In my series of 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. So far, I have written about the importance of Customer Experience governance and Integrating Branches with the Multichannel Experience. In the coming weeks, I will continue to share key insights, themes and “aha!” moments that we learned from our research that are critical factors for companies looking to optimize their customer experience.
Why Easy Matters: Theme #3 – Online Banking Success Needs Accountable Vendor Partners
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. We found through our research that the accountability of vendors to deliver an effortless customer experience is a common barrier to a successful online banking (OLB) experience. Banks are heavily dependent on OLB platform vendors if they want to have any promise of an exceptional customer experience.
Implementation and use of customer-centered design best practices varied widely – causing high effort in areas that should be easily navigated. Often OLB platform selection and implementation projects have not included clear Customer Experience (CX) & User Experience (UX) design requirements; SLAs for customer support; or seamless integration with the bank’s existing customer service ecosystem.
In our work for this study (and numerous OLB vendor evaluation projects for other banks), we found that the overall Self-Help Content, Support Functionality and Customer Support Accessibility were high effort problem areas for most OLB implementations. These issues were driven by problems ranging from user interface design flaws to navigational issues to, most of all, a lack of consistent in-line customer support content.
Often a bank is bound to a vendor OLB platform that is far from customizable for their customers. The dissonance between their agency designed website (where most customers are used to interacting) and a relatively sparce and product driven OLB platform can be jarring. For example, we observed multiple issues such as major differences in visual layout, navigational hierarchy, and customer support accessibility & functionality. Navigational cues were moved to different locations and even fundamentals such as where to find help were inconsistent. Customers were not receiving a seamless, effortless experience across these channels.
It should be noted that banks that offer measurably easier OLB experiences are reaping the benefit. We found that those who included well-designed customer-centric requirements for UX, UI, and Taxonomy – not just product features or technical integration requirements – were able to deliver experiences that were easier and more in-line with the bank’s customer strategy and goals. By making a commitment to “ease of use” as a core customer-centric design principle, there are several positive outcomes: lower support costs with reduced support calls; higher customer use and adoption rates for digital and other lower cost channels; improved retention due to lower frustration and increased customer satisfaction. Building a true win-win for the bank and its customers.
Remember, Easy Matters!