By Tim Sennitt | 8 Months ago

Customer Experience: why you’re struggling and what you can do

  • Customer Experience

It goes without saying that Customer Experience (CX) should be a vital priority for any bank or wealth management firm.

Why, then, do so many providers get in to such a mess?

One major challenge is that good CX invariably requires systemic change – notoriously difficult in an industry beset by complex legacy issues, technological challenges and (let’s be honest), an accumulation of bad habits.

As McKinsey maintain, “To improve customer experience, move from touch-points to journeys”(1).

But the harsh reality is this: for many businesses, giving each client touch-point the consideration it needs is a challenge in itself.

Cutting corners with CX is not an option for businesses looking to thrive. One answer is to follow the practical steps below, which can help companies map and prepare the ground for truly effective CX.

The Five Foundations of a great Customer Experience

Without these foundations, financial providers may struggle to bring about the changes in attitude and best practice that drive positive change. Those who embrace them enjoy a common approach to understanding how customers see them, and to providing a better experience.

The foundations encourage a break from the ‘silo habit’, where businesses accommodate clients according to the dictates of their own structure, rather than by what clients want and need.

The Foundations

Prove your relevance to clients

In a sector where clients have on average four different providers (2), demonstrating true market relevance is a challenge for large and small brands alike.

Priority focus:

  • Leverage customer insight to understand what makes you relevant within your market
  • Look to disrupt, and to provide something new
  • Demonstrate motivating attributes like agility, clarity of thought, and speed to market
  • Larger brands: show specific relevance by ‘dialling up’ key attributes and values that match local demand. Dial down those that are less relevant or too top-level
  • Smaller brands: set yourself apart by challenging traditional ways of responding to customer and market insight

Drive NPS from within

Internal branding plays a vital role in demonstrating how your brand should talk and act. Get it right and positive client experiences (and Net Promoter Scores) should follow.

Priority focus:

  • Make sure your brand experience is fully brought to life internally
  • Give your people a clear idea of how everything they do affects the client experience
  • Think long-term, to deepen your people’s affinity and understanding over time
  • Develop bespoke, ongoing programmes to drive engagement and advocacy
  • Be imaginative with internal communications. Don’t just re-state your brand values, show them in action

Digital makes ALL relationships better

Let’s be clear: a ‘digital first’ approach will enhance, not hinder your relationship-based service model. That’s as true in wealth management as it is in retail banking.

Priority focus:

  • Think in terms of user mindset, not client age or the perceived nature of your existing service relationships. User mindset is independent of both
  • Be responsive to the fact that clients now expect online, mobile and app-based tools as a matter of course
  • Harness the potential of digital technology internally, with sales apps for Relationship Managers, leadership skills apps and content sharing hub
  • Explore the possibilities offered by the Open Banking Standard (which leverages data sharing technology) to enhance your clients’ experience

Be part of behavioural change

Your clients are digital natives. That’s how they live, communicate and make purchase decisions. In fact, they routinely check out individual wealth managers online before starting a relationship.

Half of High Net Worth Millennials read social media posts by prospective wealth advisors and one third check-out their online profiles (3).

Priority focus:

  • Make sure your people are Social Media savvy
  • Give advisors and executives tools to develop their social and industry presence
  • Find a partner organisation to manage publication of fully compliant social content from within your business
  • Consider allowing prospects to choose their Relationship Manager

‘Always On’ – More digital channels, lower budgets

How to square the proliferation of digital marketing channels with a market that’s reducing media and ad spend? It’s a quandary that’s particularly acute at regional and local level.

Priority focus:

  • To achieve the right channel mix, always acknowledge that wealth management is relationship-based, not purely sales-based
  • Resist the lure of short-lived media campaigns that peak early and quickly fall away
  • Develop techniques to understand both clients and prospects, and identify all touchpoints and channels (time x place x location x emotion)
  • Interrogate how needs can be met throughout the entire customer journey
  • Continually test and adapt all content, whilst making it available through third-party channels including LinkedIn, YouTube and even Facebook

Just start by doing something

The Five Foundations are flexible and can be tackled in any order, either individually or holistically, according to the needs of a particular firm. They support the other work you’re doing with your existing business partners, agencies or suppliers. They don’t reinvent the wheel. They’re not a system or a platform.

They might just be the start you need.