The five critical errors of customer experience teams

Avi Greenfield | Wednesday, Jan 11th 2023
man presenting customer journey map to team

The banking industry is experiencing a major shift in how it interacts with customers. In an ever-evolving digital world, banks must find innovative ways to provide exceptional customer experiences (CX) to their customers at every touchpoint. Banks must ensure that they are providing the best possible customer experience, or risk losing customers to competitors. While banks have made strides in improving their CX, there are still many challenges they face. This article contains the five fundamental mistakes many financial institutions make in the early stages of CX development or that they may even be making now (without realizing it), and how to overcome them.

Mistake #1: Not Understanding Key Journeys Across the Customer Lifecycle

The first error is not understanding key journeys across the customer lifecycle, along with all the interactions and communications that support the relationship at each touchpoint. Without awareness of how potential and current customers interact with your business, it’s difficult to reduce friction and create a compelling and satisfying customer experience. To address this challenge, businesses should create customer journey maps that detail the steps that customers take when engaging with the business at key moments of truth, such as account opening, onboarding, or customer service inquiries. Knowing where your customers are in the journey is key to providing them with a seamless experience. That’s why customer journey mapping is so important, as it helps you identify areas of pain and friction, as well as opportunities to streamline the experience or optimize engagement.

Mistake #2: Misunderstanding the Purpose of Your Role as a CX Professional

The second mistake is misunderstanding the purpose of your role as a CX professional. Sure, your team is likely responsible for improving experiences and loyalty, as measured by ratings like customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, but you also need to support positive business outcomes and the overall goals of your company. Not all experiences are equal in terms of the potential impact on customer and business value, and a strong CX leader prioritizes initiatives that drive value to both sides.

As an extreme example, imagine prioritizing an awful account closure process. You’ve identified that it’s understaffed, complex, and takes too long because there are multiple touchpoints, and customers have to sign three separate documents. While improving the process could have a positive impact on CX, it's unlikely to drive retention or revenue growth. You are more likely to gain leadership support and resources for a CX project if you’re able to show the potential for measurable, long-term revenue growth.

Mistake #3: Focusing on a Piece of a Process without Considering the Larger Context

Error number three is focusing too narrowly on a specific piece of a process without considering the impact on what happens before or next. CX is the total of ALL interactions that a customer has with your bank, from the moment of initial brand awareness to the post-purchase experience, and their related perceptions and feelings. Analyzing individual channels or touchpoints in isolation doesn’t get you a positive result.

In banking, many of the customer experience issues come from other channels or are related to the handover between channels. If you’re focusing on only one channel, and not seeing what’s happened on other channels beforehand, you’re going to draw the wrong conclusions. When creating and refining journey maps, it's important to think about the customer in the full context of their relationship and what they’re trying to achieve, rather than focusing on one particular step in the process. And it’s important to have the right journey mapping solution to give you that full picture. Don’t rely on outdated methods like virtual whiteboards that only create a static, point-in-time picture. Seek solutions that provide dynamic maps that reflect real-time business and customer interactions across channels.

Mistake #4: Making Business Cases on Opinions & Predictions vs. Data Insights 

The fourth error is stating opinion as fact. The problem is that business cases and funding decisions are based on a mixture of historical facts, like the financial costs that have led to the proposal, and forward-facing predictions on how those results will change if the project gets completed. Customer experience-related business cases contain more opinions than most other business cases, making it especially important to support your case and track progress using data from your CRM and other key business applications.

Data insights, such as dropout rates, inquiries by channel, and sentiment of customer feedback should be used to evidence results, guide decision-making, and enable continuous enhancement. Make sure that you’re able to visualize the data that's INSIDE your journey maps. Going into an investment board meeting with a professional, dynamic journey map is incredibly powerful, so long as it allows you to click through key interaction points and unlock the insights needed to make your case. Find solutions that allow you to easily integrate enterprise data and embed that data into your journey map in real-time.

Mistake #5: Not Engaging Cross-functional Teams in CX Planning & Measurement 

Finally, error number five is being possessive about ownership of the experience. Working in isolation leads to missed opportunities to gain supporters and change the organizational culture. If you encourage active engagement and collaboration from other teams and executives, you can build an army of supporters across the company. In fact, you want as many people getting involved as possible, and for as long as possible. It’s not just about helping to make the journey maps accurate; it’s about keeping them accurate. To do that, make sure you’re using journey mapping software that allows you to easily share and collaborate.

Once you’ve layered data onto your maps, they become living dashboards that show how the actions of every business unit and function affect the end experience. So, share your customer journey maps widely and make sure that everyone can feed information back to you. In doing so, they can begin to tell you where there’s a touchpoint missing or a path that you haven’t mapped. They’ll point out if they have additional data that you can use, or if there’s a nuance to the data that you haven’t spotted. With real-time journey map sharing and collaboration, you build a group of supporters unified around a collective CX vision.

Improving Customer and Business Outcomes

By understanding and addressing these CX challenges, banks can provide a higher quality of service that builds loyalty. They can provide a more seamless and satisfying customer experience that keeps them ahead of the competition and provides the positive business and customer outcomes that they are looking for.