June 2022 | Resource

Will Your Customer Service Strategy Survive Against the Competition?

Design digital customer journeys that reflect your brand’s intended experience

Will Your Customer Service Strategy Survive Against the Competition?

Digital customer service experiences are now defining the competitive landscape: 66% of consumers and 73% of businesses believe the new ways of interacting with their financial institutions will be permanent

But forming a competitive strategy doesn’t need to be complex or require Ivy League consultants. Alignment among executive leadership is one of the most critical components for successful service transformation. 

Based on our experience implementing Salesforce and delivering more than 1,200 different digital products and services, a leading strategy for service transformation should address the following six topics: 

  1. What is the makeup of your existing customer base by demographics, products, and profitability? How reliable and cohesive is your customer data? 
  2. How does the shape of your existing customer base compare to where you want it to be 3 years from now?
  3. How well do your existing service experiences access customers’ needs and preferences? If unknown, use direct research and surveying. 
  4. Are your agents able to provide the best service possible? How well do internal knowledge management and service teams operate? Do they have the ability to make decisions directly with end consumers? 
  5. In what areas do you provide better service than competitors?
  6. In what areas is your service experience lacking compared to competitors?  

Based on these questions, your leadership team should have clear marching orders, be aligned on goals, and make decisions for investment. If you lack information on any of these topics, it helps to perform an “outside-in” analysis of your customer’s experience. At minimum, we recommend observing the customer contact center for a day. This can provide insight on exactly where to start and the common issues that arise. By having a deep understanding of your customer’s journey with your organization, your collective empathy will result in a better service experience for them. 

Right-size your investment budget based on your goals. In financial services organizations, our experience has shown that solutions for case deflection and knowledge management can provide quicker time to value while the payoff period for larger scale customer-facing digital experiences gets underway. 

Articulate your goals in terms of quantifiable metrics. KPIs are the heartbeat of service. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Typical metrics to measure include: 

  • NPS or CSAT 
  • First Contact Resolution 
  • Average Handle Time 
  • Agent Satisfaction 
  • Agent Performance  
  • Agent Retention 

Become digital to create modern experiences 

Salesforce is a world class-leading CRM, yet its value compounds when used as an integrated digital platform. As you implement more business processes in Salesforce, your service centers and contact channels will operate more digitally.  

Using Salesforce as the platform, omni-channel experiences become within reach. Once a process is digitized, you can leverage the platform to expand it to more channels: web portals, email, secure messaging, chat, mobile apps, telephony, voice assistants, and bots.

Digitization is an ongoing journey and can be done in small chunks at a time. You can realize value incrementally—but have to start somewhere. Prioritization and planning must root from the goals set by executive leadership. Knowledge management can be a quick win for improving agent experience and enabling round-trip feedback for continuously enhancing the service experience. 

While digitizing your service capabilities, you will undoubtedly discover opportunities for efficiency and improving the customer experience—even before touching technology.  

Human touch is still important  

Above all, remember to enable personalized experiences that align with your customers' preferences. While more than half of millennials would switch banks simply for a better mobile app, other customers (especially the increasing number who have suffered identify theft) still prefer automated telephony and are avoidant of internet-enabled banking. And still, some customers prefer to talk to a human or go into the branch. Human touch is not going away, and it becomes critical to give your customers differing experiences based on their needs. 

To better understand their preferences, utilize surveys and research to ask your customers these important questions. Then, design your service operations so that agents can deliver the best human touch they are capable of. This often means using insights from accurate data to adjust and problem solve common reasons for escalations or dissatisfying interactions. 

Agents are critical to the experience of the financial organization—design the job, its responsibilities, and performance management programs for retention and career growth. A better employee experience correlates with positive customer experience.  

The bottom line 

It’s well understood that a customer’s experience drives their loyalty: 80% of customers say the experience is as important as the product or service itself. And in financial services, we know that loyal customers will bring increased wallet share. 

Whether financial institutions are preparing for the “economic hurricane” predicted by some, CEOs must be focused on loyalty and retention as key tactics to managing their profitability and expense ratios. 

To drive loyalty, design journeys that reflect your brand’s intended experience for its customers. Automate processes that do not benefit from human touch. Implement self-service options for case deflection.  

Investments reflect empathy at the end of the day. Provide options where every customer can get the service they’re hoping for in the channels they want. This will go a long way toward creating brand loyalty and increased wallet share that many financial organizations are hoping to achieve.  

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