At the recent FDS / CXFS Connect Virtual Event, Nick Barnes, Practice Director of Financial Services, Jennifer Mathissen, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Santander Bank, and Lauren Kessler, Customer Experience Strategy at PenFed Credit Union, spoke on the panel “How Digital Performance Impacts the Customer Experience”.
During the session, they discussed the importance of using data to continuously improve experiences for both online and in-person banking as well as what key metrics are most important to do this. Additionally, they spoke about the surge in digital banking during the pandemic, and what impact this had on the industry.
Here are some of the top takeaways about how to use data to positively impact the customer experience and improve business performance:
Increased focus on digital banking to meet evolving customer needs
The acceleration of digital transformation during the pandemic presented both challenges and opportunities for the panel. From Barnes' perspective, he said that the additional digital options driven by technology gave customers and members more options than ever before, increasing their expectations for seamless omnichannel experiences.
“We’ve seen customers empowered by choice - we heard that loud and clear. And as a result of the pandemic, there were other priorities that came through, such as safety and peace of mind when it came to [banking] interactions. It also solidified that desire for choice across all omnichannel experiences and that choice is here to stay.”
Nick Barnes, Practice Director of Financial Services
In addition to providing options to meet the demand that many customers and members now have, Barnes mentioned the importance of human-to-human connection in banking.
“With this need for human interaction, which is more important than ever, customer experiences are being driven by tech but powered by humans,” Barnes said.
When banking experiences are personalized with a human element, Barnes said financial institutions are seeing the benefits of increased account openings, stronger customer relationships, enhanced experiences, and improved customer loyalty.
At Santander, Mathissen said they saw a huge shift to digital banking, as many others did out of necessity during the pandemic. With a strong branch presence and a customer base who often relied on going into physical locations, Mathissen said it was a tough transition at first for both employees and customers.
“Culturally we have been very successful at building a very warm and welcoming branch experience, and so our clientele is maybe a little bit more reliant on that than some other banks,” Mathissen said. “But we’ve seen signs of fantastic adaptability and resilience.”
With customers adopting more digital channels, Mathissen said that they are really focused on their mobile banking app, which has seen rapid growth over the past year, and remote banking options to meet new demand and a wider customer base.
“We’re really interested in remote banking and advisory, and I think there's an opportunity for banks and other financial institutions to unlock customer segments that otherwise might not have had a relationship with us,” Mathissen said.
Kessler said that the pandemic presented PenFed with the opportunity to shine light on where they could make improvements.
“The pandemic really created a digital transformation acceleration by 10 years in a matter of months. It did the same thing for PenFed,” Kessler said. “It really pushed a lot of the aspects of our online banking experience and shined a spotlight on that for us internally. The past year, a lot of my focus has been on driving digital adoption, trying to reduce call volumes, etc., but within that there’s a wonderful body of knowledge that you can also find in seeing what people are struggling with on your platforms.”
Harness the power of data to continuously improve
By embracing data across the entire customer journey, banks and credit unions can focus on improving the customer and employee experience while simultaneously improving business outcomes.
Barnes said that by looking at ways to improve efficiency and by creating highly personalized experiences, there are several business benefits. From improved customer acquisition and higher customer lifetime value (CLV) to reduced operational costs and lower risk, measuring the right data translates into more informed decision making.
Kessler said she likes to measure everything, then hone in on data points along the journey to better understand each unique journey and make improvements.
“I’m a big fan of data - so I always say measure everything. What I think the pandemic really helped accelerate was paying attention to the entire journey. And being able to say, okay, within that journey, there's going to be different segments that are going to come out. How can we better understand them?”
Lauren Kessler, Customer Experience Strategy at PenFed Credit Union
At Santander Bank, Mathissen said they collect a lot of information during various customer interactions - from the profile data they collect at their branches to observed engagement data. They also measure experience data, which they use to identify areas for improvement.
”Experience data helps us really understand what kinds of interactions drive customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction. It helps us prioritize where we need to make changes,” Mathissen said.
Track the data that matters most to improving the customer experience
There is a wealth of data that banks and credit unions can track. From marketing campaigns to digital product offerings, the omnichannel banking world creates several touchpoints to consider. The panelists spoke about what key performance indicators (KPIs) they consider most important to measure for enhancing customer relationships.
As many banks and credit unions focus on how they can better personalize their experiences, Barnes said that there is an interesting new movement that focuses on measuring return on experience (ROE) versus return on investment (ROI). This focus is to ensure customer experience is a prominent aspect to everything banks track.
“Those data points you would normally track and measure to make proactive decisions, but taking a look at the experience itself, what your financial institution is providing. What are you looking at? Time to market, customer satisfaction, acquisition costs, how costly is it for you to gain customers, etc.,” Barnes said. “Measuring those data points continuously allows you to see where you can improve upon the experience you offer.”
Mathissen said there are quite a few KPIs that can help make impacts to the overall experience - especially now from a digital perspective.
“I think continuing to look at the percentage of your clients who are digitally engaged and recognizing that definition shifts over time and becomes more stringent. Increasingly, we’re really going to focus on the percentage of our new accounts that are opened online versus in the branch.”
Jennifer Mathissen, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Santander Bank
The KPIs you track should be based on what you’re trying to accomplish with your digital transformation strategy, Kessler said. It’s about pinpointing the areas where you can improve the member relationship and increase engagement.
”Something we recently started measuring - and I think it's a really good thing to measure - is from analog to digital, how many applications start on analog or digital and then where do they end?” Kessler said. “Seeing how many people start an application or start a task of making a payment, etc. on a digital channel and then end up having to complete that task in an analog channel. That’s a really good KPI to look at to get your finger on the pulse of ‘Are we meeting our customers where they need to be?’”
With the only constant being change, financial institutions have a lot they can gather from their data along the customer journey. All three panelists said they are looking forward to what the future holds for the industry and how data will continue to play a key role to their strategies. To learn more about what Barnes, Kessler, and Mathissen shared during their panel discussion, you can watch the full video:
About the author
The JRNI team is made up of product, customer, and technical experts who are focused on driving personalized experiences - for our customers, and for theirs. The JRNI blog enables us to dive into how retail and financial organizations can use personalized experiences to grow profitability, build stronger customer relationships, and drive customer loyalty.
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