Why customer experience is more relevant today than ever

Carolyn Muise, SVP for Customer Operations at NCR, discusses why financial institutions need to make Customer Experience (CX) an integral part of their day-to-day.

Published July 13, 2022

CX provides competitive advantage and is a business imperative, especially now, as the pandemic has accelerated many transformation trends leaving financial institutions (FIs) challenged to find new and alternative ways to connect with customers. Industry research shows the most successful companies use CX as a key differentiator in creating a competitive advantage and consequently grow significantly faster than the market – so getting it right is paramount.

Customer demands continue to evolve and today they expect their needs to be met fast, digitally and personally. That’s driving FIs to partner with companies that provide on-demand, immediate service and support to meet the shifting demands of consumers.

As a result, FIs are moving away from the traditional model and embracing a much more relationship driven focus. The traditional brick and mortar experience of the banking industry has evolved to mobile choice anywhere through a variety of channels. Customers have shifted their transactions away from branch lobbies to mobile channels and now expect seamless experiences, convenience, choice and financial wellness. 

What makes for a successful CX program?

CX requires companywide commitment to consistently exceed consumers’ expectations focused on quality, service innovation and interaction. A successful CX program consists of three key focus areas:

1. A mindset

Every connection and every employee can impact customer experience. FIs must develop and nurture their people to ensure everyone is customer-focused with both internal and external customers.

2. A strategy

You must treat every customer like they are your only customer and treat your employees as you want them to treat your customers. Industry research states 75% of companies with strong employee engagement deliver an above average customer experience.

3. Corporate discipline

To be successful, you must have a clear understanding of the company objectives and how they align to your customers’ needs and focus on delivering exceptional experience across every touchpoint of the customer journey.

Related: How to keep your banking user experience competitive

"Customer experience and service is not a department, it’s a philosophy and mindset to be embraced by every employee across the company."

Beware of the pitfalls

A fundamental misunderstanding of CX is believing that reactive customer service, support, or even just being nice to customers, will create customer loyalty and growth. CX is much more than that. It’s more than one area, a product, a service or a person. Customer experience success requires everyone in an organization to understand what CX success means, what expectations customers have and how best to deliver on them.

And don’t underestimate the impact of getting it wrong: 66% of consumers who switch brands do so because of poor customer experience and 95% of dissatisfied customers tell others about their negative experience. Poor customer experience will have significant impact on bottom line results. 

Some of the common failures with a CX program are:

1. Data overload

FIs, like many organizations, have so much data but don’t utilize it to define actionable insights. These insights should be used to create initiatives to drive change aligned with customer feedback which will deliver positive business outcomes relevant to the corporate strategy.

2. Inability to effect change

Companies that are most successful at CX indicate that responsibility starts at the top and ownership resides across all business functions. This approach will ensure you get all the buy-in and support you need from stakeholders across the company.

Every employee in every role has an opportunity to deliver positive experiences to their customers.

3. Utilizing incorrect metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs)

Reporting the right metrics to your C-suite and executive team is essential to your CX program’s success. It is critical to communicate the value of your CX programs and demonstrate the measurable impact these initiatives have on customer loyalty, growth and the business. 

The future of CX

As CX evolves, it’s imperative to place the customer at the center of your business model. When a company is easier to do business with than the competition, when you provide convenience, you will disrupt the competition and create loyal customers. Ultimately this creates win-win-win outcomes for your customers and you. 

To be successful today and in the future FIs must:
  •  Create a customer-centric experience that surrounds their product, services and processes
  •  Develop and nurture a culture that places high value on their customers’ success
  •  Design products and services that meet customers’ current and future requirements
  •  Serve their customers where and when they need them via online, mobile, and other channels
  •  Proactively listen to customers to deliver new mobile and digital solutions in real time that add value and deepen engagement
  •  Implement customer-focused processes that promote the ease of doing business
  •  Know customers intimately and personalize the experience E2E from prospect, onboarding, lifecycle through support
  • Go above and beyond to support customers even at the expense of short-term gain 

"Industry research states that 86% of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience."

At the end of the day, happy customers buy more products and promote your brand to their colleagues and peers. So, in 2022 and beyond, FIs must focus on their customers’ interests and expectations to demonstrate the value they can deliver to their members. enhance the end-to-end financial services customer experience and ensure that every employee is onboard and focused on putting the customer first.

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