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June 8, 2018

Taking Away the Emotion: Customer Journey as the Great Leveler

"Break your plan down into bite size chunks"

By Umar Hassan

You’ve got bosses. Your bosses have bosses…. And every one of them believes they are the centre of the financial services universe. So how do you make transformative decisions? How do you challenge those with the loudest voice or the biggest stick?

One sure way is by removing the emotion. Present something foolproof and unarguable. Something that is dictated by the customer journey and data. And we all know; the customer is ALWAYS right…

The customer journey is crucial to business success – especially in the world of financial services. When understood correctly, it can define value propositions and business direction. Yet less than a quarter of retail banks have told us they have incorporate consumer data on a regular basis to assess and improve the performance of their customer experience strategies! What’s more, making decisions on transforming even individual elements of a journey will mean addressing all kinds of technology, regulatory and culture challenges.

Without the insistent voice of the customer, it will be difficult to get consensus let alone effective change.

The Great Leveller

Transforming elements of an end to end customer journey can be a mammoth task and complex, multiple pathways certainly shouldn’t be changed at the same time. Just take a moment to consider the number of potential journeys your customer can take and then layer on how they impact one-another; there are huge complexities for what may appear a simple task on the surface. Yet your boss knows there is valuable data to leveraged, so where do you start?

First thing’s first: You need to pool data from all of the touchpoints and information nodes throughout the customer’s journey. From this you’ll be able to build a comprehensive model of the entire process which will allow some prioritisation and focus the decision making ahead. You’ll be able to identify the exact point(s) offering the most potential return on investment, expressed in savings from efficiency and perhaps uplifts in (and additional) revenue streams. This is extremely powerful. It allows you to turn even negative (or those that are often perceived as negative) elements of the journey, such as a complaints system or help facility, into valuable data assets that you can use to genuinely improve customer experience.

Not only can you pinpoint where your customers are dropping off in their journey – e.g. at your call centre, chatbot or quotes page – but you’re also able to measure the impact your improvements are having on the entire journey very quickly and adapt your transformation strategy accordingly.

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Baby steps…

The key is to start off slowly. Identify what gives you the most benefit and begin there – change the first 20% and then reap 50% of the benefits. The model essentially makes the decision for you. Businesses and decision makers, quite understandably, react in an emotional way to the opportunities afforded data, and this method allows you to have a clinical discussion based on numbers. And it’s worth it too. 77% of consumers are willing to increase spending with companies for a better customer experience, and 82% have reported actually reducing their spending due to bad customer experiences.

Yes, you will still need to ask yourself, “Can we actually make this work? Will we still be compliant? Is the customer still getting what they need?” once you’ve made your decision and are drafting your strategy, but the tricky bit, the stakeholder negotiation and sell in, is at least dealt with and most important the customer voice is central – customer centricity is the key.

The financial services industry knows it needs to change the way it talks to customers, but don’t rush into action before you understand what they really need. Maybe when you empathise you can even anticipate the next step ahead of the competition.

Have an overarching plan for your organisation’s response to the customer journey. Then break it down into bite size chunks that you can deliver on across your organisation.

You’ve got the data, you’ve removed the emotion, now prioritise action and drive transformation.

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