Customer communications (for better or for worse) have an impactful role in the Customer Experience (CX), and they affect customer loyalty. It's time for banks to seize this as an area of opportunity, and strategically re-engineer their processes for creating,
managing, and enhancing interactions with customers (including alerts, notices, social media posts, forms, on-demand communications, marketing campaigns, account/customer servicing documents, and more). Done properly, and with an enterprise communication strategy,
significant opportunities abound to convert what is at best a "forgotten necessity" – and at worst a weakness for many financial institutions – into an powerful CX strength and market differentiator.
We've all heard common quips describing what comprises a digital experience approach, including:
Digital delivery is critical
Let's go paperless
Our adoption rate is key
The issue with these types of approaches is that they are tactical, not strategic. As a result, the vast majority of digital experience projects fail to meet their objectives or achieve desired results. As cited in the Gartner Customer Experience Research
Team 2019 report:
"Despite a mandate to create a differentiated and innovative customer experience (CX) strategy that will drive business growth, over 70% of CX leaders struggle to design projects that increase customer loyalty and achieve results."
So what is truly needed to create a modern digital experience that will drive results? Several key elements are essential:
An enterprise-wide strategy is critical to avoid only focusing on small tactical improvements in a limited number of customer journeys.
The breadth of the enterprise-wide strategy must be coupled with the depth of an encompassing approach across the entire digital experience, and it must address and include legacy communications such as documents, letters, forms, statements, etc.
Give conscious attention to ensuring the solutions, processes, and teams can operate in a rapid, nimble, easier change management flow to empower future-proof flexibility. For example, business users should be able to change any piece of customer communication
content without IT/Vendor involvement and have automated governance.
As I discussed in a previous blog, Banking Modernization: Is It A Communications Breakdown?, banks must critically evaluate their communications and take steps to ensure they are personal, actionable, and of high quality. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and
Machine Learning (ML) are quickly becoming market differentiators to empower proactive customer communications, providing an opportunity to improve all customer communication points and flows.
In a recent conversation I learned firsthand about an established Top 25 bank in the U.S. which launched a new Direct Bank to complement its traditional retail bank and quickly raise deposits. The bank's strategy was to enable a fully digital CX by offering
completely paperless online account opening (OAO) and servicing. A major aspect of the direct bank's differentiated CX involves using real-time alerts in place of traditional document-based communications. Typically, these types of communications are still
heavily document-based. Most banks (at best) produce digital documents online for the customer to review; however, this approach thwarts real impact to the customer experience because almost no one navigates online to view the documents. Ironically, many of
these banks believe they have accomplished the goal of "going digital." Hardly. However, by using real-time alerts to replace document-based communications, the direct bank was able to push information directly to the customer using the customer's preferred
channel of choice. The results are impressive: The bank received more than 4 billion USD in deposits within the first 8 months, largely thanks to their successful strategy to provide a seamless modern digital CX.
This real-life example proves that getting the communication strategy right will yield big financial returns and offer a competitive advantage. An effective and personalized communication strategy, using today's advanced technologies, provides a path for
banks to dramatically improve their customer communications (and in turn the overall Customer Experience and resulting loyalty). Even better, the same technology can be leveraged to improve the customer experience, operational efficiency, and governance. A
win-win-win for the bank.
The stakes are high in the customer experience and loyalty game! What's your plan for developing a successful digital communications strategy? Are you in it to win it?