Why Financial Institutions are Failing at Customer Experience

Raise your hand if you’re happy with the customer experience (CX) your bank provides. Yeah, not surprising; financial institutions have historically ranked low in customer service surveys. According to a report published earlier this year, although the customer journey was ranked as a top priority by global banking leaders, research into CX maturity found the industry woefully lacking. “…many of the industry’s initiatives are unsupported, misdirected and poorly measured.”

In other words, despite the fact that banks and credit unions recognize the importance of customer experience, most of them aren’t getting it right. According to research by Digital Banking Report, there are several reasons for the misalignment.

No plan
Only three percent of report respondents indicated that customer experience is not a focus, yet less than 40 percent of the organizations have a formal CX strategic plan in place. This is a clearly problem. What’s more, the objective of delivering a positive customer experience has become secondary to other bank priorities, resulting in a transactional banking relationship for the customer.

Internally Focused
At financial institutions (FIs) where CX is a priority, many of them are engaged entirely for the wrong reasons. Rather than working toward goals based on customer benefits like simplicity, ease and responsiveness, they focus on (and measure) internal benefits like increased sales and cost cutting. Despite research that shows digital experiences drive satisfaction, FIs focus too much on products and branch engagements. It’s not surprising that the report found that most FIs have seen only a modest impact from their CX initiatives. In order meet the evolving needs of today’s customers, FIs will have to re-envision the digital engagement from one focused on cost reduction to an overall corporate culture that emphasizes customer experience.

Disparate Systems
According to the report, “the biggest challenges in financial institutions’ CX efforts are with data analytics, technology and gaining a complete customer view.” I have worked with many banks throughout my contact center career, and I think this is the biggest challenge they face. Historically, FIs have organized according to business lines, with each one having its own siloed department with its own CRM, call center, customer engagement technology, etc. Is it any wonder they can’t bring a complete customer view into focus?

The good news is that, despite these challenges, the technology and knowledge exists to help banks make serious, measurable, ROI-driven gains in customer experience improvement. A great example of this is highlighted in CHCG’s recent work with a financial services corporation that serves more than fifteen million clients in the United States, manages over $60 billion in assets and provides over $1 trillion of life insurance protection. The company was running a home-grown contact center with no contact center expertise and directing overflow calls to a second department, which resulted in overtime costs and backlog of primary functions.

Working with the client, we combined the two contact centers based on our years of experience and knowledge of industry best practices. By reducing things like temporary labor expenses, secondary phone support, overtime costs and more, and increase in productivity, the client saved more than $500,000. Throughout the process, we kept the customer experience front and center, including the completion of several comprehensive customer journey maps.

I have no doubt other FI’s could see similar results by combing disparate systems to engage end-to-end throughout the customer journey, from shopping to account opening, to onboarding and through relationship expansion. There is, of course, a lot more to tell about this client success story. Please contact me, and I’ll fill you in on the details.

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