“Eighty percent of CEOs believe they offer a superior customer experience; only 8 percent of their customers agree.” — Tim Suther, Vice President, Global Multichannel Marketing Services, Acxiom

As the competition for customers continues to heat up, every bank wants an advantage that helps them not only win new customers, but retain existing ones. A formal customer experience (CX) program is a great way to do that.

What is CX? In its simplest form, customer experience is defined as the interactions a customer has with a company and its products. In other words, it is your customers’ perceptions of their relationship with your brand, which determine how they interact with your company throughout their life cycle at your bank.

Why does CX matter? The benefits of focusing on CX are many. A solid program can foster brand loyalty, increase profitability, provide enhanced value to the customer, retain more customers, result in higher product utilization per customer and create raving fans. If that isn’t enough, consider these statistics from Foresee. Their research indicates that customers of financial institutions who have a great customer experience are:

  • 76% more likely to buy additional services
  • 63% more likely to continue their relationship with the bank
  • 86% more likely to recommend the bank
  • 58% more likely to trust the bank.

How do you approach CX? A CX program is a systematic approach to discover and improve areas where customers interact with your bank. How a company approaches CX may vary, but there are key tools such as customer personas and journey maps that set the foundation.

  • Customer personas are fictional personalities you develop to represent your target customers. They go deeper than generalized customer segments by having individual names and stories that reflect personal attributes and behavioral characteristics such as needs, motivations, attitudes and pain points.
  • A customer journey map is a visual representation of all the experiences your customers have with you. Journey mapping allows you to understand how the customer moves through your bank at all touchpoints, whether in branch or online. This allows you to look for gaps or service opportunities that may result in improved experiences.

Both help provide an in-depth understanding of who your customers are, what they need and how they interact with your company. But more importantly, they allow you to share customer insights across the organization and help teams take targeted action to improve the customer experience.

However you choose to start, remember that a CX program is multifaceted and will vary from bank to bank. We recently launched ours at Investors and will soon be developing personas and mapping our customers’ journeys. Led by marketing, the team is also charged with managing our bi-annual customer survey; which includes digging deeper into actionable insights and benchmarking our Net Promoter Score.

Our cross-functional team is also tackling some “low hanging fruit” we feel are quick wins that will enhance the customer experience, such as creating standardized communication expectations for employees and discussing banking innovations to ensure we stay on top of trends.

We know it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and we have made a long-term commitment to CX because we believe it will be the differentiator for current and future customers.

Make the customer experience your top priority for 2018!

Wiegert is SVP Marketing at Investors Community Bank and a member of the 2017-208 WBA Marketing Committee.