Jason Huffman is Director of Customer Experience at Union Bank and Trust, the largest bank company in Virginia managing just over $8.5 billion. Since its founding in 1902, the company is made up primarily of community and legacy banks, and has always strived to provide an exceptional customer experience. We recently sat down with Jason to discuss how adding ForeSee’s methodology for measuring CX made an impact on the organization in a relatively short time, as well as why CX data is vital to fulfilling business goals without affecting customer satisfaction.
And to hear more about how Union Bank and Trust is a best-in-class VOC Leader, watch our interview with Jason via the video below.
What are your business goals? What are you measured on?
At Union Bank and Trust, multiple things roll up under my responsibilities within Customer Experience, [including] three contact centers focused on inbound calls, the online account opening and sales teams, and an e-channel team. The e-channel team handles anything from supporting online banking to mobile check deposit to social servicing. We have a pretty heavy social media presence at Union, and that team manages our customer focus throughout.
At a higher level, my job description includes being in charge of building a voice of the customer dashboard. Our leadership team knows how to prioritize where our dollars go, what are squeaky wheels versus trends, and how to improve the overall customer experience using fact-based decisioning.
Why is it important for your company to measure customer experience?
At Union Bank and Trust, we’re in a unique growth period right now. We’re the biggest bank in Virginia. However, our customers see our growth and they want us to be like the big national banks when it comes to technology. But when it comes to service and personal touch, they want us to be a local community bank. So, we’re in a unique situation where we can be both. ForeSee has really helped us figure out where to prioritize [to discover] where we can get the biggest bang for the buck and [maintain satisfaction] for our customer base.
How do you make sure you capture, measure, and recruit the entire customer experience, wherever customers are interacting with your brand?
At Union, we look at the customer experience as a five part journey: prospect stage, onboarding, relationship building, service recovery and improvement, and attrition. Through that journey, we’re trying to measure all the pieces of it. And with ForeSee, we’ve really just started to scratch the surface of what we’re measuring, and [we’re] trying to fill in the gaps to build our voice of the customer dashboard.
What are the biggest issues that the banking industry faces that CX intelligence can help solve?
The banking industry has certainly changed quickly lately. It wasn’t too long ago that the only way you could interact with your bank was to walk into branch. Our customers are doing a lot more than walking into branches.
I lecture at a local university, and every time, I start my lecture by asking 100 to 150 students: “How many of you have walked into a bank branch in the last thirty days?” I can count on my hand how many people [who said they have]. We’re trying to make sure that we are in all places for that customer.
What ForeSee products do you use and why?
We’re currently using ForeSee CX measurement across four channels. We’re measuring our website, which is our unauthenticated space. Our authenticated space, which is behind online banking. Our mobile app and all the mobile platforms with it and then our customer contact center.
We intentionally did all four measures because we wanted to make sure we were capturing the full gamut of the customers’ journey. We have some customers who, at this stage in their banking experience, would never think about using online banking — believe it or not. (For instance, they call our call center to check their balance.) We’re trying to make sure that we capture every piece [of the journey] to make sure we’re not spending too many resources on one segment of our customer base.
Can you talk about any specific results or outcomes that ForeSee/CX measurement helped your organization with?
Let me talk a little granularly about some of the results that we’ve got, literally out of the gate. A couple of days into looking at the data, I’m pulling up the system and getting comfortable with it when I noticed in our text analytics the word “scroll” is popping out. I can’t even imagine what “scroll” means [without context] and why it’s being talked about so much by our customers.
When I click [to investigate], I realized they’re complaining that we had adjusted our website, changing the size of our banner graphic too large. Depending on the desktop browser they were using, customers were having to actually scroll down to sign into their online banking accounts. Clearly, they were not happy about that. It was something that we could change within five minutes. Just an example of something very small that was easily fixed to improve satisfaction.
A second way [ForeSee has already helped] is with one of our promotions. We have a partnership with TurboTax where we offer discounted services during tax time through online banking. The branch feedback we were getting was that customers are not happy about getting pop ups [about the offer]. They don’t like the ad, which on the surface tells us to reduce the amount of times we’re showing it, or just to take the ad down.
What we found through ForeSee data is that most of the branch customers were not [annoyed] about the ad itself. Not it was, once again, that the ad was blocking their online banking login. Once we readjusted where that ad went, customers were much happier. We had a great enrollment opting into the Turbotax features, too.
Again, these are just initial, scratching of the surface types of things that we’re finding in the data so far.
How do you prove the business impacts of your VOC program to your executives?
At Union Bank and Trust, we luckily have an executive team that puts CX at the top. It’s one of our four pillars to have the best in class customer experience. With that being said, like any good executive team should, they want to see ROI on any sort of investment. We have what we call tangible and intangible benefits of partnering with ForeSee.
I’ll use our contact center for an example. We had some obvious things we knew upfront so we anticipated that we could replace our Q/A program, which was very manual, very labor intensive, with some of the ForeSee data. Just a couple of months in, we were able to replace the entire system — saving us thousands of dollars a month by using agent-level reporting that our analysts had set up for us. It’s been a benefit for the team, and a benefit financially.
Interesting. Were there additional revelations like this then?
Sure. Another piece is first call resolution. We knew that there would be reduction of calls over time. What we didn’t know was that we could measure such small nuances. When we kicked it off, we were having about 85% first call resolution. Based on some of the feedback of the calls (that we broke down by the ones that didn’t have first call resolution) with some of our tweaks, we’re now at a 92% in just seven months. We can mathematically show that, if there are fewer calls coming into the call center for second attempts, we’re saving time, money, and effort.
Then there are the pieces that we didn’t even expect to find. Abandon rate is important in the contact center. There’s debate about what is a good abandon rate. (Is it 2%, 4%, 5%, 6%, 7%?) What we found is that our customer satisfaction at 2%, 4%, 6%, was actually the same. We started seeing a drop off around the 7% to 8% mark — so it let us set our abandon rate goal more realistic at 6%. I was able to reduce the number of full-time employees that we added to the team.
Again, we are just starting to scratch the surface of some of our data, but I’ve been happy to report that our initial leap of faith on the ROI is coming true.