Customer Experience

07:45 PM
Ghan Desai, BOLTZ
Ghan Desai, BOLTZ

Become the Other CEO (the Customer Experience Officer): A 30-Day Challenge

A step-by-step guide to self-assess your bank's real customer experience in the digital era.

Bank CEOs are proficient at managing their business, primarily through using well-established metrics such as ROA, ROE, NIM, capital ratios, net income, credit quality and fee income.  However, many CEOs give minimal attention to understanding and measuring their customer’s experience.

Why is this important? The demographics of financial services customers are changing, and so are customers' preferences. According to the US Census Bureau, the Millennials’ (a.k.a. Gen-Y) population has reached 80 million in the US, and by 2020 it will make up half of the world's workforce. The other half will be Gen-X and Gen-Z. These generations will soon encompass the majority of customers of the banking industry, and shape future demand for evolving products and services. With more and more reliance on mobile banking, one can see a progressive shift from branches, ATMs, and batch-based transactions to real-time transactions. As a result, the expectations of these customers have also shifted in their day-to-day experiences of bank account access.

CEOs can certainly gain insight to the customer experience by reading the myriad of content available on the subject, or perhaps they could take another approach -- experience being a Gen-Y or Gen-X customer first-hand. In doing this, CEOs can gain valuable insights on how to transform a bank to effectively serve and grow evolving customers.

[For More On This Topic, Check Out: Big Data and Humanizing the Customer Experience]

How can you do this? Let's start with transforming your role for next 30 days to a different kind of CEO -- Customer Experience Officer. Here are a few guidelines that will quickly get you on-board:

·   Lose your wrist watch -- That's right. The goal is to alter your behavior to rely on your favorite mobile device for not only time, but all of your banking activities as well. I am going to assume you have a smart phone or tablet and for the next 30 days your device is your personal branch.

·   Open a checking account online with a debit card. If your own institution offers this service, start there. If not, there are numerous options available online from large banks or purely online brands; offering virtual wallets, nerd wallets, etc. As you go through the onboarding process, pay special attention to the entire experience, as well as:

o   What data are you asked to provide to verify and validate your identity online?

o   How long is the on-boarding process? 

o   What options are available to fund your new account? 

o   What is the velocity of funds being available for use? 

o   When do you receive your new debit card? 

o   What disclosures and electronic signatures are you presented with?

o   Did the welcome email provide clear details on next steps?

o   What irritated you?

o   What impressed you?

o   How satisfied are you with the way your wealth and personal information is being protected?

o   What did you see as risks and opportunities?

·   Empty your wallet of all cash for 30 days and exclusively use your new debit card for day-to-day expenses. Even pay for your coffee with your debit card.  If the establishment does not accept debit, find one that does.

·   Download the mobile app from your new bank on your favorite device(s).  Review the features and functionalities of the mobile app. Are the following features available?

o   PIN-based (quick) access to your account

o   Real-time account information

o   Picture pay (pay your bills by taking a picture of the invoice)

o   Bill Pay

o   Remote Deposit Capture

o   Debit card block/unblock (to limit unauthorized access)

o   Review electronic statements (and verify how far back you can go)

o   Transaction history

o   Person to Person Payments

o   Account to Account Transfers (across different institutions)

o   What support options are available (i.e. Chat, SMS, email, 800#, social media)

o   Is the application and its features responsive?

·   Make the time to test every mobile app feature and record your experience as you use them. Refrain from visiting a branch, or using paper checks to pay bills or ATMs for cash. Note how many merchants only accepted cash or check.

·   Use the support options provided by the institution to see how your identity is verified and the quality of service. Is the support 24/7?

·   At the end of the month, review your electronic statement and see how clearly fees and charges are displayed. Are you receiving enough value from paying the fees? Is the statement readable on your device?

I've been fortunate enough to work for banks of all sizes and this exercise was one of the most enlightening of my career in gaining an understanding of the new generation of customers. Hopefully it will prove just as enlightening for you in learning where your institution can improve. After completing it, please return to this blog to share your experiences!

Ghan M. Desai is the founder and CEO of BOLTZ, a company that specializes is helping credit unions and community banks leverage technology to integrate their front and back office business processes. Prior to starting BOLTZ, he served as the Executive ... View Full Bio

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