How Banks Can Close The Customer Experience Gap

Karen McDermott

In a recent blog, I wrote about the impact of evolving technologies on employees and the need for banks to adapt to these changes. Yet the employee experience is only half of the picture. When thinking about the effects of digitalization on the business, financial services firms also must consider the customer experience.

That sounds obvious. But even financial services leaders who prioritize the customer experience are often surprised to find they don’t really know how their clients feel about doing business with them. We call this surprise the “experience gap.”

Closing the experience gap is essential for firms that want to attract and retain clients. To do so, you need to collect the right experience data (X-data) that can help you understand the beliefs, emotions, and sentiments of your clients. By combining X-data with your existing operational data (O-data) – such as information about sales, finance, and transactions – you can create a holistic view of the client experience.

Fusing X-data and O-data can help you understand the client experience, gaining accurate, near-real-time insight into how customers really feel. When you identify client experiences that are not as good as intended, you can take action. Those actions can close the experience gap, thereby improving business performance.

There are five key strategic priorities financial services firms must take to close the experience gap and develop a mature, productive experience-management strategy.

1. Deepen client relationships by delivering a superior banking experience

By understanding real-time social sentiments from clients and their implications and determining how to best anticipate and respond to these experiences, banks can better shape end-to-end client satisfaction. Merging X-data with O-data will help you identify gaps between client expectations and the experience delivered, so you can quickly make adjustments that enhance satisfaction.

2. Optimize revenue streams with data-driven intelligence

X-data offers insight into the product features and services clients care about. It can also help you understand why clients decide to leave your firm or do business with other firms. By refining and adjusting offerings based on the voice of the client, you can maximize your existing revenue streams and introduce new products that clients desire. You can also spot at-risk clients, intervening when necessary to remediate negative experiences.

3. Enhance operational effectiveness

With the right X-data, banks can better understand client preferences such as banking locations and how they want to be served. You can use this insight to invest in the right resources and capabilities – helping you engage with clients on their preferred platforms and channels. Automated tools can help you improve employee efficiency, making workers more available to address client needs.

4. Create real-time financial insight and risk control

Understanding clients’ behavior, propensity to engage, and loyalty drivers are possible when you collect and analyze X-data. Predictive analytics combined with X-data and O-data can help you reduce costs by enabling a more comprehensive view that helps you reduce fraud exposure. Improved risk detection, management, and mitigation can help you elevate the risk culture in your institution.

5. Acquire and retain an engaged workforce

As your primary brand ambassadors, employees are critical to creating great client experiences. X-data can help you correlate employee experiences with client experiences. It can also provide insight into how key beliefs, attitudes, and pain points may influence desired employee behaviors and associated business outcomes. When you combine employee X-data with your O-data, you’ll have the information you need to recognize top-performing employees, identify and coach poor-performing associates, and address the root causes of dissatisfaction.

Well-executed experience management strategies may not seem revolutionary, but they do deliver impressive results. “We are using data and technology to transform how we interact with clients,” says Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., in the company’s 2018 Annual Report. “By integrating our human expertise with distinctive digital offerings . . . we have been able to attract new clients, 89% of whom are first-time investors with Chase.”

Karen McDermott

About Karen McDermott

Karen McDermott is Global Head of Financial Services Industries Marketing and Communications at SAP, responsible for driving the growth of SAP's value proposition as a technology provider, trusted business partner, and thought leader for the financial services industry.