White Paper: Customer Experience Optimization For The Financial Services Industry
IR Kn OwlE dgE S ERIES August 2009Customer ExperienceManagement and theFinancial Services ProviderA Blueprint for Online &Multi-Channel EngagementIn today’s highly commoditized financial servicesindustry, there is no margin for error when itcomes to attracting and retaining high-valuecustomers. Firms must now offer more channelsof communication, more customer options, andfaster responses than ever before.
Customer Experience Management 1and the Financial Services ProviderA Blueprint for Online & Multi-Channel EngagementThis knowledge paper examines and exploresthe key elements that will allow financialservices providers of all types to continue Consumers of all ages areto evolve their approach to addressing thequestions and concerns of their unique continuing to use the web ascustomer base. Perhaps now more than ever, one their primary conduit to banking,of the best ways to differentiate your institution inthe financial services industry is through exceptional credit card, insurance, brokeragecustomer service, beginning with your contact centerand web properties, and extending out to include and virtually every other type ofassisted channels, mobile and new media as part financial service.of a next generation, multi-channel approach tomanaging the customer experience.Whether the journey begins on a smartphone, The power of the web has also extended its reachvia a new social media channel, directly on your to include mobile technology that allows financialcorporate web site, or via a direct call to your services customers to engage with their providerscontact center, best practices demand speed, wherever and whenever they choose. Accordingconsistency and a truly uniformed approach to to ForSee Results and Forbes.com, 27% of onlinemanaging customer interaction. investors with mobile phones use them to access investment web sites.iiiThe Web as the Lynchpin of a Multi-ChannelCustomer Experience For most if not all financial services institutions,To say that the web has become an important tool increasing customer satisfaction online is just goodfor customer interaction would be more than just business. Not only do such solutions and strategiesa “minor” understatement. The financial services promote a seamless, multi-channel experience forindustry is facing a veritable explosion in the the customer, they also provide the institution withnumber of online customer service interactions the ability to improve both overall loyalty andover the coming years. Due to the increased bottom line savings by moving customers to theconvenience, independence, speed and value of most cost effective service channel.the Internet, consumers of all ages are continuingto use the web as their primary conduit to banking, The web sites of financial service firms of all typescredit card, insurance, brokerage and virtually every have a fairly large impact on the overall successother type of financial service. of the entire firm. Investment firms for example, typically find that their customers use the web moreIn fact, Forrester Research predicts that 92 million, or than perhaps any other channel, so it’s critical76% of all U.S. households are expected to engaged that the experience be productive and in line within financial service interactions online by 2011.i And expectations. Even credit card providers, who arethis move online is no longer unique to the younger typically seen as a commodity solution, can andgeneration. According to recent research from should strive to differentiate themselves on serviceHSBC, while 62% of people ages 21 to 34 conduct that, more often than not, involves the web at somethe majority of their banking online, approximately point during any sales or service engagement.40% of Americans ages 45 to 69 are now doing mostor all of their banking online as well.ii Satisfied online customers are more profitable, more loyal, and more likely to engage in positive word of mouth, and if they increase their use of the web site for informational and transactional service, cost savings increase through the value of right-channeling.
Customer Experience Management 2and the Financial Services ProviderA Blueprint for Online & Multi-Channel EngagementWith Opportunity comes Challenge: Online, the Status Quothe Multi-Channel RealityThe picture is not all rosy however. As more and does not Sufficemore transactions, sales and service interactions inthe financial services industry continue to involve Damaging Effects of POOR SITE DESIGNon the Web, your firm’s opportunity to influence Although the online growth trends for financialcustomer perceptions about brand, net promoter services firms continue to trend upward, and multi-score, loyalty and advocacy increasingly begins online. channel customer experience has taken on a newThe new reality now demands that organizations meaning in recent years, many web sites are notof all types provide rapid, concise information to designed with a clear customer focused approachcustomers across a variety of self-service and assisted and as a result struggle with navigational elements,channels, and this can be a daunting mandate. layout, content that reads as collateral, site depth and complexity, static FAQ’s, and the ubiquitousThe financial services industry has been widely site search that returns numerous links. In addition,recognized as a leader in customer experience many firms offer a ‘disjointed’ customer experiencemanagement for good reason, with retail banks across assisted and self-serve channels, within particular being lauded as pioneers in creating information flow in the contact center often lackingnew and innovative ways to manage the customer continuity to web interaction.experience in the emerging multi-channelenvironment. Much of this progress has been built A recent Jupiter Consulting survey revealed that 54%on gaining insight into customer value and then of consumers visiting a web site came looking forleveraging this information by tapping in to the product and/or service information, 45% came tounique insights that are sometimes only available do an online bank transaction and 23% neededvia online interactions. contact information.iv Once on the site, a third of customers had a difficult time finding the information they were looking Many financial service providers for, and the top three reasons that customers leave sites early are directly linked to poor site design and are not able to provide a truly service flaws (see Figure 1 next page). consistent experience across Site Search and FAQ’s Prove Inadequate multiple channels during any Most corporate search platforms often do little to given inquiry process. help the situation. Approximately 63% of consumers continue to be frustrated with web site search because it cannot understand the real question and 57% believe search results are not related to theirThat said, many financial services web sites are not specific topic of interest.v As most of us know fromdesigned using a customer centric process and as experience, web site users who utilize search oftena consequence users cannot find relevant content have to hunt and peck through large numbers ofand information quickly. In addition, many financial possible links to find answers buried somewhere inservices providers are not able to provide a truly the detailed content of search results.consistent experience across multiple channelsduring any given inquiry process. For example, Static FAQ systems, the other pervasive alternative,providing customers with the ability to seamlessly only deal with a subset of questions and requiretransition between online and offline (self-service visitors to “find a question”. Many self-serviceand assisted channels) is often non-existent for solutions today lack relevance, speed and accuracy.many financial services firms. The resulting Research indicates that approximately 47% offrustration causes consumers to either leave and go customers are looking for a faster navigation pathto a competitor’s web site or re-connect in a more and 33% want a tool to provide a single accurateexpensive channel – such as email, phone or to a response or advanced FAQ (see Figure 2 next page).branch for example.
Customer Experience Management 3and the Financial Services ProviderA Blueprint for Online & Multi-Channel Engagement Figure 1 Site Visitor Frustration Can Lead to Devastating Results: Lost Sales and/or Tarnished Brands leave the website and go to a competitive website 45% Be less likely to visit the site again 45% Be less likely to buy from them online 40% leave the website and give up 24% Contact customer service via e-mail 24% Site visitors are more likely to opt for Have a more negative overall perception of the company 21% an alternative site Contact customer service via phone phone regarding my experience 18% than both to contact Be less likely to buy from them offline 18% customer service. Tell others about my negative experience 16% I have never been dissatisfied 4%Question: If you find yourself dissatisfied with your ability to find the 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%necessary information you sought when first arriving on a website or aspecific product/service page, which of the following are you likely to do? Percentage of Site Visitors(Select all that apply) Select responses shown. Figure 2 Effective Navigation Tools Resonate with Site Visitors Ability to easily navigate from home page and find what I seek 47% The ability to send an e-mail to customer service 36% Frequently Aked Questions (FAQ) web page 33% Question box that enables you to enter a question and get a single, accurate answer 33% Search tool that offers a list of search results 30% Text-based online chat 13% Call back option, where I enter my information 47% of customers are and phone number and customer service calls me back 13% looking for a faster navigation path A link to information About US that is easily found 12% and 33% want a tool none of these would be helpful 8% to provide a single The ability to make a phone call to the company via my PC, cllicking a accurate response or button and talking through my computer’s microphone (VoIP) 5% advanced FAQ. Other 2% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Percentage of Site Visitors
Customer Experience Management 4and the Financial Services ProviderA Blueprint for Online & Multi-Channel EngagementFinancial Services Customers are Goal Oriented 3. ASK: Relates to customers seeking assistance toCustomers come to interact with financial services correct or rectify a customer service problem – oftenweb sites and service agents armed with a goal caused by a failure to meet customer needs andin mind, and usually they have a specific context expectations in the DO and BUY categories.associated to their visit or inquiry. We can group these Example: ASK (Goal Oriented) - a customer haskey objectives into three major categories: DO, BUY a dispute with the timing of a bill paymentor ASK. The definition and an example of each of made online. A customer may have thethese three categories are as follows: following ways of asking the same question: • Can I report a bill payment problem online?1. DO: Involves the desire to perform a task that leads • How do I report a bill payment issue?to the customer engaging in an assisted or self-service • How do I correct a billing error?transaction online or started online and concluded in • What action should I take to correct a another channel. payment problem online? Example: DO (Goal Oriented) – when a customer wants to transfer funds from a savings account The DO, BUY and ASK goal categories help us to a 401K. During this process a customer may understand that there is a solid link between have a simple question which can be phrased in customer intention and customer action, numerous different ways: often in the form of a question or search for information. More importantly we learn • What is the maximum amount of money that while there is often only one common I can transfer to my 401K? destination or piece of information that will • How much money can I move to a 401K? allow customers to achieve their goal, they • What are the 401K limitations? often travel down a number of disparate • How do I transfer funds to my retirement paths to get there. account and what is the ceiling?2. BUY: Involves any task related to the intendedand/or final purchase of a product or service – thismay start and conclude online or in anotherchannel, and often requires multiple channels tocomplete the process. Example: BUY (Goal Oriented) – when a customer wants to acquire a new Visa travel rewards card. During this process the customer may have a question which can be stated in many ways, for example: • How do I apply? • Can I apply online for a Visa card? • What do I need to apply for a reward card? • Where can I apply for a Visa travel card?
Customer Experience Management 5and the Financial Services ProviderA Blueprint for Online & Multi-Channel EngagementThe ExpandingInteraction EcosystemAssisted and Self-Service Figure 3There is a lot of confusion surrounding the key Customer Interaction Ecosystemchannels and interaction points that can mosteffectively influence the customer experience. Self-Service Assisted ServiceFor many financial services firms, both the weband the contact center must now deploy a variety Internet Contact Centerof strategies and technologies in order to service • Search • Agentstheir multi-channel customer base. Defining the • Contact Us / Ask Us • Emailkey elements of an effective customer interaction • FAQ • Click-to-chat • Virtual Assistant • Click-to-talkecosystem will help bring some clarity to the situation. • Instant Answers Cross • Collaborative browsing • Help Channel • Lead GenerationMost customer interaction platforms (see Figure 3) • Web Content • Call Center Platformrequire the capability to manage customer queries • Databases • Enterprise Platform • Secure site • CRM Platformacross two primary sub-categories: • Applications, Tools • Virtual Assistant and Calculators • Instant Answers1. Assisted Service – Assisted-service provides orenables human interaction with customers via phoneor face-to-face interaction as well as the Internet (email, Intranetchat or click-to-call). This type of service is generally • Searchbest suited to the sort of complex, multi-faceted • Ask Usinteraction that can best be executed by trained • FAQ • Virtual Assistant Supportcustomer interaction personnel. • Instant Answers • Help2. Self-Service – Self-service solutions offer • Contentsupport via electronic means and allow customers • Databasesto access information quickly, or perform simpletransactions, often over the Internet. Self-servicesolutions can include status quo offerings such as sitesearch or FAQ’s, or next generation solutions suchas virtual assistants or instant answer agents.Part of the role of self-service is to transition qualifiedsales and service leads to the most appropriateassisted-service channels. It is worth noting thatemployees and call center agents also have self-serviceneeds that functions within the contact center,branch platforms or Intranet.
Customer Experience Management 6and the Financial Services ProviderA Blueprint for Online & Multi-Channel EngagementThe Right Channel –The Right TimeCustomers want the option to be able to transition The Road toward Next Generation Customereasily from self-service to human assistance (via Experience Capabilitiesemail, click-to-chat and click-to-call, etc.) to get help Today’s leading financial services firms should deployand advice for more complex products, services both the technology and the customer engagementand transactions. Ideally, this should and can be processes to allow them to:accomplished in a single session with no loss of • Identify the customer goalcontext or information. For a financial services Actively and intelligently determine thefirm, the goal is seamless cross-channel information customer goal by engaging them onlinedelivery. For the firm’s customers, this translates into (increasingly regarded as the seminal first pointa positive customer experience. of customer interaction) • Equip the customer with access to quick, consistent information A positive cross-channel Provide customers with an effective solution so experience can substantially that they may self-serve increase First Contact • Connect the customer to service channels Resolution rates Provide a natural and consistent cross-channel escalation at the correct point in time relative to the product or service complexityA positive cross-channel experience increases • Provide consistent answersthe ability to achieve first contact resolution. Offer consistent information and overallUnderstanding early stage web activity, customer experience throughout the interaction, acrossqueries or online information requests can allow multiple touch-points and interaction platforms,firms to segment customers and move those including emerging channels such as mobileidentified as key prospective customers quickly to a text messaging and new social media channelsseamless cross-channel experience to complete the such as Twitter and Facebooksales or service interaction that much quicker.Most financial services firms are nothing if not multi-channel businesses, and as such they must addresstheir customers’ needs as they progress through theirjourney towards achieving their goals. Best practicesdemand that organizations be equipped to managethe customer experience via the preferred channelof the customer – whether it’s online via self-service,online via assisted service, or offline through a phoneor in person.For some financial services firms, this process canbe hindered by silos of informational hierarchies –with marketing owning the web site, contact centerowning many of the customer interactions and withneither communicating effectively with the other. Or,silos may exist with technology systems – each grouphas all the information but getting the informationout to the customer is the roadblock.