December 20, 2017 | Jason Veenker

Banking CX: The importance of listening, asking, and listening some more.

Banking CX listening

For banks, building trust and nurturing innovation are incredibly important, but neither prove profitable without listening and asking.

With that said, it’s also important to understand that listening and asking is far more than a few surveys or feedback buttons featuring custom questions. Without a proper application of both, it can lead to reactive culture that might earn you a pat on the back for the customer recovery effort of the day. But lets face it, in banking, customers aren’t really switching in droves. It’s too hard (right now), and 21% of consumers would switch if it was easier, according to recent research from ForeSee.

The only course of action is listening to your customers to fix broken things that aren’t supposed to be broken in the near term (basic feedback table stakes), and asking about experiences to strategically plan for the long-term. The right approach to both of those actions is what allow banks to know and predict their customers’ needs and wants. But to pull it off, here are the three capabilities banks will need…

Ability to gather data

Making sure you have the ability to gather and collect data about your customers is fundamentally addressed by survey technology that can deploy everywhere and anywhere (online and off). But never assume that the ability to gather that data equals the value of that data. Doing so can lead to confusion and incorrect insights. Determining “what” and “when” to listen for (i.e. the right questions to ask) is just as important.

Also crucial when collecting is gaining an understand of the bank customer journey. If mapping isn’t a step you’ve taken yet, then knowing “where” to gather data can be achieved by covering the bases by channel (digital, contact center, branch location, overall relationship with the bank) and prioritized by business goals. For instance, where are your prospective customers engaging (acquisition opportunity)? Which channels are your current customers visiting to explore loans (upsell opportunity)?

Additionally, ensuring that the data you’re gathering aligns to a centralized governance model – one platform that enables enterprise-wide scale and single-pane dashboarding. It’s not impossible to manage data from disparate sources, but the complexity dramatically increases, the risk associated with poor decision-making increases, and gaining a single view of the customer suffers.

Correctly structuring that customer data

Of course a great deal of being able to properly structure customer data means asking the right questions. Never assume single questions capture the entirety of an experience. There are simply too many variables. (Just check in with your customer insights or marketing research team on this one). Partner with CX expertise to get this right, such as one with historical and industry-specific data.

Next, establish a baseline. This seems obvious, but it’s a commonly missed step. How can you ever know where you stand in the context of what customers compare your organization to — and if you even need to make improvements? Know where you stand from your customer’s perspective.

And finally, make sure you prioritize to a metric tied to outcomes – not to the metric itself. Organizations spend millions on experience improvements based on a single metric without any quantified way to communicate ROI. Yes, CSAT, NPS, and Customer Effort scores all have been researched to death about their benefits to the business, but you need a metric that predicts future behavior and business outcomes.

Act on the data near- and long-term

While listening and asking are two ways to gather data on a customer, they often are thought of interchangeably. One provides an avenue for customer service (near-term), the other for strategic planning (long-term). Listen via tools that give your customers the ability to contact you when they want (feedback on digital, call center, branch, and social). Effectively respond to these customer services issues, but don’t assume a spike in complaints about a specific issue warrants strategic action.

When you can properly collect and structure data about your customers, then it’s time to consider the process — the science or methodology — in place that gives you the ability to be strategic. Prioritization tied to business outcomes, while it may not entail an overnight fix,  requires purposeful planning and budgeting based on the best available data and insight. Asking with a scientific ear gives that capability to every bank.

Solving the banking customer experience puzzle

When we think about listening and asking, remember they’re two very different, complimentary pieces of the same customer experience puzzle. Listening incorporates the ability to respond to customer complaints and issues, in many cases in real-time. Asking requires sophisticated approaches to data gathering and analyzing, reporting, and planning. To achieve both, make certain you can gather all of the data (ideally using a single VOC management solution), structure that data, and have a process in place allowing you to act on it now while planning for the future.

For more banking customer experience insights, download the latest ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): Banking Report.

Part 1: TrustPredicting your customers’ future expectations: 3 key ingredients for banks

Part 2: InnovationWhy banks need innovation to know future consumer expectations

Part 3: ListeningBanking CX: The importance of listening, asking, and listening some more

About the Author

Jason Veenker is a passionate advocate for customer experience measurement and serves as a trusted adviser for improving financial customer experiences with ForeSee. He brings over 13 years of partnering with Fortune 500 organizations to help maximize their technology investments. Prior to ForeSee, Jason supported organizations with their strategic business and technology decisions, most recently with Gartner. He earned both his BS in Marketing and MBA through Azusa Pacific University.

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