Measure the Customer Experience in an Integrated Cross Channel Environment

Success in retail banking requires meeting customers with the correct channel for the customer’s waypoint in that journey. 

A waypoint is a point of reference when navigating a journey. 

Not all waypoints are equal.  Customers prefer different channels based on the waypoint in their customer journey.  As a result, different channels have assumed different roles in the customer journey.  The challenge for customer experience managers is to provide an integrated customer experience across all waypoints.

Kinesis’ research has identified specific roles for each integrated channel in the customer journey:

ChannelPreferred Role
Mobile– Transaction Tool
Web– Primary Role: Research Tool
– Secondary Role: Sales & Transfers
Contact Center– Help Center
– Source of Advice
Branch– Sales Center
– Source of Advice

The mobile channel is seen by customers as a transaction tool; the website’s role is broader, as a research, transaction and sales channel; contact centers are primarily a help center; and the branch is primarily a sales and advice channel.

This post offers a framework to measure individual channels in a way that will provide both channel specific direction in managing the experience, as well as benchmarking each channel against each other using consistent measurements.

Two CX Risks: Exposure and Moments of Truth

In designing a customer experience measurement program, it is instructive to think of the omni-channel experience in terms of two risks: exposure and moments of truth.

Exposure Risk

Exposure risk is the frequency of customer interactions within each channel.  Poor experiences in channels with high frequencies are replicated across more customers resulting in exposing more customers to poor experiences.  Mobile apps are the most frequently used channel.  According to our research, customers use mobile banking apps 24 times more frequently than visiting a branch.  Mobile banking has most exposure risk.   Websites are used by banking customers 16 times more frequently than a branch; followed contact centers, used 2.3 times more frequently than branches.

Moments of Truth

Moments of truth are critical experiences with more individual importance.  Poor experiences in a moment of truth interaction lead to negative customer emotions, with similarly negative impacts on customer profitability and word of mouth. 

Routine transactions, like transfers or deposits, represent low moment of truth risk, problem resolution or account opening are significant moments of truth. 

Exposure & Moment of Truth Risk by Channel

Different channels represent exposure and moment of truth risk is different ways.

The mobile channel’s role is primarily a transaction tool.  According to our research the mobile channel is the preferred channel for both transfers (58%) and deposits (53%).  It, therefore, has the highest exposure risk and lowest moment of truth risk.

The website is a mixed channel between research, transactions and opening accounts.  A plurality of customers (40%) consider the website their preferred channel to get information, followed by transfers (33%) and opening accounts (31%).  As a result, the web channel has a mix of exposure and moment of truth risk.

The contact center is primarily viewed as a channel for problem resolution (51%), followed by an advice and information source (27% and 23%, respectively).  It represents low exposure risk and elevated moment of truth risk.

Finally, the branch is the primary a source for advice and account opening (53% and 51%, respectively).  With infrequent use and high impact customer experiences, the branch has very low exposure risk, and significant moment of truth risk.

Understanding Exposure and Moments of Truth Risk to Inform CX Measurement

This concept of risk, along exposure and moments of truth, provides an excellent framework for informing customer experience measurement.

Digital channels with high exposure risk should be tested thoroughly with usability, focus groups, ethnography and other qualitative research to ensure features meet customer needs and are programmed correctly.  Once programmed and tested, they need to be monitored with ongoing audits.

Channels with higher moment of truth risk are best monitored with post-transaction surveys, mystery shopping and the occasional focus group.

Exposure RiskMoments of Truth
Design Focus Groups
Usability Tests
Ongoing Audits
Post Transaction Surveys
Mystery Shopping
Focus Groups

Integrated CX Measurement Design

When measuring the customer experience across multiple channels in an integrated manner, we recommend gathering both consistent measures across all channels, as well as measures specific to each channel.  Each channel has their own specific needs; however, consistent measures across all channels provide context and a point of comparison.

Consistent Measures

Cross-channel consistency is key to the customer experience.  Inconsistent experiences confuse and frustrate customers, and risk erosion of the brand value.

The consistent cross-channel measures Kinesis prefers to use are measures of the brand personality and efficacy of the customer experience.

Brand PersonalityEfficacy of the Experience
Brand Adjectives
Brand Statements
Purchase Intent
Likelihood of Referral
Customer Advocacy

Brand Personality:  To measure brand personality, Kinesis asks clients to list five adjectives that describes their brand personality.  Then we simply ask customers if each adjective described the customer experience.  We also ask clients to give us five statements that describe their desired brand, and measure the experience with an agreement scale.  For example, a client may desire their brand to be described by the statements: We are committed to the community.  We would then ask respondents the extent to which they are in agreement with the statement: We are committed to the community.  These measures of brand adjectives and brand statements provide managers of the customer experience a clear benchmark from which to evaluate how each channel reflects the desired brand personality.

Efficacy of the Experience:  Ultimately, the goal of the customer experience is to produce the intended result – results like loyalty, increased wallet share, or lower transaction costs.  Kinesis has had success using three measures to evaluate the efficacy of the customer experience:

  • Purchase Intent: Purchase intent is an excellent measure of efficacy of the experience.  To measure purchase intent we ask respondents how the experience influenced their intention to either open an account or maintain an existing relationship with the financial institution.
  • Likelihood of Referral:  The use of measures of likelihood of referral, like NPS, as a proxy for customer loyalty is almost universally accepted, and as a result, is often an excellent measure of efficacy of the experience.
  • Customer Advocacy:  Beyond likelihood of referral, agreement with the statement, My bank cares about me, not just the bottom line, is an excellent predictor of customer loyalty.

Channel Specific Attributes

In addition to consistent cross-channel measurements, it is important to focus on channel specific customer experience attributes.  While consistent measures across channels provide a benchmark to brand objectives, measuring specific service attributes provides actionable information about how to improve the customer experience in each specific channel.

In designing channel specific research features, ask yourself what specific service attributes or behaviors do you expect from each channel.  The answer to these questions will depend on the channel and your brand objectives.  In general, they typically roll up to the following broad dimensions of the customer experience:

Specific Channel Dimensions

Digital ChannelsPersonal Channels
Appeal
Identity
Navigation
Content/ Presentation
Value
Trust
Reliability
Responsiveness
Empathy
Competence
Tangibles

For digital channels, the best specific attributes to measure are ones associated with appeal, identity, navigation, content/ presentation, value, trust.  For personal channels, such as contact centers and branches, we find the best attributes are associated with dimensions of reliability, responsiveness, empathy, competence, and tangibles.

Not all waypoints in the customer journey are equal.  Customer experience researchers need to consider the role of each channel in the customer journey and design measurement tools with both channel specific observations, as well consistent measures across all channels.

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About Eric Larse

Eric Larse is co-founder of Seattle-based Kinesis CEM, LLC, which helps clients plan and execute their customer experience strategies through the intelligent use of customer satisfaction surveys and mystery shopping, linked with training and incentive programs. Visit Kinesis at: www.kinesis-cem.com

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