3-2-1: The countdown to a seamless customer experience
If you’ve ever been in even a minor car accident, you know how troublesome it can be. You wonder how much it will raise your car insurance. How long it will take to fix your car. How to deal with the situation immediately after the accident.
You know you can manage your claims through your insurance app – but you need an expert to guide you through every choice and what to do next.
Your customers feel the same way when facing large financial decisions.
According to our 2022 Digital Trends — Financial Services in Focus report, nearly half of all financial services organizations are launching new self-service functionalities and digital and mobile offerings. Meanwhile, there’s still great value in having a real person help you during critical life moments. That’s true whether you’re filing a car insurance claim, applying for a mortgage, or investing for retirement.
Our 3-2-1 countdown offers strategies to help you align in-person and digital customer journeys — so you can create experiences that build trust and support your customers’ financial decision-making.
3 keys to giving your customers the next–best experience
Staying ahead of customer expectations and creating seamless interactions depends on a strategy that helps you deliver the next-best experience.
Delivering the next-best-experience to your customers requires three key building blocks: context, progression, and pivoting.
Instead of forcing commercial transactions or individual offers, this approach focuses on fine-tuning the customer journey and pivoting quickly when customers’ wants and needs change. Its building blocks include:
- Context: Knowing your customers’ unique path. Start by gathering real-time customer insights and engagement metrics – derived from live data across all physical and digital customer touchpoints.
It’s a significant task considering the volume of data that must be cleaned, combined, and deployed. The key is to move away from organizing customers in broad categories and instead build a holistic view of each customer. One that updates in real time and empowers you to deliver a more targeted approach to segmentation for online and offline interactions at scale.
Being able to segment appropriately can help you determine the next best action to support your customers’ financial success. For instance, you can provide mortgage information to customers as they’re researching interest rates and help them choose a loan that best suits their individual needs. Consumers value that personalized touch.
Learn more ways to use data to align the customer experience in Financial Organizations Get Personal When Data Gets Moving.
- Progression: Tracking each step of your customers’ interactions. Once you’ve identified the customer journey, you need to know where your customers are on the path and where they’ll engage with you best. Creating a cohesive customer experience depends on it.
To do that, you need to offer the next–best experience based on what customers need most in the moment. Someone beginning to review credit card options may need help understanding which option is best for them. An interactive quiz sent via text could help them narrow their options.
That same quiz might be too basic for customers who already know what they want in a new card. For them, a comparison of the benefits of one card over another may be more valuable.
The ability to analyze a customer’s in-person activities can also help inform their online experience. Say, for example, a customer is exploring credit card options on your website, then visits a local branch to ask about the differences in credit cards. Targeted follow-up emails or text messages based on the preferences and needs that the customer discussed with a branch representative can guide the customer to choose the best card for their needs.
When you can encourage specific actions based on how and where customers have engaged with you, you add depth to your personalization strategy. More importantly, you help customers feel seen and valued. That can go a long way toward building loyalty and trust with your brand.
- Pivoting: Guiding customers to the right information. Since your customers’ wants and needs can change quickly, you should be prepared to react to those moments so you’re there when you need to be. The ability to pivot customers into new paths and journeys gives insight into their interactions in real time.
Say you have a credit card propensity segment. You launch a campaign for that segment, but one customer begins using a retirement calculator and reviews managed portfolio options. You need to be able to pivot them into a new investment-focused journey that is better suited to their current intentions and financial needs.
Having real-time capabilities that provide a centralized view of customer engagement with your campaigns can help you ensure you’re not inundating customers with repetitive messages or irrelevant content across different marketing channels.
Additionally, the ability to apply artificial intelligence and gain predictive insights throughout the customer journey can help you automate decisions. And since you’re reacting rapidly to your customers’ specific needs, you can optimize the experience in a way that increases engagement.
2 ways to increase internal collaboration to ensure your success
Delivering personalized experiences wherever your customers are requires new ways of working together across the business. Collaboration with other departments is vital for delivering a customer journey that aligns with digital and physical interactions.
Truly individualized experiences also rely on data that often resides in siloed systems, processes, and databases. How you gather and extract insight from this data is everything. Building more seamless interaction between business units and their functions is an important first step in being able to unlock the data needed to make a lasting impact on every customer touchpoint, however and whenever they happen.
But there’s work to do. Our research shows that 42% of personalization efforts are delivered cross-functionally across departments, but fewer than 40% of financial services firms say they collaborate effectively.
Making strides in this area is going to take some significant rejiggering across the organization, and marketing has a key role to play. These two strategies can help:
- Make everyone a customer experience expert. The way customers engage with you in branches, call centers, or face-to-face with advisors is as important as the way they engage via email, paid media, web, and mobile channels, if not more so.
Success going forward depends on marketing’s ability to set the vision of cohesive, connected experiences to every department — and empower teams to deliver them. This customer-centric approach requires looking beyond individual priorities and incentives and instead focusing on a longer-term vision of customer success.
By sharing ownership of the customer journey, organizations can align physical and digital journeys in the name of delighting customers. Our research recommends the following actions to support collaboration:
- Enlist teams to understand the customer mindset more deeply throughout their journey
- Uncover how marketing actions relate to customer behavior
- Understand purchase drivers
- Find ways to reduce system and process overlap
Collaboration with other departments is vital for delivering a customer journey that aligns with digital and physical interactions.
- Connect with IT to connect systems
Deeper collaboration with IT is also important because connecting systems is the first step to connecting customer journeys. Whether it’s putting data in front of the right people at the right time or consolidating outdated systems, IT is a critical partner in any personalization effort.
Interestingly, when it comes to digital transformation across the company, IT sees the value of deeper collaboration, too, according to Insider Intelligence. Having united objectives is key to enabling departments to connect their disconnected systems and deliver individualized customer experiences.
Opening a new bank account is one example of a process that could benefit from an improved system connection. Being able to consolidate the systems used to open a new account online and in person can help ensure that the process is seamless and customer information doesn’t get lost between systems.
1 cohesive customer journey
To create the best individualized experience for each customer, you need to know what message is the most important at any point in the journey.
Serving up the right information to the right person at the right time can mean the difference between frustration and celebration.
Say you have a customer that qualifies for multiple messages in one day. They called because their credit card was stolen, they recently researched mortgage rates, and it’s their birthday. Your marketing ecosystem needs to serve the appropriate first message to the customer and space others accordingly. In other words, you need to save the birthday wishes until after you address your customer’s credit card emergency.
Serving up the right information to the right person at the right time can mean the difference between frustration and celebration. To do that, you need to manage, predict, and optimize the customer journey on an individual basis.
And to be able to do it at scale, you need solutions that help you deliver the most relevant next –best action or experience at each interaction, coordinated between online and offline channels. Search for solutions that will help you:
- Collect interaction data in real time. Look for a customer data platform designed to help you connect and manage customer data with scale, speed, and precision — all while keeping their data safe.
- Activate insights from data across channels. A solution that provides end-to-end visualization of the entire customer journey using all your available datasets can help support cohesive online and offline interactions.
- Deliver the right next best experience. Consider a journey-optimizing solution that helps you:
- Manage inbound customer engagement and outbound omnichannel campaigns
- Leverage email, push, and in-app messages to engage customers throughout the brand experience
- Use intelligent offer decisioning that selects the next-best offer based on real-time customer behavior
Cohesive physical and digital journeys are the way forward
Ultimately, delivering more value to customers when they interact online or in person relies on the ability to meet them where they are. Success will come from creating digital journeys that are contextualized to adapt to customers’ needs in real time, combined with personalized guidance from experts in critical moments. In today’s consumer-centric market, customer loyalty — and your organization’s financial well-being — depend on it.