How to launch a CX programme in financial services

By William Perry, Head of Financial Services UK Medallia

 

Competition in the financial services sector is becoming increasingly heated. As a result, financial organisations have been investing huge amounts of time and money into understanding how to innovate and outpace competitors. In order to do this, many organisations have landed on optimising one key differentiator: customer experience.

William Perry

The numbers don’t lie. Organisations with a superior customer experience generate nearly six times the revenue of customer experience laggards. However, despite this, some financial businesses are finding it tricky to get off the starting blocks.

Prioritising customer experience requires an ability to listen to the voice of the customer and learn, analyse, predict and empower employees to act in the moment to improve their experience. To implement these capabilities to the point where effective decisions are being made, a strong and empowered CX programme is needed.

Here, we lay out a simple, step-by-step guide to launching a CX programme in the financial services.

 

Step 1: Make the case

The real work of launching a CX programme happens before you even start building. For a CX programme to truly work, the whole organisation needs to be invested in boosting customer experience. This can be tricky, for example, the risk management department probably isn’t 100 percent aligned with the customer service team on strategy and prioritisation. So how do you shift mindsets?

The idea is to find a way to anchor an experience strategy around the focus of each and every department. And it’s not as hard as you think. Afterall, when we consider that an organisation’s departments should be working towards common goals like increasing revenue, delivering stronger outcomes, bolstering employee engagement and remaining relevant and improving loyalty – the benefits of a cohesive experience management strategy – it becomes easier to persuade decision makers that an approach centred around CX is the way forward.

 

Step 2: Get the buy-in

Leading on from the above, it’s important to identify the key stakeholders that can affect change here – namely the C-Suite – and find a way to appeal to them all.

For example, increasing revenue is not only about driving repeat business but also about getting new business in the door. By listening to and learning from customers, financial services organisations can find a way to do both – for example, banks that act on the insight from customers can reduce churn by identifying friction in the online banking journey or pinpoint new ways to create positive banking experiences that drive new revenue potential.

At the end of the day, getting the buy-in from stakeholders is about connecting customer experience to solving business challenges and fulfilling the company’s broader, strategic aims, clearly demonstrating the ‘why’ and the ROI of customer experience.

 

Step 3: Establish critical factors to success

Broadly speaking, there are five pillars that build the foundations of an excellent CX programme.

  1. Strong formal governance – holding teams accountable for progress and empowering effective decision-making
  2. An executive sponsor – whether it’s a CX professional or one of the leadership team –to champion the programme internally, work to remove any roadblocks and promote ROI
  3. Clear internal communication – keeping everyone informed and mindful of why the programme is valuable
  4. A comprehensive change management strategy – this should include a contingency plan for pockets of resistance and suggested approaches on how to encourage adoption to instil a culture of CX excellence
  5. Effective training strategies – focused on skills development

 

Step 4: Leverage technology

To feed into the goals of every business function while serving broader common aims, the CX programme needs to capture insights from across the business and customer journey as a whole so that every customer feels heard across all interactions – whether that’s digital or in person. This means infrastructure needs to be in place that both supports key channels like SMS and video, whilst being able to automatically integrate feedback with key internal systems (such as customer relationship management) and digital analytics tools and extract insights at scale.

This leads us to another important point – it’s not enough to collect customer data and feedback, it also needs to be interpreted and understood. AI and text analytics can drill down into the themes and trends hidden in the data and translate them into actionable insights. These more advanced technologies are the true differentiators of a successful CX programme, allowing financial companies to pinpoint at speed exactly what needs to be done to impact the customer experience and drive outcomes.

 

Step 5: Work out metrics to benchmark ongoing success

The most helpful metrics are the ones which inspire you to take action and that clearly demonstrate to you the ROI of each action taken. As one of the most widely-adopted customer experience metrics, NPS (Net Promoter Score) is probably best for benchmarking a company against its competitors.

Financial services, however, might want to also look at measuring specific key metrics, such as trust, a big factor in determining whether customers choose and remain loyal to organisations operating in this sector.

Additionally, in a sector where customers expect a seamless experience – especially online and when dealing with hard-earned income and savings – if something is going wrong and there’s a point of friction along the way, it’s imperative it’s logged and resolved as quickly as possible. This means response to alert time is a key behavioural indicator for financial services to measure and track in their CX programmes.

 

Baking customer experience into company DNA

Those companies that are moving in lockstep with shifting customer expectations in an increasingly digital world are building a huge competitive advantage. Organisations in the financial services sector that are finding ways to predict future customer needs are able to better transform their businesses and empower employees to affect in the moment actions that improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, trust and lifetime value.

Companies that are serious about transforming their operations are implementing strong and empowered CX programmes that bake the importance of customer engagement into the very DNA of the organisation.

 

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