Tag Archives: standard life

5 Customer Experience Trends for 2016

20162015 saw increased budget diverted to customer experience with more and more companies adopting CX as a primary business model. We anticipate 2016 will see further senior executives and CEO’s taking a closer look to understand just how customer experience can be a more profitable competitive differentiator.

With this in mind, as independent customer experience consultants we’ve captured our CX predictions for 2016 below;

1.The CEO discovers a reliable measure linking CX to profit 

phils book2016 will be a wake up year for CX. We are already finding CEO’s questioning the value of chasing NPS Promoters and top box Customer Satisfaction. Our evidence shows these outcomes do not correlate to profit. In fact, according to Measuring Customer Experience by Professor Dr Phil Klaus less than 1% of profit can be attributed back to these performance measures. 

When discovered, for some this will mean the CX Programme is shut down, for others who continue with these measures it means potentially investing profits in initiatives which will drive very little if any ROI. in his book Phil, who is also a Lexden Director explains the value of pursuing behavioral based CX measurement which accounts for over 80% of profit. For those considering this option it could mean smarter profits, effective investment and meaningful focus on the CX improvements which keep the business ahead of the rest. 

2. Brand to finally join the CX party

Too much operational focus is on the ‘fix’ in CX or digital migration where there are no net new gains. Companies focussing on self-serve apps and online systems might reduce processing costs – but at what price? We’ve seen stats highlighting the unsurprising knock on effect of customer engagement and brand consideration levels dropping and with it comms effectiveness reducing. One of the main reason is that these are designed functionally and without consideration of baking in the brand difference.

We hope 2016 sees more emphasis on making the brand difference in to improvements to create sustainable advantage rather than just short term (and easy to copy) efficiency drives.

There are few in this space we find, but Virgin Money, Standard Life and Direct Line in FS are forging the way with CX becoming a key consideration factor for their customer’s preference. Direct Line in particular apply CX principles beyond promotions and propositions, they are connected to pricing. That’s when you really start to pull away from the competition because you are competing on a different playing field altogether.

We anticipate more will start to differentiate on their CX but it’s like any other point of difference, it needs to be just that, not just the basics done well. It will only be those with sound CX strategies focussed on meaningful measurement which will reap the harvest of their CX investment. Watch companies like The Co-op Bank, The One Savings Bank and Nutmeg leverage CX more in 2016.

3. From personalisation to proactive engagement

Data held (big or small) can be used to predict future eventualities for customers, using this more smartly can really help customers, a service which the brand can be remembered for. For instance a customer who goes overdrawn several months on the trot does not need a ‘when it happens’ notice when their options are limited. The patterns are there for the bank to tell the customers days, weeks in advance of the likely outcome if they sustain their rate of spend. Delivery services are improving on this, as are bus and train companies.

So helping consumers manage time to have more of it to consider more options is to become more important and delivered through a great experience will help companies stand apart.

4. Employee experience will get tangible 

Maybe 2016 will be the year of the employee. Companies who help their employees understand the value of CX reap the benefits sooner. Those who ‘push it on to’ colleagues to be done to customers, have themselves to blame. We have seen an increasing number of requests moving from customer experience delivery to employee experience engagement. Brands such as USAA and Zappos highlight the importance of this first stage. But recruiting the right skill set to help employees is key. Conventional training techniques wont cut it so assuming clients engage CX transformation specialists employees will get it and be able to deliver it better – a big focus in 2016 we anticipate.

5. Feedback Fatigue

We often get asked how to 1) increase respondent numbers and 2) reach a more representative cross-section of my customer base with feedback. It’s true, numbers are dropping inversely proportionate to the increase in feedback requests it would seem. There are now more companies requesting feedback overall than ever before and those who have been for some time are drilling deeper and asking for more from their customers.

We sat in a series of research groups last year looking at customer behaviour towards feedback nero surveysurveys. There is much contamination and conditional completing of feedback forms going on it seems. Consumers are wary, citing being asked for irrelevant and duplicated insights as well as seeing little improvement related to their feedback, as reasons for skimming, spoiling or ignoring feedback requests.

A gear shift will be needed otherwise the quality of feedback will become increasingly impaired. A more worrying trend is the professional survey completers who will complete forms on behalf of others (we haven’t figured out why yet) or bill the company requesting their feedback for their time (similar to focus groups).

So perhaps nothing seismic, but the relatively embryonic world of CX will need to find its feet in 2016 if it is to survive the most harshest of judges; the rising expectations of consumers and the CEO’s budget.

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Customer Experience Consultant, Lexden

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer’s World’ Update for ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours.

For further information on how we can help with your customer challenges contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call M: +44 (0) 7968 316548 or T: +44 (0)1279 902205. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or read client testimonials and case studies at Lexden Group.

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5 exceptional financial services customer experience examples

CX award winnweThis summer saw the UK’s first Financial Services Customer Experience awards (that’s me on the right with the winning Direct Line team). It was a great day with a few brands taking the lead now. Nationwide, Direct Line and Standard Life picked up more than one gong. With some smaller players demonstrating that you don’t need a big budget to deliver stand out customer service.

We were there to partner the occasion. We judged, we awarded prizes, we also provided the key-note speaker and we had a ball. So I am sure the 2016 finalists line up will be even more hotly contested.

It will also be interesting to see if the winners can continue to turn their famous winning experiences in to even more profitable outcomes for their shareholders (or members in Nationwide’s case), by obtaining more share of their contented customer’s wallet.

The financial service sector has woken up to Customer Experience. With that in mind, here are 5 great customer experiences. We’ve highlighted some which are unique and some which are well used. We hope they provide inspiration either way.

Umpqua Bank’s night time antics

umpqua.png2This American retail bank, with a growing network of branches is bucking the trend. They are locally focused so they’ve introduced a range of ways to embed themselves in the community. Which is all part of their positioning as a community bank. One of the ideas is the ‘hand the keys over’ initiative. When evening falls the branch is closed so the branch is a dead space. Space is much sort after by community groups, so members of the local community can hire the open areas of the branch for social activities such as Pilates and book readings – thereby helping the community out by making more of their underutilised assets.

Sun Life Direct making life easier when it’s painful enough 

sun life directFamous for the over 50’s life insurance (mainly bought for funeral planning) product, 98% of new policy holders state they are happy with the service they get when the plan is taken out.

However, following the death of the policy holder, when a relative claims for a payout is when the brand must really deliver. It used to take a few weeks to get a payout because of the pieces of information and documentation expected.

The irony being that the account holder was often buried before funds which they’d put premiums into the plan for, were released. So the very purpose of the plan was therefore not delivered upon! A basic fail.

Sun Life decided to challenge this with a ‘we take the risk’ approach. It reduced the requirement at claims to one number being needed. With this agreed at Sun Life payouts happen in days now and relatives have less to worry about.

Such is the impact of this idea I’ve since seen it win awards for a different brand, so it clearly has meaning and motivation.

First Direct pay customers for leaving

First Direct buck the trend by not only offering customers an incentive to open a current account, but so confident are they that the experience received once customers join or switch will meet customer’s expectations, they offer the same again for them to leave!

first directThe First Direct Service Guarantee states, “We’ll pay £100 per customer or joint relationship if you close your Account within 12 months of opening it <small print>. We’ll pay the £100 into your account prior to its closure. All accounts with First Direct have to be closed and your 1st Account transferred to another bank/building society.”

I’ve held an account with First Direct (among others) for many years. I can vouch for the thread of steel holding all experience touch points together, across products, across time.  This individual acknowledgement is backed up by several reputable studies and awards in customer service and experience including uSwitch and UKCSI.

Becu bank closing for good!

becu closed for goodThe American retail bank makes a commitment to the communities it serves which is authenticated through every aspect of the business delivery. It’s clearly an authentic focus for them. As their website states; PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST | MAKING OUR COMMUNITY A PLACE TO PUT DOWN ROOTS. As a consultancy which preaches a customer first philosophy (allowing profits to follow) we really connect with Becu. We are a fan and follower of their progress.

Their community commitment is evidenced through several initiatives; people helper rewards, environmental stewardship, financial empowerment partnerships, foundation scholarships and ‘Closed for Good’. These are great experiences for customers, employees and the community to enjoy who see Becu as a bank which cares for its community. It also helps employees understand the importance of community which ensures it is then evidenced through every other touch point.

‘Closed for Good’ is an initiative run on October 20th this year. It entails the bank closing until 1pm and every employee identifying where financial support will be beneficial and sharing their expertise with groups in the community. Is this the business model being delivered or marketing? Either way it ensures customers and prospects experience first hand or through the inevitable word of mouth, that Becu care about those they help. This delivers that rarest of commodities for banks; trust.

AIB’s digital transition lab

aib3There is efficiency in migrating customers to digital interactions with their bank – both for the bank and for the customer. Preemptive marketing which can help customers keep one step ahead of decisions is a good example of where banks can provide customer relationship updates via a digital platform. Click on the pic for a virtual tour of the AIB LAB.

Allied Irish Bank recognised that whilst this is a commercial ambition for the bank, customers benefit from it too. Customer adoption will take longer to move from the ‘comfortable and not broken’ to the new world of digital banking. With that in mind they have created a ‘digital transition’ store in Dundrum Town, Ireland which has no sales agenda but a hand holding experience for customers to trial new platforms and ask questions. According to AIB it’s “designed to deliver an exceptional customer experience through digital self-service.

The award-winning enterprise is making the retail assets move from sales to education to and the support creates a new experience perception of the bank whilst encouraging in a passive and comfortable way customers to trial and adopt new banking platforms. It also presents a future impression of the bank’s image through this experience enhancing activation.

If you’ve enjoyed this article other ‘5 exceptional experiences’ posts cover airlines, how to have fun with CX, hotels and automotive. Click on any to link straight through.

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Director, Lexden

Lexden has a proven track record in delivering Customer Experience Strategy and Management to clients seeking sustainable profit from customer experience.

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer’s World’ Update for ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours. 

For further information on how we can help with your customer challenges contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call M: +44 (0) 7968 316548 or T: +44 (0)1279 902205.  You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or read client testimonials and case studies at www.lexdengroup.com.