Banks need to better understand customers in 2017, finds new research

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 30 November 2016
Banks need to better understand customers in 2017, finds new research

Three quarters of Efma members want their bank to offer the best customer experience in the global retail banking industry, yet many do not have the strategies and tools to do so, according to a new Forrester survey.

Forrester’s The State of CX Management in Retail Banking 2016 report found that many of Efma’s members will make customer experience a top business priority in 2017. However, most show a lack of maturity at managing customer experience across six key competencies, including customer understanding, prioritisation, design, delivery, measurement, and culture.

One of the major challenges is that many Efma banks do not understand their customers. Around 80% of Efma members regularly collect qualitative customer feedback about their interactions with the bank, but half do not analyse it to gain insights into customers’ values, needs, and expectations. Plus, only a third create single view of their customers.

Banks also struggle with setting priorities to ensure they can develop their desired customer experience. Only 50% of banks regularly identify their most important customer groups and the characteristics that each core experience must have, making it hard for employees improve customer service.

Similarly, most surveyed Efma banks fail to align experiences with their customer experience vision. Although 43% of banks regularly document their overarching customer experience vision, almost a fifth never validate the vision or update their core experiences to align with it. Plus, only 38% of banks surveyed said their company’s customer experience vision completely aligns with their company’s brand promise.

In addition, banks are failing to equip employees with the tools they need to deliver these core customer experiences. Currently, only 38% of banks provide templates and automated workflows for common tasks on a regular basis, and only half regularly train or coach frontline employees on how to execute the part of the customer experience that they personally deliver.

While 82% of banks regularly measure customers’ overall perception of the core customer experiences, only 29% measure how well the actual customer experience matches the must-have characteristics for each core experience.

Crucially, many of the surveyed banks do not cultivate or propagate the values they should. Only half educate customers about customers, the customer experience vision, the ecosystem that delivers it, and their role in that ecosystem.

Forrester’s report also highlights best practices that executives can use to improve the customer experience offered by their bank. It recommends that all banks carry out a maturity assessment and refer to Forrester’s Customer Experience Management maturity model, which contains 30 key practices.

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