5 Facts about Employee Engagement You Should Know

There has been a large focus on providing top tier customer experiences and thinking about how to always improve the customer journey. However, employee engagement is just as valuable as customer engagement. Unfortunately, some organizations falsely believe all their employees are engaged, or even worse, don’t recognize the value of employee engagement. We’ve rounded up a top 5 list of facts to help understand the importance and potential of employee engagement.

16% of Employees Aren’t Engaged

Gallup conducted research in 2017 and published the State of the American Workplace study. The objective was to provide insight of the state of the workforce and to drive transformation. While they did find one third of employees are engaged, they found that 16% are actively disengaged – they are miserable in the workplace and destroy what the most engaged employees build. The remaining 51% of employees are not engaged — they’re just there.

Disengaged Employees Cost $500 Billion

In a study conducted by Mental Health America, they found that disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more efforts. This means that disengaged employees are contributing to $500 Billion a year in lost productivity.

Only 12% of Employee Leave for More Money

According to the same Gallup study, they found that 89% of employers believes that employees who leave for another position are doing so because of a larger paycheck. In reality, only 12% of employees leave for more money; office life, enjoying work, and corporate culture play a bigger role in this decision-making process.

56% of Employees Plan to Actively Seek a New Job

According to a 2016 study conducted by PayScale, they found that 56% of employees will begin actively seeking employment elsewhere within the next six months. They found the two leading causes for this is an employee’s view on the company’s future, and employee appreciation.

Outperforming Competitors by 202%

In a reach report released by Aberdeen, they examined the performance results from companies that have a formal employee engagement program. The report indicated that the organizations with a high level of engaged employees will outperform companies with poor engagement by 202%.

Customer experiences and customer journeys have been a major focus for organizations. However, employee engagement is something that is either overlooked or taken for granted. This puts the organization at risk of negative performance and loss of employees. These five stats should lead to companies rethinking their approach to employee engagement. Realizing the importance of using employee engagement as a strategic lever to ultimately deliver better customer experiences.

How to Keep Employees using your Portal

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Your organization could have the best portal in the world but if your staff isn’t using it, you won’t enjoy the benefits. Therefore, creating long-term and sustained engagement is crucial. To help you keep your employees using your portal, here are 6 tips to create sustained portal usage.

Incorporate the portal into the onboarding process for new employees

The advantage with new employees is that they have no prior experience with legacy processes or systems. This allows organizations a fresh slate and set the expectation that the portal is to be used continuously. It is key to get new hires logged into the portal early in the on-boarding process so it becomes part of the day to day activity. Furthermore, these are internal systems that the new employee would not have experience with, so they need to be trained or they will find workarounds they are comfortable or reach out to other employees that use the legacy processes.

Ensure the system is designed to make lives easier

There will be some hesitation and/or resistance in adopting the portal system. The best way to ensure engagement over the long-term is that the portal is built with them in mind. A well-planned and executed portal will address more than surface concerns of a few stakeholders or a department. The portal needs to be the easiest and fastest place for employees to extract information and complete tasks. A slow, cumbersome, confusing, or outdated portal will lead to employees reverting to their old processes.

Make it part of the day-to-day

For the best return on investment, organizations should focus on increasing the productivity of daily tasks. If the portal only addresses tasks that are done on an inconsistent basis or with long gaps between, the employees may stick with traditional processes despite the improvements portals may bring. The reason being that the headache every so often is less of an inconvenience than learning a new system.

A way to make this part of the day-to-day is to ensure that information flows through the portal. For example, instead of emailing a coworker a document, direct them to use the portal. In this way, people will become accustomed of using the portal. Furthermore, this will ensure that all the content on the portal is kept up to date.

Keeping the portal updated

Keeping the portal fresh is a key to keeping employees engaged. If materials, designs, user experiences, etc. become old; employees will become more frustrated and the usage will begin to drop.  

Consider real-world rewards.

This approach may not work for organizations for a variety of factors, like budget or management style. However, people are motivated by incentives and rewards. Consider incorporating rewards that equate portal activity to real-world benefits. Whether it’s something small, like a shout-out at the next team meeting, or a big prize like a half-day off or a group reward, anything that keeps the water cooler buzz focused on your portal is a good thing. This strategy doesn’t need to always be in place but can be adopted at the beginning of implementation or when usage begins to dip.

Ask for feedback.

This is the most important tip with portal implementation. Organizations need to understand how its employees are using the system and the pain points they may face. Not only will address this feedback improve the usability of the platform, but the employees will feel listened to and that the organization wants to provide only the best tools for success.

A second area to get feedback from its analytics. Evaluate the performance and the journeys employees are taking within the system. You may discover areas that aren’t functioning as intended, important information may be hidden away, some parts may be slower than others, or there is optimization that can be made in certain processes.

Best Ways To Create Better Employee Engagement

For organizations, with a goal to maximize performance, they need to look at employee engagement. Employee engagement is ensuring that everyone in the organization has the right conditions that will inspire and motivate them to do their best each day, and to ensure their full commitment to the company and achieving organizational objectives.

Engaged employees care about the company and take pride in their work, instead of just earning a paycheck or using it as a stepping stone for a better job elsewhere.  With all the moving pieces internally and externally that organizations must manage, it is easy to forget this key piece nor is it easy to achieve overnight.

For some organizations, they are unsure where to get started, how to get started, or what the approach should be to achieve employee engagement. To help those organizations get the most from their employees and improve employee engagement, here are the best practices to achieve employee engagement.

Employee Journeys

A common focus for organizations is “Customer Journeys.”  The process of attracting, onboarding, and engaging with customers; and how that experience is laid out for the best results. Take that same concept, and those practices and apply it to your employees; there is not much variation between the two.

The 3 keys to a successful employee journey are:

  •    Enable a positive first impression: when employees first come aboard, make sure every experience is planned out, and easy for the employee. For example; how they get registered for benefits or get their first paycheck.
  •    Be there during moments of truth: It may be a marriage, a baby, a loss, etc. These impactful moments weigh heavily on the employee. Organizations need to be there to support them and provide the information and help they need.
  •    Design thoughtful journeys for high-frequency activities: Look into all the tasks that employees deal with and how you as an organization can improve efficiencies.For example, submitting expenses. This task happens frequently but having a painful process will negatively impact the internal perception of the organization. Appearing like the organization wants to take advantage of their employees and make it difficult to be reimbursed.

Value Creation

To get better employee engagement, you must provide value to the work that your employees do. To achieve this, organizations should provide the tools and processes to create a seamless work process. Studies show that 19% of an employee’s workweek is spent searching for and gathering information or tracking down colleagues to help with specific tasks. Therefore, being able to optimize your employees’ workflow will provide great value to both the individual and the organization. No organization has found the perfect solution and likely no company will ever solve this issue 100%, but looking at increasing productivity and providing the right tools to be able to access the “Corporate Crown Jewels.”

Digital Capability Focus

Examine how employees interact with your business. Focus on the different engagements that employees will have and at different times. For example, the experience that office employees using desktops will be different from remote employees on a laptop, which will be different from employees out in the field on a smartphone. Look into how information is planned, authorized, and communicated.

Roadmap the Transformation

Evaluate where your organization is starting and where you would like it to go. While some organizations may face extreme transformational forces that require rapid changes, most organizations can afford to be methodical and plan their transformation journey and how far to take it, and at which time. Consider the steps your organization will take, the enablement of capability, and understanding the benefits. Most importantly, how you will bring people along with you.

End to End Methodology

Examine the areas and characteristics of transformation; looking at the items that are a high value for the organization and the items that are high cost. While ideally each item would be addressed in the transformation process at some point. The goal is to establish a sequence of priority to extract the most value as soon as possible for the lowest cost.

Test and Learn

Gone are the days of one and done projects. Transformation is constant, therefore organizations will need to stay on top of these changes to ensure these programs are providing the best value and extracting the most engagement from employees. Take the time to run prototypes and examine the performance. Decide on how new employee engagement initiatives will be measured for success. What key performance indicators will be tracked and measured?

It is important for organizations to foster employee engagement. To achieve this, organizations need to apply a transformational approach. Begin with a vision by examining what you are looking to solve in the employee journey. Next, plan how this transformation will take place and bring on change champions to advocate and help those who may be resistant. Finally, execute the employee engagement plan.

Now this may seem like a large and costly undertaking, and you may not see the end value from employee engagement, however, according to Aberdeen, organizations with engaged employees see an increase of 26% in revenue year over year and boost profitability by $2,400 per engaged employee.

How Customers Get Information in 2017

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There are many ways to communicate information to your customers. The last decade has seen an influx of digital communication methods. Traditional advertisements, blog posts, videos, and press releases all communicate information. However, thanks to new technologies including social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, to the growing popularity of blogging, there are several new ways for customers to get information online.

With more and more channels opening daily, consumers today have far more choice about how they get their information. Which sources of information are trusted? How do customers get their information in 2017?

  • Social Media

Social media is one of the most impactful trends of the last ten years. Everybody (even sometimes their grandmother) uses social media in some way. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have become a primary source of information for consumers across all segments. The most recent research suggests that 62% of adults get their information from social media. 70% of consumers are more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social media site. A social media presence is especially important for providing information to millennials. 88% of millennials get their information from Facebook, and 47% say social media influences their purchase decision.

Even if your business chooses not to advertise on social media platforms, merely having an organic presence will help your business gain visibility. If you aren’t on social media in some fashion, you will fall behind your competition.

The bottom line is, your business needs a social media presence, especially if you are looking to attract local clients.

  • Customer References

Customer references include testimonials, case studies, and online reviews. They allow prospective customers to gather information about your business from people who have already done business with you.

Customers find other customers more trustworthy than salespeople. They gain little to no benefit from your decision, and as a result are less biased towards your product or service.

To ensure customers can get information about your business from other customers, you should gather case studies and testimonials. Having testimonials and case studies will allow you to control some information the prospect sees. Testimonials and case studies are ways that customers can gather information about your business from other people.

Creating a program that allows your most satisfied customers to provide information in the form of case studies and testimonials will ensure that YOU control the flow of information between your business and prospects.

Online reviews are harder to control. While some steps can be taken to manage your online reviews, there is only so much you can do to suppress negative sentiments. These steps can help you manage your online reviews:

  • Track your reviews

Review sites like Yelp and others allow you to sign up for notifications every time somebody rates your business. Other options for tracking what is said about your brand online include Google Alerts, Google My Business, and a plethora of social media monitoring tools. Being notified of reviews will allow you to remain aware of what’s being said about your brand online, enabling you to:

  • Respond to positive reviews

Responding to positive ratings online will show your customers that you appreciate their positive sentiments. There is no need to offer incentives or rewards to those who leave positive reviews, simply an acknowledgment and “thank you” will go a long way toward building customer loyalty.

  • Manage negative reviews

Managing negative reviews is usually a more intensive task than responding to the positive ratings. The goal of managing negative reviews is to minimize potential repercussions that stem from a negative review. How can you do that? By responding politely, promptly and trying to take the conversation offline. Negative reviews can be an excellent chance to show customers the quality of your customer service. If you take negative reviews seriously and do what you can to salvage that particular client’s experience, you may save a relationship with a customer.

  • Encourage positive reviews

Several steps can be taken to increase the number of positive reviews you receive. Ask your customers to leave reviews on websites like Yelp and make it easy to find the review page. Unless a customer has an extremely negative experience, they will not go through many hoops to leave a review. As a result, if it’s hard to find your review page, the reviews will lean to the negative. By asking your best customers to leave a review (and making it easy to find), your review page will be a good source of information for potential clients.

  • Vendor Authored Content

If there is one way that a brand can authentically communicate information to their audience, it’s through content. People love quality content. The average consumer engages with 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchase. Today, 70% of consumers trust content authored by the vendor. Content on a branded website is especially attractive to younger consumers. Gen Z millennials, and generation X (AKA every segment under the age of fifty), all have high levels of trust in branded websites.

Consumers tend to depend more on vendor authored content than they do a salesperson. In 2017, 39% of consumers rely on vendor authored content when making a purchase decision, compared to just 19% of consumers who depend on a salesperson. If you have not started content marketing yet, it’s time to consider making the jump. For more information on inbound marketing, check out our eBook, Unlocking Digital: How Financial Companies Master Modern Marketing.

  • Word-of-Mouth

People are more likely to trust another person than a brand, especially when they already have a relationship with that person. When a reliable source gives a positive recommendation, it can motivate action.

For example, if your best friend (who you trust very much), tells you about a great experience they recently had with a financial advisor, you will trust the authenticity of that experience. If you heard the same story from the financial advisor in question, it is likely that you would question it more. Why? Because they have a reason to promote the quality of their own experience. Your friend does not.

People will trust their network over almost any other source of information. Trust developed between individuals is stronger than anything a brand can build.

How do your customers get their information? We would love to hear your thoughts. Connect with us on Twitter @VeridayHQ or LinkedIn here.

Emerging Technologies and The Future of Customer Engagement

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Over 4.75 billion people worldwide use at least one mobile device. This widespread acceptance has dramatically changed the way brands engage with their audience. People are always accessible. This accessibility allows brands to use mobile channels for marketing and communication, enabling real-time messaging to specific people.

The future will inevitably hold more technological breakthroughs that fundamentally change the way humans operate. Marketers need to ask themselves how they can make full use of new technology solutions, as they may end up growing to become a “force of nature.” At one point in time, brands struggled to see the potential in social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. That’s changed. Today, over 50 million businesses use Facebook in one way or another. In 2016, these companies spent a combined $26.885 Billion (USD) on Facebook advertisements. These technology platforms are here to stay.

But the mobile device and social platforms are not unique. Any technology with widespread adoption will change the way businesses connect with their audience. The ubiquity and versatility of the mobile device have allowed businesses to be creative with the mobile channel. Therefore, the big question is: How will emerging technologies affect the future of customer engagement?

1. Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes computer-generated imagery on a user’s view of the real world. The technology takes your location and builds a virtual world where you can digitally interact with real-life things that are around you. That means that something in front of you in real life (such as a bench in the park), will also be in front of the “digital version” of you. AR allows a computer-generated image to be added to that park bench, enabling you to see both the bench and whatever is laid on top of it, whether it be an animated monster or information about how to purchase that bench.

In 2017, AR is still in its infancy, with very few commercially successful applications of the technology to date.

Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game created by Niantic and the Pokemon company, introduced the average consumer to the technology. As businesses and individuals continue to work with the technology, successful commercial applications will continue to be developed.

There are still some things need to be worked out for AR to enter the mainstream. Wearable devices that can overlay graphics into the user’s field of vision need to be developed. Using a smartphone to access AR features may still be too much work for the average person to adopt the technology fully. Once the required infrastructure for the wearable technology is in place, nothing can stop AR from taking off.

Augmented reality has a larger number of non-entertainment applications compared to virtual reality (VR). AR can be used to overlay graphics into real-world situations, melding physical and digital spaces into one.

So how will AR affect how businesses engage with customers and how will it influence the overall customer experience?

From graphics overlaid on real world images (and video) to immersive “worlds” that seemingly change the way buildings and other objects look, the possibilities are endless. The technology is already being used in games such as Pokemon Go. It’s only a matter of time before another non-entertainment industry begins to adopt it.

There are several potential applications for AR, including applications that can increase customer awareness and motivate sales.

A financial advisor could use future AR applications to place a picture of themselves and their contact information near their real world office. That would allow anyone using the technology (whether it be through their smartphone or another AR-centric wearable) to see information about the business while walking past.

A retailer could use AR to showcase their products around their brick-and-mortar location. Potentially peaking the interest of those passing by and lead to an increase in sales. With AR still in its relative infancy, it’s hard to imagine what the fully mature technology will look like.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another technology solution that will play a key role in the future of customer engagement. Major tech companies are working to create more intelligent algorithms that can make complex decisions, and evaluate human language.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is defined as:

“the branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave more like humans.”

There are many avenues for the future of AI, and no single method looks like the clear route right now. The end goal of AI researchers is to create machines or algorithms that can take real-world inputs such as “vision” or sound and make decisions based on those inputs.

The future of machines with human-level intelligence is still quite some time away, but it’s clear that the technology will eventually become a core component all nearly all commercial activities. Understanding what consumers want, and when they want it, will help businesses make more timely offers to customers, increasing satisfaction and revenue while decreasing friction in the buyer’s journey.

AI will lead to fewer interruptive ads, higher-quality content, smarter suggestions and smarter use of an organization’s resources. In combination, these effects can increase the cost-effectiveness of marketing and sales departments by reducing wasteful expenditures. 

Artificial intelligence can reduce friction in transactional relationships and streamline decision-making by using data to make offers that will be better received by customers. As the technology matures, AI will be able to target recommendations, content and offers to motivate action. AI solutions will eventually know more about your customers on a second-to-second basis than we ever thought possible. These recommendations will eventually allow real-time marketing to become a legitimate practice.  It will allow brands to engage their customers at critical moments in the buyer’s journey and recommend actions that will increase profitability and customer satisfaction.

3. Voice-Computer Interfacing

So far, 2017 has been the year of the digital assistant. Google has Google Home. Amazon has Alexa and the Amazon Echo. Microsoft has been working steadily to improve Cortana. And Apple has potentially the most famous of the bunch in Siri. Major tech companies are fighting to sell you an assistant that will recognize voice commands to help you interact with your computer (and other connected devices).

Continued improvements in AI will need to be made for voice-computer interfacing to reach maturity. Currently, most digital assistants have limited use-cases. The only applications and processes that are available are pre-programmed. For voice-computer interfaces to reach their full potential, improvements to their flexibility will need to be developed. Users need to be able to access anything they want through a voice request. Significant improvements need to be made to get to that point.

Consider the progress made by search engines over the last 20 years. With continued improvements, companies like Google have eliminated fraudulent and dangerous websites from their results. They have enabled users to search various parameters (images, videos, etc.), and are working to reduce inaccurate results from its rankings. 20 years from now, voice search could be just as ubiquitous and advanced as text searches are today. Marketers will need to prepare for voice-optimized digital properties.

Technology advances to new, unseen heights every day. It’s hard to imagine how these technologies will change the customer experience.

If you like thinking about the potential applications of emerging technologies, you might also like these articles:
10 Technology Trends & Predictions You Should Pay Attention to in 2017 (Part 1)
10 Technology Trends & Predictions You Should Pay Attention to in 2017 (Part 2)
6 Open Source Technologies That Changed The World
As always, thank you for reading. We would love it if you followed us on Twitter @VeridayHQ or LinkedIn here.

Engage Your Clients With Top-Notch Customer Service

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In 2017, financial agents are competing, tooth and nail, to attract and retain their client base. How can you offer an experience that makes your clients want to continue doing business with you? If you’re thinking “create a killer social media strategy and offer the best combination of products, service, and advice on the market”, you’re not wrong. But, there is a critical aspect of fostering customer engagement, which leads to loyalty, that you may have forgotten in the increasingly digital world. That is offering top-notch customer service.

Even the most professional and engaging digital presence will be rendered ineffective if you can’t make your clients feel at home. If your clients meet you in person, they need to feel like they are the center of your world for the brief time they are with you. Remember, your customer’s experience transcends all channels. Offering amazing in-person service is a great way to ensure your clients have an excellent experience with your business.

Here are 4 factors you need to consider when planning an excellent customer experience:

1) Customer Insights

Creating an excellent customer experience is a very difficult task. You need a well-researched, comprehensive understanding of your target audience to create a customer engagement plan that will speak to that particular audience. Competitive analysis, market research, and customer insights are all required to craft your engagement strategy.

To offer an excellent experience, you must plan the “buyer’s journey” from discovery to purchase. To do this, you will have to identify the prospective customer’s pain points and plan the touchpoints in which you will interact with that customer.

If you have been struggling to collect the requisite data about your customers, you should check out our article: You don’t know your customer…. because you haven’t asked. In that article, we discuss the intricacies behind gathering the customer data needed to plan a comprehensive marketing strategy.

If you have all the information about your customers, you can plan experiences and content that will speak to their unique needs and interests. If you attempt to craft a plan without that information, your content and experiences might not be engaging to your customer. Your content needs to be targeted to the specific stage of their buyer journey.

2) Positive Environment

Part of crafting the ultimate customer experience involves ensuring your customers feel comfortable when they come visit you. As a financial agent, you are dealing with some of your client’s most sensitive issues and information. To offer an excellent customer experience, you should ensure that your clients feel comfortable talking to you about anything.

How can you set a positive environment in your business? It’s easy. First, focus on providing a clean, organized, welcoming space to meet clients. It’s human nature to want to be somewhere clean and organized, so ensure that your office is tidy. Every space, from the entrance to your desk, should be immaculate.

There are other factors to consider when creating a positive environment. Always make eye contact and use friendly words to promote a relationship with your clients. This level of respect should be used in all aspects of your business. Ensure that your web presence conveys the same friendliness and willingness to help. If you set a positive tone at every touchpoint, your customers will feel welcome when engaging with your business.

Creating a space where your clients feel comfortable reduces a significant amount of friction in your relationship. If your client feels respected, well looked after and maybe even pampered (a little bit), they will remember. The feeling of quality service will stick with them, giving them an increased sense of loyalty to your business.

3) Transparency

Transparency is a key facet of customer engagement, especially in financial services. If you are transparent with your customers, it will aid your efforts creating a positive environment and garnering trust. 56 percent of participants surveyed by Label Insights said that more product information inspires more trust in a brand. Additionally, 94 percent of participants said they would be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.

If you are open and honest with your clients, they will grow to trust you. This is very important if you want to develop long-term relationships with your clients.

Being totally transparent while staying compliant can be difficult. A lack of transparency is usually attributed to poor communication, rather than malice. That won’t matter to customers. To maintain healthy relationships with your client base you must prioritize transparency in all your communications. How can you do that?

Be upfront and honest when answering questions from clients. Be straightforward about your fees, and explain what benefits you will provide (and how you will provide those benefits). Nobody wants to be surprised with an unexpected fee. If you are forthcoming about how each party will profit from the relationship, you can gain your client’s trust.

If you can make transparency a goal, especially in financial services, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and become a trusted source of information for your clients. This will help engage your client base, leading to a more fruitful relationship for both parties.

4) Availability

To foster customer loyalty through engagement, you should be available for your clients (nearly) around the clock. Even if they cannot make direct contact with you, your business should offer channels in which customers can look for information any hour of the day. If you are not available when your client base needs you to be, there will be friction between you and your client base.

In order to be readily available for your clients, you should have a web presence with informational content available on demand. This content could be in the form of video, audio, blog posts, white papers, ebooks or any other type of content you can use to convey accurate information. We wrote an article about 5 Types of Content to Boost Your Advisor Website Traffic. If you’re looking for content ideas, I highly recommend taking a look!

If your website has informational content that speaks to the needs of your client base, you can keep your audience engaged. In fact, creating content for your website is beneficial to both your clients and prospective clients. After all, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.

By creating informational content, you offer your current clients information when they want it while demonstrating your knowledge to prospective clients. It’s a great method to engage your current customers while growing your client base.

For more information on creating excellent content check out our article: Introduction to Content Marketing for Financial Advisors

Or read our ebook:  How Financial Advisors can use Content Marketing to Boost Website Traffic

Are you using any of these tactics to engage your clients? If you are let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ. As always, thank you for reading. Have an excellent day!

 

Digital Customer Experience vs. Customer Experience

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Over 3,424,900,000 people use the internet every day. 90% of those people have used it to purchase something or contact a business within the last year alone. In the United States, Germany, France, U.K., and Canada, over 80% of the population has an internet connection. If you ignore the technologies commonly used on the internet, you are dooming your business to irrelevance.

We talk a lot about customer experience (CX), primarily digital customer experience (DCX) on this blog. They are subjects we believe to be extremely important due to their significance to businesses in the digital world. If you can’t offer your customer a high-quality digital experience, your customers’ experience when interacting with you will suffer greatly. There is no way to survive in today’s competitive environment without offering exceptional experiences at every step of the customer journey.

Customer Experience (CX)

Customer experience (CX) is one aspect of a digital transformation. All customer interactions, every touchpoint, and phase of interaction with the customer is a part of the overall customer experience. CX is an ongoing process, growing and evolving every time the customer interacts with your organization. An excellent customer experience is the cumulative impact of many touchpoints. Good CX provides consistent experiences that meet customer expectations, every step of the way. If you offer a better CX, you will improve your customer retention rate. By increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent, you can increase profits from 25 % to 95 %. Customer Experience focuses on the customer journey, the environments they interact in, and the actual touchpoints a customer interacts with.

An excellent customer experience can turn people into promoters and extremely loyal enthusiasts who urge their network to buy your product or use your service. A bad customer experience will turn that customer into a detractor, potentially leading to them “trashing” your business’ reputation and advising their networks to avoid you like the plague. It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience.  Evidently, CX is something you should be focusing on continually improving, seeing as it can have a critical impact on your business.

While customer experience has many different aspects, there is seemingly a singularly most important aspect of the whole equation. Regardless of the touch point and interaction, digital customer experience is an emerging concern. The digital ecosystem will often be home to initial interactions, and at the rate in which technologies are being adopted, more and more touchpoints will happen digitally.

Digital Experience (DX) for Customers

Digital customer experience (DCX) refers to the experience customers have with an organization on digital platforms. DCX encompasses every communication, all products, services and processes your customers experience via a digital channel. DCX is just one part of CX. The net cast by customer experience is much wider.

With the way information is consumed today, it is clear that DCX is the most important part of CX. After all, 70% of buyers return to Google at least 2-3 times during their research. Meaning that most, if not all, of the information a person has about you, will be found online. Roughly two-thirds of the buyer’s journey is completed digitally. Be sure that you offer an engaging, personalized DCX.

According to McKinsey, companies with greater digital capabilities were able to convert sales at a rate 2.5 times greater than companies at lower levels did.

It is important to ensure your clients have a pleasant experience when looking online for information. DCX involves every digital touchpoint, including all web and mobile interactions. DCX also encompasses beacons, IoT devices, face scanning, wearables and any other potential digital touchpoints.

One of the most appealing aspects of crafting a great digital experience for your customers is the copious amounts of data it produces. Due to the amount of data that gets created in the digital ecosystem, including cookies, online forms, existing profiles, and other data sources, DCX can be quantified much easier than experiences in non-digital ecosystems. The quantity and quality of the resulting data allow marketers to personalize the DCX, enabling them to offer content and messaging that uniquely speaks to that customer.

Conclusion

Customer’s expectations have changed. They want a better experience when doing business with your company. To meet and exceed those expectations, you need to prepare yourself to fully utilize the data provided by digital environments. You will also need to offer personalized content and provide an all-around great and seamless experience.

Remember, while these strategies are related, they still have enough differences between them that they can be considered separate concepts. Customer experience involves including more experiences, such as in-branch, over the phone, any mass media advertising, receipts, or other face-to-face interactions. Digital customer experience focuses on mediums that are strictly digital.

If you want to learn more about digital experiences check out:

For more information on customer experience, visit the following:

To better understand CS through a real world example, feel free to read our case study on the IBI Group.

In collaboration with IBI, Veriday implemented a digital strategy, combining location-aware and responsive design technologies. This strategy would transform the online customer experience.

Since the launch of their new digital experience strategy:

  • Site visits have increased by more than 55% year over year
  • Average visit duration has increased by 35% year over year
  • Increased Pageviews by 90% year over year

As always, thank you so much for reading, check us out on Twitter @VeridayHQ or follow us on LinkedIn.

Are Banks Failing at Customer Experience?

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Welcome to Part 2 of our two-part series examining customer experience in banking, through graphics from the Financial Brand. In Part 1 of this article, we discussed which channels consumers use to research various financial products (or services) and what banks believe the biggest benefits of personalization are. We also looked at why banks struggle to provide an excellent customer experience and examined the gap that exists between banks (who believe they offer an excellent CX) and their customers (who believe the same). In this article, we will take a look at how banks intend to enhance their service, which channels consumers deem most important and why technology has not been more widely implemented to improve CX.

5. Intentions to Enhance Service

Intent to enhance customer experience

On the graph from our previous article, Customer experience excellence: reality vs. perception, we saw how customers and firms rated their customer experience. Here we get a chance to see what financial service providers plan on doing to improve their CX. At the bottom of the list lies social media. Something that, while useful for communicating broad information, does not make for a better experience in banking. Branch transformation, something that has been a focus for decades, also lies near the bottom of the list. 

Enhancing mobile and online channels is by far the most common answer. This shows that omnichannel is a growing concern for banking providers. The attention to omnichannel is beginning only after FinTech firms have begun to apply pressure to traditional banking sectors.

The other three most common answers go hand-in-hand with providing an omnichannel experience. Staffing and training, leveraging new technology and providing better support are essential to combating FinTech firms. The reason that mobile and digital channels need more development than the traditional in-branch experience may be due to the decades’ banks have spent trying to perfect the in-branch experience. Digital and mobile channels are still relatively new and need to be improved upon, as they are the greatest strength of most FinTech competitors. This graph provides hope that banks are finally moving to the modern era.

6. Ranking Importance of Customer Experience by Channel

Consumers view of the importance of channels for customer experience

This graph examines how important each channels CX is for banking. It is very clear that in-branch experience and web experience are the most important channels to provide an excellent customer experience in. For now, in-branch banking is the most important delivery channel. This could be for a few reasons, one being that many demographics, such as the elderly, are still far more likely to come into a branch than to use any another channel.

Very few people think that phone banking is the most important channel in regards to experience. However, it holds a very strong number of votes for second and third most important channel. This could be because people still want to talk to a real person if they experience issues with the channel of their choice. Regardless of how much progress digital channels have made over the last decade, people still often feel most comfortable solving their problems with a human.

The seemingly least important channels are those that are accessed via a smartphone or tablet. This might be due to low adoption rates but may be due to the fact that smartphones are not people’s only channel for banking. Perhaps most people use smartphones to check their balances or to transfer money to friends. They are not trying to do complex tasks and therefore, are less concerned about a great CX. 

7. Obstacles to Offering a Personalized Customer Experience

Obstacles to offering a personalized customer experience

So, after we examined how banks and customers think of customer experience in finance, let’s examine what obstacles are in place to determine what is delaying FinServ firms from offering a personalized experience.

The main obstacles appear to be budgets that are not large enough to keep up with the ever-changing regulatory requirements and security concerns. This is par for the course with the industry. Often regulations and security concerns are at the front of most companies minds. Budget constraints come with the territory, as handling security issues can be extremely costly.

Other major obstacles include disjointed business processes, providing omnichannel experiences, outdated technology infrastructure and competition from FinTech providers. Many of these obstacles are issues that banks need to handle internally and have not been because of a lack of budget or leadership.

None of these obstacles should scare financial service providers from adopting more personalized CX, yet they do. Financial service firms need to improve, their viability as stand-alone businesses depend on it.

These graphs conveyed a lot of information about customer experience in banking. The first two graphs showed the perceived importance of improving various channels, both for banks and consumers. Banks plan on improving their mobile and online channels with a secondary focus on providing better training to employees. Customers should appreciate those efforts as they believe in-branch and online experiences are the most important channels in banking.

The final graph shows the challenges faced by banks when trying to offer a more personal experience. Banks have a wide variety of challenges to face, from a lack of funding to a complex regulatory landscape. These challenges will need to be successfully maneuvered in order to offer the personalized experience customers expect.

Did you find these graphs informative? How do you think banking will change over the next few years? Is customer experience the most important aspect of banking? What takeaways can other FinServ firms take from these graphs? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ!

The State of Customer Experience in Banking by the Numbers

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Most people use more than one financial institution for their banking needs. It is easy to see the competition from other big banks, but many financial institutions struggle to quantify the threat from FinTech firms. Customer experience (CX) is a key factor in building and maintaining high customer loyalty, but this might be the area in which big banks struggle the most. If a bank provides an excellent experience to its customers, they will be able to maintain customer loyalty and keep money in their banks. So, how can you improve your CX? You’ll have to ask yourself some questions.

What channels do consumers want to use? What do banks think customers want? Why haven’t you provided the experiences that customers want? Is there a gap between the mindset of consumers and the mindset of banks? Today, we will examine these questions, using graphs from one of my favorite publications: The Financial Brand.

The Financial Brand is a digital publication for banks and credit union. The Financial Brand specializes in marketing and strategy. The publication creates many informative graphics about a wide variety of subjects. In this article, we will examine 7 informative graphs about customer experience (CX) in finance. We will take an in-depth at what insights they give us about the state of CX in banking.

1. Consumer Research Channels

Consumer Research Channels customer experience

This graph examines the channels used by consumers for researching and purchasing different financial products. I find it interesting and informative because of the stark differences in research channels, based on which product is being examined.

Websites, email and physical mail are all used disproportionately when searching for credit cards. What do all of these channels have in common? Perhaps the customer wants information without having to interact with an actual person. This could be the case because credit cards are a less-personalized product (compared to something like a mortgage or larger line of credit), meaning standardized rates may be published online.

Another reason that people may use impersonal channels when shopping for credit cards is because people often carry multiple cards. This is in stark contrast to chequing accounts and mortgages, where most people will only need one at a time. Since they are less of a commitment and you may have multiple credit cards, people won’t feel the need to come in-branch to learn about a product.

Mortgages are the one product that will motivate customers to call a bank. Again, it might be due to the fact that people generally only need one. They are more willing to visit a branch or talk to a real person because a mortgage will radically affect their life. A person is more likely to make personal contact with a financial institution when the solution they are looking for will dramatically change their life.

2. Benefits of Personalized Experiences

Benefits of Delivering personalized experience

This graph takes a look at what bank leaders believe the biggest benefits of delivering personalized experiences and content to consumers are. Using customer data to make the right offer at the right time is far and away the most common benefit. The second leading answer, improving cross-channel CX, shows the importance omnichannel experiences. If your cross-channel experience is slow, or subpar in any way, the customer will choose to get their products or services from elsewhere. They may even decide to do business with your competitors.

Many of these answers relate to communicating with customers more effectively. Aside from providing frictionless services at a lower cost and enabling flexible product/service bundling, improving communication is a key concern. Personalization in FinServ and all other industries will allow brands to communicate relevant information to their customers. This is something that every FinServ provider should aim for.

3. Funding Difficulties

Difficulties getting CX funding

This graphic shows the difficulties that FinServ firms face in getting funding for CX initiatives. Only 28% of firms rated the experience as easy or somewhat easy. The other 72% of firms found the experience difficult.

This speaks to the disillusionment of many FinServ leaders about the need to fund customer experience initiatives. As the competition from FinTech firms heats up, challenger banks become more established and traditional competitors begin to invest in technology solutions, CX will become a key differentiator when it comes to retaining your customers.

Would a customer accept a subpar experience on a social networking site? Would somebody use a very frustrating dating app? Why would they accept poor CX from their financial service providers?

4. Customer Experience Excellence: Perception Vs. Reality

CX Excellence: Perception v. Reality

These graphs really jump off the page for a few reasons. They are so telling of the systematic customer experience issues FinServ has. Over half of retail banks and wealth management firms believe that they provide an excellent customer experience. The issue is that their customers don’t agree.

It appears that leaders in financial services may have missed the mark on their customer experience estimates. Perhaps, the research process needs to be slightly tweaked. How can a firm over-estimate how good an experience they provide by 27%? That doesn’t even begin to approach the 41% overestimation by wealth management professionals. The answers by financial service professionals to this question call for financial institutions to take another look at these problems. 

These graphs show that leaders in financial services need to communicate with their customers better. They show that leaders in FinServ need to put more resources towards understanding their customers. Without putting the effort towards understanding your customers, you will be unable to serve them in a way that meets their needs.

This large a gap cannot be logically explained. Talk with your customers, ask them how satisfied they are with the CX you provide, engage with them. Not only will they appreciate it, but you can begin to bridge the CX gap from a realistic starting point.   

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This is the end of part one of our two-part series examining customer experience through graphs by the Financial Brand. Did you find any of these insights surprising? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ. Next, we will be publishing part two, which contains insight into how banks plan on adapting to improve CX.