In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of job positions for chief customer experience officers across financial institutions (FI) of all sizes. Those roles were created to help an FI focus outwardly and represent the customers’ points of view. Stated differently, people filling those roles ask the “why” question while most FIs tend to focus only on the “how.”
Marrying the How and the Why
A recent example of an unrealized opportunity to rewrite the customer journey involved branch-initiated loan applications. The process required a customer to come into a branch, sign a piece of paper which was then scanned and sent to the back office for processing. After processing, it was stamped “complete” and sent along for further scanning and indexing.
The staff was asked to improve the process, and they recommended switching the ink used to stamp “complete” from oil-based ink to water-based. By doing so, the ink did not bleed through the document, which was causing it to be scanned as two images. While the process was indeed improved incrementally, the FI did not go far enough, missing an opportunity to fundamentally improve the whole customer journey and realize more benefits for both customers and employees.
Customer journey maps marry the “how” and the “why” into one document. The how is expressed as a simple workflow document, showing the touchpoints of any process. Once the current process is documented, the why questions begin. Why do FIs need a wet signature on this document? Why do the customers need to scan their drivers’ licenses? Why should a customer have to stop into a branch to complete the application?
While having a CCEO is a great start, the most successful FIs focus on creating multiple customer experience advocates, all of whom use customer journey maps to document the hows and ask the whys. FIs that position multiple customer experience advocates across the institution have more desirable outcomes than those that have one person. The trick is getting started.
While there are many tools available to assist in generating customer journey maps, PRI suggests that FIs can be quite effective with a simple white board and some post-it notes.
Don’t become burdened with unfamiliar tools until you’ve built a few maps. Involve staff from all areas, especially those areas that are customer-facing. Create a dashboard or a scorecard and keep track of the improvements. And celebrate successes as you go.
Creating a journey map places the customer at the beginning of the process and requires the FI to think like a customer. For example, customers often find it unacceptable to wait 10 days for their debit card to arrive in the mail after opening a new account. Rather than justifying the process by explaining it, the FI can create a journey map with a goal in mind that helps them reach the next level of service. Asking why at every step along the journey is far more critical than asking how.
How to get started:
- Choose a process known to create customer frustration.
- Establish a goal for the customer journey map exercise.
- Put on the “customer hat” or even experience the journey as a customer yourself.
- Document all touchpoints.
- Review each touchpoint and ask why it works the way it does.
- Research best practice models.
- Attack the touchpoints, seeking to remove friction and working toward the goal of better customer service.
Customer journey mapping has been proven to be highly beneficial to financial institutions and their bottom line. FIs should teach customer experience advocates to create effective customer journey maps for all significant touchpoints.
The process does not have to be formal. It can be simple. Marrying the how and the why will allow the FI to take advantage of the many benefits and opportunities inherent in customer journey mapping.