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Financial Services Operations

How Your Team Can Improve the Customer Experience

As more and more customers bank digitally, it means that back office staff, who run the systems behind the digital channels, will have far more of an impact on the customer experience their bank provides

As more and more of us do our banking via the internet, customer interactions with a retail bank’s front line staff are decreasing. Especially as when customers use self-service options they interact directly with a firm’s information systems to submit requests online and download things like their transaction history from the website.

In this environment, back-office operations staff, rather than frontline representatives, now play a pivotal role in defining the customer experience. However, operations teams often fail to understand and respond to the emotional aspects of customers’ interactions with their financial services provider.

While some operations functions in the world’s retail banks already use “customer journey maps” to understand the entire customer experience, these maps often end up being too focused on internal banking processes (rather than focusing on the customer perspective) and generic (not based on specific traits or behaviors of different customer segments). All of this makes it hard for those managing operations teams to make business decisions using the map.

Getting Customer Journey Mapping Right

Some of the leading operations functions map their customer’s journeys using the following steps.

  1. Lay the groundwork for customer journey mapping:

    • Instead of mapping the customer journey just within Operations, include cross-functional stakeholders who have the required customer insights as well as those who are most likely to benefit from the map.

    • A generic customer journey map doesn’t help with decision-making since customers’ expectations, behaviors, and thoughts, differ widely across customer segments. You must invest time to prioritize customer segments for journey mapping.

  2. Create/refine the customer journey map:

    • Interview customers and tap into organizational knowledge to gather information on customer personas and experiences.

    • While building the customer persona, don’t confine to the easily observable traits (such as demographic data, lifestyle, buy/spend patterns, etc.); delve into customers’ emotional values and functional needs.

    • Map customers’ thoughts, feelings, and actions at “touchpoints” (steps in the customer journey where the customer interacts with the bank) both inside and outside your organization (but focus on the high involvement touchpoints) in a cross-functional workshop.

  3. Identify journey improvement opportunities:

    • Identify the points at which the customer experience is not what the bank would like it to be, and diagnose the causes of this. Focus on the gaps that are due to customers’ implicit needs or due to the brand promise being unrealistic.

    • Prioritize initiatives to address these problems, based on how easy it is to implement and the impact of the initiative.


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