Building a rewarding customer experience is more than a “play it by ear” project. It’s a systematic journey to determine what works best for your audience and to anticipate their needs and desires. As it result, it demands governance.
Customer experience governance is best defined as the methodology employed to guide delivery of a business’s customer experience strategy. Effective governance requires an organization to provide a consistent structure and decision-making process for their customer experiences across all channels.
West Monroe Partners recently conducted a survey on the impact customer effort has on banks’ customer experience and found that cross-channel this type of governance is a key differentiator between the high customer effort banks and those providing an effortless experience. Banks with well-defined roles, clear goals, and strong executive sponsorship were noticeably more capable in delivering on their customer experience strategy.
Our research parallels Forrester’s evaluation of customer experience quality. In Forrester’s June 2012 piece, “Customer Experience Maturity Defined,” the banking industry was found to have the broadest spread in customer experience from best to worst. From our assessments, it was painfully clear that the institutions with the most defined and integrated cross-channel customer experience structure were significantly more capable in delivering on their stated customer experience goals.
More specifically, cross channel collaboration, planning and strategy were directly linked to delivering higher quality experiences. We saw multiple problem areas linked to gaps in managing the cross channel experience between digital banking, in-person branch banking and the contact center.
Implementing an effective customer experience governance program, however, takes time and precision around even the most minor details. It requires attention to not only service training and customer satisfaction measurement, but also a thorough assessment of the back office procedures that drive experiences at primary customer touch-points.
For example, banks that fail to evaluate their training procedures and technical support processes are missing a significant influencer for customer experience governance. Your frontline team can only provide the best customer experience if the backlines are equipped to assist them. A sound governance program should span departments from IT to internal communications to HR, uses tools like an employee Intranet or customer relationship management to promote customer experience collaboration. The same thinking applies to a bank’s vendors: if your partners can’t meet and empathize with your customer experience expectations, then your delivery will likely fall short.
There are multiple steps involved in planning a successful customer experience governance program, many of which will vary based on a bank’s size and customer channel offerings. At its core though, governance program is built on these to-dos:
Draft your team and set a schedule. Both strategic and tactical level teams need to be mobilized and empowered to own the customer experience program. Buy-in from senior leadership is vital to the success of the initiative; however, the involvement of middle management in execution is equally important to infusing your governance with transparency and support. With the teams in place, it’s recommended that both the steering committee and working teams meet monthly to track progress and address pain points.
Pin down your goals, strategize and prioritize. The steering committee’s first project should be to go through a workshop process and create a strategy articulation map that defines the overall goals for the group, the separate initiatives involved and the strategies used to achieve them. This planning ensures that the customer experience strategy will be closely aligned with the bank’s broader business goals. From here, use the strategy articulation map to prioritize existing and planned customer experience projects. The output of the process is a customer experience roadmap that will help the group focus on the highest-impact initiatives.
Marry your metrics to your measurement. Monitoring and measuring the efficacy of customer experience initiatives is the smartest way to realize long term success. The steering committee needs to reach consensus on the right metrics to collect and methods to use for reporting on progress. Creating a closed loop, voice of the customer feedback program will allow the governance team to measure return on investment and make any program adjustments.
Know thy customer. At the start, most teams will only have the most basic understanding of the complete customer journey across each channel. The governance program’s success, however, hinges on the customer experience team comprehending the customer’s perspective, both positive and negative, at every touch point. Applying customer-centric design methodologies, such as journey maps and user personas, and linking them with internal business architecture diagrams will help bridge that gap.
Banking teams that can take a proactive approach to customer experience governance are already moving in the right direction. Institutions that bring structure and collaboration to their cross-channel programs will be able to far outpace the competition in delivering exceptional customer experience.
Brian Clark is a principal at West Monroe Partners.
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