Imagine the cost if a person must wait on the phone to talk to a customer service agent for more than five minutes. Many people avoid calling a customer care centre just because they are afraid of the ensuring wait.
According to us, automation has the potential to exponentially transform customer experience. As per Forbes, ‘with automation assisting in customer experience, companies can focus on more high-touch interactions with customers and use technology like machine learning and natural language processing to understand what the customer is really trying to do. If a customer is contacting a bank call centre every week to automatically check their balance or transfer money, machine learning can discover that what that customer really needs is a new type of account or an online profile. With that information, human customer service representatives can reach out and get the customer the right solution to help in the long run.’
Automation will help banks build to provide high quality experience to each of its customers. To make sure banks achieve success in their journey towards automation, the banks need to go through the following steps –
1. Map the customer journeys and create a customer journey bible. Make sure each of the customer journeys contain the processes that are visible to the customer as well as processes that are invisible to the customer.
2. Apart from the customer journeys, create a value stream map of all the processes across the bank. These should include all the internal processes and all the external processes.
3. Identify processes and customer journeys that can be automated. Classify them into two– can be automated immediately or can be automated, but not immediately.
4. Identify the way to automate these processes – either through internal single threaded teams or through external partners. Ideally, banks should not try to do all of automation alone. Aim for 100% automation.
5. Create a plan for automation – internal and external. For processes which cannot be automated immediately, create a no-going-back plan with clear cut dates and milestones.
6. Focus on executing the plan. Create intermediate checkpoints and make sure the execution is on track.
The choice is with the banks if they want to make customers wait for hours or help its customers realize the power of invisible, intuitive, immersive and integrated banking through automation.
In the next and final part of our article, we will discuss on What will the future look like for a banking ecosystem and the steps for creating a successfull ecosystem.
 Developing a customer-experience vision https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/developing-a-customer-experience-vision
 Chart – How Well Does the PFI Know their Customers; Personalization in Banking: From Novelty to Necessity https://thefinancialbrand.com/58063/personalization-in-banking-digital-research-study/
 Digital Banking Consumers Demand Hyper Personalization https://thefinancialbrand.com/69126/intelligent-personalization-banking-ai-data-trends/
 How Automation Is Good For Customer Experience https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2017/06/22/how-automation-is-good-for-customer-experience/#638bb4bf2afb