January 22, 2014

USAA took the top spot in a new customer experience ranking for banks and credit unions released this week by Forrester.

The ranking is based on a survey of 7,500 US consumers, who were asked to select the companies they interact with most across 14 different industries, and to then answer three questions about each brand in regards to customer experience: how enjoyable and easy they are to do business with, and how effective they are at meeting customer needs.

The banking industry received an overall score of 75 (on a scale of 1 to 100) in customer experience, which placed it fifth among the 14 industries measured. Several banks saw their overall customer experience score rise more than 10 points from last year, including Capital One 360, HSBC, Fifth Third and Citi.

Meanwhile, USAA retained its top spot in customer experience for banks with an overall score of 86, and also was the top ranked insurance provider. It was followed by Navy Federal Credit Union (82 points) Ally Bank (78) TD Bank (78) and Capital One 360 (77).

According to Forrester, customer experience must be treated like a business discipline in order to achieve optimal results in this area. For firms new to customer experience, Forrester recommends starting by implementing what it calls a repair process.

"In the first phase of customer experience maturity, firms use a classic closed-loop process to listen to customer feedback, identify and prioritize customer pain points, and coordinate projects to fix what’s broken," the reports reads. "CX professionals need to jump-start this process if it doesn’t exist today. Some might only have to shift the focus of existing market research to CX issues. Others may need to start their firm’s first customer listening program, combining traditional data insights with tools like customer journey maps and customer experience ecosystem maps to help diagnose the root causes of customer frustration."

For businesses that already have a customer experience plan in place, Forrester says not to be satisfied with the work already done, but always be picking up the pace.

"CX professionals at today’s leading firms must arm employees with sophisticated CX tools like observational studies, experience co-creation, detailed driver analysis, and predictive behavioral models," the report recommends. "Observational studies help employees detect changing customer needs before anyone else does and sometimes allow employees to completely reframe these needs to address a problem that no one else has solved."

[See Also:USAA's Greg Schwartz Keeps IT's Focus On The Customer Experience]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as ...