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How U.S. Bank Is Taking its Customer Experience to the Next Level

U.S. Bank already had a highly rated customer experience; here’s what its been doing to make it better.

Kelly McSwain-Campbell was given a unique job when she joined U.S. Bank four years ago. Campbell, a senior vice president customer experience director, was charged with improving the bank’s customer experience. It isn’t unusual now for banks to hire customer experience experts, but the unique part for Campbell was that U.S. Bank already had one of the best customer experiences in the industry, according to research.

And while many customer experience initiatives require justification to business leaders, Campbell was not told to come up with a business case for the customer experience programs she would develop. “Our organization didn’t require a business case… the leadership just believed in the value of a great customer experience,” Campbell said at the Forrester Forum for Customer Experience Professionals today.

So Campbell had to improve an already good customer experience without any specific business goals to meet.

[For More of Our Coverage on Customer Experience: Why Compliance and Customer Experience]

“The wheels weren’t falling off or anything, and we didn’t have anything specific to fix… so it was like ‘Where do you start?’” she related.

The goal, Campbell decided, would be to take the customer experience to the next level, and that had to start with the front-line staff. The bank reached out to customers and sought feedback from them on what makes a great person-to-person interaction, and what are the drivers that make them feel that way about an interaction, Campbell said.

“We wanted to identify those drivers, and over time deliver on them to create a deeper emotional connection to the company and create loyal relationships,” she notes.

Those drivers had to be things that front-line staff could control, Campbell adds. If a customer had a bad experience at the branch because they got a flat tire in the parking lot, the branch staff can’t control that, she pointed out.

To find those drivers, the bank pulled together data from various sources such as customer complaints, their problem resolution function and social media. Two years ago it also implemented text analytics to help scour all this data to help discover broader trends in customer sentiments.

Unsurprisingly, the bank found that different drivers are most critical different customer segments. “Different segments have different levels of expectations. High net worth customers, for example, to serve them you need to understand their whole family. You need to understand how that individual is looking to share their wealth with their whole family. With our mass-market customers, it boils down to feeling valued. They want to feel like aren’t just another account number to you,” Campbell shared.

With an understanding of those drivers, U.S. Bank was able to tailor the coaching of its front-line staff to help deal with the drivers and eliminate pain points related to them, Campbell recalled. “We integrated the customer feedback to enhance our coaching processes. We were trending data for each employee over a 12-month period and the coach will sit down with them and review ho they’re trending,” she added.

The bank developed programs to incentivize employees to work on improving their customer satisfaction scores, Campbell shared. One example is its “Awards Shields” program; those employees that earn the highest honor (a platinum shield) are flown to Minneapolis to have dinner with the CEO.

Sometimes fixing such pain points could require major investments in technology that weren’t feasible budget-wise, he reported. In such cases the bank decided that it would work toward same-day resolution of those problems for customers. And if same-day resolution couldn’t be achieved, then it would commit itself to better communication with the customer throughout the resolution process.

As a result, the bank has seen its satisfaction scores with problem resolution go up, along with its overall loyalty scores, Campbell said. It has also seen improvement in metrics directly tied to the customer experience drivers for different segments such as its high net worth “Private Clients,” and its corporate customers.

To continue to improve U.S. Bank’s customer experience will require breaking down silos between different parts of the organization, Campbell remarked.

“We’ve been doing things within different channels and lines of business. We really want to look at the experience from end-to-end, from the time the customer chooses to make a purchase to when they utilize that product or service. We want to figure out how we can work with them across touch-points to impact the emotional connection to the bank,” Campbell explained.

Jonathan Camhi has been an associate editor with Bank Systems & Technology since 2012. He previously worked as a freelance journalist in New York City covering politics, health and immigration, and has a master's degree from the City University of New York's Graduate School ... View Full Bio

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Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
6/28/2014 | 4:16:18 PM
re: How U.S. Bank Is Taking its Customer Experience to the Next Level
I don't think that it was as much about learning something new as dealing with the biggest pain points for customers. If you have real problem with the bank, that's when you go to the branch or call the call center. So I think they wanted to attack that first.
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
6/28/2014 | 4:10:01 PM
re: How U.S. Bank Is Taking its Customer Experience to the Next Level
Yeah the autonomy that they gave her in not having to make a business case was unusual, and it seems to have paid off.
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
6/27/2014 | 4:53:03 PM
re: How U.S. Bank Is Taking its Customer Experience to the Next Level
It's interesting to me that in thinking about the "next level" of customer experience they started with "front-line staff" and the branch. Not to second guess US Bank, which as you said ranks highly for good CXP and also is in general a forward-looking and effective IT implementer, but it would seem to me the next level is going to be less around what branch customers want and more about what people who heavily use digital channels want. I guess it's plausible that what you learn about face2face encounters can be leveraged across other channels, but I really wonder what new can be learned from branch customers that they didn't already know.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
6/27/2014 | 4:15:29 PM
re: How U.S. Bank Is Taking its Customer Experience to the Next Level
That's what I was thinking; definitely a unique strategy. It shows the bank's commitment to innovation and makes Campbell more flexible to adopt new strategies and technologies than she would be if she had a specific duty.
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
6/27/2014 | 3:20:05 PM
re: How U.S. Bank Is Taking its Customer Experience to the Next Level
Yes they are definitely thinking far ahead on this, and they're really committed to bettering customer experience. I don't think a lot of banks would assign an executive a role without a specific task to complete like in this case.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
6/26/2014 | 5:57:21 PM
re: How U.S. Bank Is Taking its Customer Experience to the Next Level
U.S. Bank is smart to keep moving forward in its customer experience strategy and has some really good ideas. The strategies of utilizing customer feedback, providing employee incentives, and breaking down silos would each be effective on their own, but combining them should prove effective in keeping U.S. Bank ahead of the game.
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