CXFS – Customer Experience For Financial Services

Four themes top-of-mind for America’s leading customer experience professionals

CXFS is an annual conference, focusing on the customer experience (CX) challenges posed specifically to financial services institutions. This year KAE attended, presenting our CX capabilities to America’s leading CX professionals in Boston. We shared how to use pain point analysis to target change and in doing so, move beyond NPS.

Over the course of three days in July, we heard from Financial Institutions such as USAA and BNY Mellon, to FinTechs including Lending Tree and CrossRiver. For this post, we share the four key themes that emerged, each being vital to consider for the future success of an organisation’s CX endeavours.

1. Prioritization

Running a CX programme incurs many challenges. For those at the beginning of the journey, gaining organisational buy-in, building relationships that span functional silos and centralising research and outreach are key. At CXFS, many programme managers had achieved these milestones, however, they now struggle with the outcomes of centralisation: Large data-sets, wide reaching scope to enact change and conflicting priorities from multiple stakeholders. Prioritization was then top-of-mind for most attendees – how and where to effectively funnel resources to affect the greatest improvement in business performance.

USAA described one of their internal principles as “ruthless prioritization” with “a laser focus on the key things that bring customers value”. Understanding what needs to change is only the first step. Continual, consistent communication of a CX programme’s priorities was described as essential in driving change throughout the organisation. Another example of prioritization is how Citizens Bank structure their priorities into workstreams, allowing for separate initiatives to be communicated to stream-specific teams. For example, in 2017 Citizens Bank’s top three priorities were;

1. Multi-Channel Servicing

2. New-To-Bank Experiences

3. Problem Resolution Experiences

All agreed, for a successful CX programme to have impact, the prioritization of change needs to reflect the needs of the customer as well as be grounded in an understanding of organisational restraints.

2. Structure

The form and placement of the CX function differed across banks, credit-unions and FinTechs. For US Bank, a hub and spoke model, where the CX programme acted as a shared service, was used. However, for others a distributed model where CX was managed by product, channel and segment teams, reporting into a singular CX manager was preferred. In either case, essential to the programme’s success was the need to build business cases that could support the investment required for wide reaching change.

SunTrust utilised the concept of a MVCXP (Minimum Viable Customer Experience Programme). Described by Sonal Bullard, SunTrust’s Director of Client and Advisory Experience, “MVCXP allows us quick low-cost wins that show slight changes that can be quantified with fiscal impact e.g. retention, acquisition or spend. This builds a business case for wide and large reaching change programmes”.

Others also spoke of the need to align the CX programme with executives’ objectives. Wells Fargo makes use of the frameworks provided by Geoffrey Moore, an infamous organizational theorist, when considering when and how to use KPIs, as well as where CX planning should interrelate with the bank’s overarching strategy.

3. Channels

Engagement is increasingly shifting from branch to social media and online channels. Visa emphasised how younger consumers expect 24/7 service. The scheme shared how companies have just eight seconds to capture someone’s attention and just ten minutes to reply to a text-based support message before experience turns negative. There were several important considerations from the discussion of customer engagement channels;

1. An hypothesised generational divide is leading to younger customers pushing for text-based communication vs. phone or face to face

2. The expectations on speed-to-service and quality of response are dramatically increasing with the advent of the internet and mobile

3. Omnichannel communication is in many ways the next frontier of customer support, building a single-customer-view is integral in supporting this vision

4. Research

  • The final theme, research, talks to the changing focus of the industry when approaching insight generation. Presentations and panel discussions from the likes of US Bank, John Hanncock, SunTrust and FannieMae discussed changes in thinking, moving from:
  • Historical data analysis to predictive behaviour evaluation
  • Solicited research e.g. surveys and testimonials to unsolicited e.g. social media analysis and engagement logging
  • Focusing on reducing solicited friction from 15-minute surveys to <60 second singular open + closed questions
  • Incorporating an increasing variety of research into a singular view e.g. web analytics, text analytics, industry reports etc.

CXFS demonstrated the variety of scope in a CX managers role and that the underlying challenges of a customer experience programme are shifting rapidly with technological development. The conference made clear that increasingly, customers attitudes, behaviours and expectations of service are changing.

An organisation’s CX practise is at the front-line in tackling change, market disruption also offers a CX manger incredible opportunity. By considering the four themes outlined in this post, CX managers can capitalize on meeting customers new needs, whilst being better prepared to navigate the changing status-quo of market competition.