In the first part of this series, we discussed the importance of uniting the customer experience across touchpoints and building a cross-functional team to manage it. In part two of the series, we reviewed how financial institutions can learn valuable digital transformation lessons from others’ examples.

In this third and final part of the series, we will take a look at how in today’s digital environment, customer experience is a key differentiator, and the ways in which people have high expectations for how they will interact with businesses.

A key part of meeting these expectations is creating an omnichannel strategy for your customer experience.

Omnichannel customer experience is generally defined as offering consistent brand experiences across every channel, including both digital and physical. An exceptional omnichannel experience should have the following qualities:

  • Consistent branding/look and feel across every touchpoint
  • Unified customer data on the backend
  • Customer-centric products and services
  • Digital and physical touchpoints that work together
  • Personalization according to customer context, such as device, location and purchase history

When asked what the greatest barrier to achieving an omnichannel customer experience is, financial service leaders called out four key areas: Lack of back-end integration across systems; unclear or competing ownership of customer experience; too many channels and customer journeys to coordinate; and difficulty creating a single customer view across channels.

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To break through these barriers, try asking the following questions about banking omnichannel experience within your customer experience team.

Barrier #1: Lack of Back-End Integration Across Systems

Which systems hold our most important customer data? It’s easy to say, “Integrate your systems on the backend,” but it takes more time, effort and investment than those outside of the process may realize. One way to prioritize is to focus on integrating the systems that hold the most important customer data, in order to create a more complete view of how customers interact with your company. This will contribute to a better omnichannel experience by giving you accurate information to base CX decisions on, as well as a starting point for the time-consuming task of integrating systems.

Barrier #2: Unclear or Competing Ownership of Customer Experience with Conflicting Goals for the Customer

How does our customer measure a good experience? The problem with different business units competing for ownership of the customer experience is that they are still thinking about CX from their viewpoint, not the customer's. Try asking one of those customers who in your company owns them; they're probably going to say they aren't "owned" by anyone. Instead, have your team discuss what would make your customer's experience better, then identify the department that is most capable of delivering that part of the journey. These are the kinds of questions well-suited to a cross-functional digital team. Everyone needs to be asking customer experience questions together, but once actionable steps are identified, team members need to trust each other to accomplish their part of the work.

Barrier #3: Too Many Channels and Customer Journeys to Coordinate

Where can processes be automated? An article on Harvard Business Review identified automation as one of four key capabilities companies need to manage customer journeys. If your organization feels overwhelmed by the amount of channels and journeys you're managing, automating back-end processes can ease the burden without sacrificing the quality of customer experience. This also ensures consistency across channels, as long as you coordinate your automation to align with your omnichannel strategy.

Barrier #4: Difficulty Creating a Single Customer View Across Channels

What information do your employees need? This barrier is closely related to the first, and integrating back-end systems is a good step toward developing a single view of the customer across channels. However, the purpose of this single view is to give your company actionable insights into where your customers are in their journey and what they need or expect next. To help with this challenge, companies can focus on what information will be most helpful to employees and prioritize pulling that into a common dashboard, hopefully supported by live data. This should help identify where gaps exist between channels and ease the transitions between them.

Final Takeaway

These are just starting points concerning how to create an omnichannel experience. Digital transformation is extensive and organizational culture change requires experimentation before companies can figure out what solutions are best suited to their unique situations. A final piece of advice may help stitch it all together: Manage customer journeys as you would any other product. Regardless of channel, customers judge their experiences based on what they get, versus what they were expecting to get from each interaction. Given this, companies should stay focused on the journey as a product, and view omnichannel experience as one of the essential components that keeps that product together and working the way it should.

Assessing the Digital Landscape for Financial Institutions: How to Lead the Charge With People and Technology

This is the final post of our three-part series, based on insights found in the benchmark report Assessing the Digital Landscape for Financial Institutions: How to Lead the Charge With People and Technology. It’s an exciting time for leaders in digital strategy at financial institutions to drive real change in enacting deeper, more personal customer experiences. Our findings revealed new insights on the current state of digital transformation and the role of technology in the process for financial institutions today.

Download the Full Report  

Read the 2016 Magic Quadrant report to learn how to quickly build exceptional omnichannel experiences that set your brand apart in today's age of digital business.

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