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Kathy Burger
Kathy Burger
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Where is the ROI on Customer Experience in the Banking Industry?

Nontraditional digital competitors raise the bar for banks when it comes to creating a great customer experience.

When the banking industry started bandying about the term "customer experience," the discussion was mainly about aesthetics -- updating branches with cool furniture, showing video displays, offering beverages and generally creating a more welcoming physical atmosphere in the dominant delivery channel. Those efforts were almost literally window dressing, but they also were a legitimate response to the emerging reality that consumers increasingly were comparing their banks not with other financial services providers but with service standouts in other industries such as Starbucks and Nordstrom.

Since then, the customer experience point of reference has shifted from facilities to the online and digital channels, but it's the nonbanks that excel at providing their customers with customized, consistent and satisfying interactions that continue to develop the best practices. Amazon, Apple and Netflix provide the customer satisfaction benchmarks to which banks must aspire -- and like those companies, success hinges on combining insight with creativity, design and execution prowess.

[Good News -- And Room for Improvement -- About Banks' Customer Experience Efforts ]

This approach isn't something that financial institutions typically have done well, as illustrated by last year's firestorm around Bank of America's proposed $5 debit card fees, as well as the lingering ill will caused by the financial crisis. But there are encouraging signs the banking industry is getting more adept at defining and delivering the kinds of pleasing multichannel customer experiences that improve loyalty, spur cross-selling and generate growth.

Tailored Approach

New research from Accenture, which examines customer loyalty and the factors that inspire consumers to stay with or defect from a service provider, finds that retail banking is among the most effective industries at providing tailored experiences. Such experiences are critical to a strong customer relationship, Accenture says. Nearly half (48%) of the survey's respondents say that compared with a year ago, they have higher expectations of getting specialized treatment for being a "good" customer, and 31% say they prefer companies that use information about them to make their experience more efficient. At the same time, 47% say it frustrates them when companies don't use the information they have to make interactions and offers more relevant.

These numbers indicate that the massive investments banks are making in customer analytics and improved capabilities to build and deliver tailored products and services are paying off (or have the potential to do so). But customer experience will continue to be no more than window dressing if banks don't provide the infrastructure, tools and intellectual capital required to make it more meaningful. And without a rich customer experience, there's no other way banks are going to be able to go up against the new breed of digital competitors.

Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2013 | 11:54:55 PM
re: Where is the ROI on Customer Experience in the Banking Industry?
Yes, there can be ROI in improving customer experience. Do you know why your online campaigns fail when reports indicate that your getting clicks and landings? Some simple tools can help answer these kind of questions and get quick ROI. See your website and pages for responding to online campaigns by seeing what your customer see, and experiencing what they experience.
Melanie Friedrichs
Melanie Friedrichs,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/7/2013 | 1:32:04 PM
re: Where is the ROI on Customer Experience in the Banking Industry?
Just came across this, great post. Think that-ŠAccenture's survey (48% say that compared with a year ago, they have higher expectations of getting specialized treatment for being a "good" customer) reflects that customer experience is becoming a more important a point competition-- as locality is becoming less important. Love that you used Apple/Nordstrom/Starbucks/Amazon-- we did a survey of FI representatives on the 19th using just those examples!-Š
User Rank: Apprentice
12/28/2012 | 1:27:05 PM
re: Where is the ROI on Customer Experience in the Banking Industry?
Technology solutions that improve customer interactions may be one of the best approaches to bettering customer experiences, improving loyalty, spurring cross-selling and generating growth.
Many banks are looking at new technology solutions that promise to improve the customer experience and build customer loyalty so that banks can increase their share of wallet. Banks are equally concerned however with controlling costs, so any improvement needs to help banks on both sides of the issue. Predictive technology solutions are proving to be a viable next step for banks to mitigate service costs, improve the customer experience and boost revenues.
One of the newest approaches is to leverage technology which anticipates customer needs. Predictive technologies use information from current and previous customer interactions and crowd behavior to present the most likely options to answer a question or solve a problem. The result is that problems are solved more quickly and customers are happier with their banking experience.
An added benefit for the bank is that the interaction is handled online or via a mobile app, which is a more cost-effective channel than a call center.
One of the biggest benefits of predictive technology is that it can recommend new products and services at the exact moment the customer is most likely to say yes G«Ű at the moment of truth. When relevant products and services are recommended at the right time, and the user is given an easy way to sign up, acceptance rates can be impressive.
Rob CEO,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/27/2012 | 6:08:37 PM
re: Where is the ROI on Customer Experience in the Banking Industry?
FI's still struggle to integrate channels because the focus is on integrating "products" offered into the FI's own channels,-Šas opposed to integrating experiences. Forget "channels" and begin focusing on customer "events" so it truly is focused from the customer's perspective, not the FI's. One great example would be integrating the mortgage experience by providing applicants access to online appraisal services, links to pay inspectors (and for the inspector to post his report) and provide pdf file of the written inspection, access to online property photos provided by either party, two-way online approval (by FI or applicant) process, online access by applicant's realtor to review closing documents/contracts, and electronic delivery and notifications throughout process to interested and approved parties. THEN, you are talking about customer experience!
So much is written about FI customer experience and it is really about the FI itself integrating its own channels - that is not customer experience.
User Rank: Author
12/20/2012 | 7:17:25 PM
re: Where is the ROI on Customer Experience in the Banking Industry?
Banks are definitely looking at customer experience differently as they face competition from outside the industry
User Rank: Apprentice
12/20/2012 | 5:02:27 AM
re: Where is the ROI on Customer Experience in the Banking Industry?
Banks are losing out customer relationship touch-points to Retailers, Social networking platforms, and Telcos. Having already-Šlost out the Retail relationships to the Credit Card providers, they cannot afford to repeat the same mistake. Otherwise they will be at the receiving end of bargaining among various players of ecosystem, and lose out on a source of revenue.
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