In my earlier blog posts on Customer Effort Scoring, I wrote about how we recently executed a Customer Effort Score assessment, evaluating a group of West Coast based banks on their cross-channel customer experience. I also wrote about the importance of an organized approach to Customer Experience governance in creating a successful program. In the coming weeks, I will be sharing with you some additional key insights, themes and “aha!” moments that we learned from our research that are critical factors for companies looking to optimize their customer experience.
Theme #2 – Banks are delivering an easy in-branch experience, but struggle with cross-channel integration
Customers cannot get to the “Wow!” experiences banks aspire to provide them with great service and friendly employees alone. Without an effortless experience, a focus on great service falls flat. What we found through our research is that the ease of cross-channel experience is an important success factor in delivering on any promise of an exceptional customer experience.
As part of our research, we visited 40 different branches to evaluate service and interview customers. These conversations made it clear that the importance of being easy to do business with is never more clear than in the branch banking experience.
From a service perspective, we observed that branches are working well for customers who prefer in-person banking to online banking. The customers we interviewed said they generally get good service from friendly staff. However, we measured numerous common high-effort areas for customers that related to the ability to link the branch to the experience in other channels – e.g. online banking (OLB) & other digital channels; phone support & phone banking.
Best-in-breed banks are innovating with ways to integrate customer-facing technology into the branch. Some banks are adding tools to ease access to OLB (including printing stations for statements) and to improve the ability for branch staff to help with on-boarding and access to OLB (e.g. tablet-based banking kiosks for learning OLB). Teams who were working to integrate cross-channel training and support for branch, contact center and technical support reduced the effort barriers placed on their customers.
Banks need to remember that if it is hard for customers to get their banking business done across channels – not just within a single channel – then great relationships will not make up for “hard.”