Optimize your customer experience in 4 steps

In today’s fiercely competitive financial marketplace, you need an edge that puts your customers’ experience at the center of everything you do. However, in a 2019 survey commissioned by Total Expert, we found that only 35% of banking respondents say they have defined customer journeys based on segmentation and/ or personas.

Here are four steps that can help you optimize your customer journey. When done right, this process can be completed from start to finish in only six to 12 months.

Step 1: Select a customer journey to audit

Begin with a fundamental audit of a customer journey within a key business line. Start small and choose one or two high-value journeys to begin.

Use the audit to map the path a customer goes through to achieve a goal with your financial institution. The best way to visualize this experience is to create a diagram of the process that includes information such as key events and customer motivations. Where are people falling out of the journey? How is the follow-up process to each step executed? By spending time mapping this out, you can better understand key customer touchpoints and where you can improve the customer experience. This will lead to a more humanized customer interaction with your bank.

Step 2: Map and develop strategies

There are many ways to tackle this mapping strategy, from Excel spreadsheets to Post-It notes. Regardless of your methodology, what’s important is that you document every step of the process. And make sure you don’t do it alone—bring in key stakeholders involved in the customer experience process to participate in the mapping exercise.

Here are several things to consider when creating your journey map:

» Determine the primary goal. What is the desired action of your customer?

» List all touchpoints, including every step in the process for completing the journey.

» Identify resources you have and resources you need, and assess whether you need a technology solution.

» Test the customer journey yourself.

» Make adjustments to optimize the journey.

Breaking down the journey step-by-step will help you identify gaps and opportunities. For example, are you sending out credit card promotions to your highly active debit card users? If not, that’s a gap.

Now it’s time to fill these gaps and capitalize on the opportunities through targeted marketing tactics.

Step 3: Build and deploy an updated journey

With gaps and opportunities identified, it’s time to make the necessary adjustments to optimize the journey.

Consider the example in step 2. You could fix this gap by adding the following to your journey: relevant emails with an invitation to apply for a credit card, targeted in-app credit card offers or direct mail with enticing offers, to name a few.

While solving for your gaps, lean on your knowledge of customer behaviors, pain points and the tools available that utilize customer data. Doing this provides the best chance at success.

To see results in your new journey, keep these points in mind:

» Capture data to measure the before and after. This can include customer satisfaction surveys, waiting time, number of calls, leads generated, etc.

» Inform employees impacted so they can be prepared for increased interactions.

» Launch during a quiet time—we see more success with launches in the second or third weeks of the month.

» Plan for the unexpected and be prepared to adjust as needed.

» Launch your journey.

Step 4: Monitor and adjust journey

Now that your optimized journey has launched, your job is just getting started. In order to ensure success with this journey and all others, you must continuously collect data, gather insights and make enhancements to the experience.

Having visibility into the customer journey will help you:

» Offer a more humanized customer experience.

» Match your products and services to customer wants and needs.

» Anticipate your customers’ next steps.

» Increase sales conversions by maximizing growth and productivity.

Your documented journey map will be a vital tool in allowing you to adapt to an ever-changing financial environment and gives you a competitive advantage. You can ensure that your customers’ needs and pain points are always addressed if you consistently review and adjust to account for changes in the marketplace and customer needs.

Now that you’ve had success in rolling out one or two updated customer journeys, it’s time to tackle more. The key to optimization at scale is taking the time to audit every customer journey, identify gaps and make adjustments that will help drive success.

Set yourself apart from your competition by taking the time to invest in the customer experience. By carefully planning and documenting every journey, your customers will take notice of their experiences with your bank. Over time, they will value you as their trusted financial partner for life.

Peggy McGillis is senior vice president of marketing for Total Expert, a fintech software company based in St. Louis Park, Minn.

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