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Winning the Customer Experience

March 16, 2015

Sometime in the last several years the term “customer experience” has been reduced to a simple subset of what it should mean. “Customer experience” can take on different meanings depending on the context of the conversation. If you are speaking to an organization in charge of the online or digital experience, it typically refers to design of the user interface across multiple online channels. Design, and particularly good design is a critical element of a positive user experience. But that is only the beginning. The customer experience is so much more.

The Customer Experience Defined

In this Forbes article, the author defines the customer experience is the cumulative impact of multiple touchpoints over time, which result in a real relationship feeling, or lack of it.

Alternatively, Gartner defines customer experience management as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”

In this Forrester blog post, customer experience is defined as “How customers perceive their interactions with your company.”

We believe it is about understanding your customers so completely that you can create and deliver personalized experiences – through every channel - that will inspire them to buy your products, entice them to remain loyal to you, and eventually evangelize your brand to others. The customer journey is an integrated, enduring experience that needs to evolve at every touchpoint as the customer interacts with your brand – at the branch, on their mobile device, on your website and customer service.

End-to-End Buying Experience

Retail banks need to focus on the entire end-to-end buying experience and create a closed-loop process that is repeatable and measurable. The process includes;

  • a marketing message that resonates,
  • digital design that engages audiences that is seamless and intuitive
  • strategic merchandising (presenting the right product to the right person at the right time)
  • a  repeatable account opening process,
  • a follow-up communication including messaging that helps convert the prospect into a customer.

Implementing a piece of the process such as a new digital user interface or a new marketing message without considering the rest of the end-to-end buying experience will prove to be less effective or even ineffective. Each step needs to be taken into consideration to truly understand and address the needs of the customer. For example, if you implement a new marketing message without considering how that message is conveyed in the design of the digital user interface then both aspects of the buying process may end up being ineffective.

Measurement Makes the Difference

Each step of customer engagement needs to be measured for its effectiveness by identifying what’s working and what’s not. Analytics help management prioritize and focus on what they need to do to advance and open more accounts. It helps them replicate winning activities at each stage and identify when buyer needs change so that the bank can continually meet the needs of their customers.

Implementing a sales process or even pieces of the sales process without analytics measuring the effectiveness of sales execution will not help retail banks be competitive. You will never truly understand what is working and what is not.

We will continue in this series of blogs to address each element in this process.

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