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A New Normal: Implications for Bank Customer Experience Measurement Post Pandemic – Planned Interactions

Part 2: Research Tools to Monitor Planned Interactions through the Customer Lifecycle

As we explored in an earlier post, Three Types of Customer Experiences CX Managers Must Understand, there are three types of customer interactions: Planned, Stabilizing, and Critical.

Planned interactions are intended to increase customer profitability through the customer lifecycle by engaging customers with relevant planned interactions and content in an integrated omni-channel environment.  Planned interactions will continue to grow in importance as the financial service industry shifts to an integrated digital first model.

These planned interactions are frequently triggered by changes in account usage, financial situation, family profile, etc.  CRM analytics combined with Big Data are becoming quite effective at recognizing such opportunities and prompting action toward planned interactions.  Customer experience managers should have a process to record and analyze the quality of execution of planned interactions with the objective of evaluating their effectiveness – regardless of the channel.

The key to an effective strategy for planned interactions is relevance. Triggered requests for increased engagement must be made in the context of the customer’s needs and with their permission; otherwise, the requests will come off as clumsy and annoying, and give the impression the bank is not really interested in the customer’s individual needs.  By aligning information about execution quality (cause) and customer impressions (effect), customer experience managers can build a more effective and relevant approach to planned interactions.

Research Plan for Planned Interactions

The first step in designing a research plan to test the efficacy of these planned interactions is to define the campaign.  Ask yourself, what customer interactions are planned through these layers of integrated channels.  Mapping the process will define your research objectives, allowing an informed judgment of what to measure and how to measure it.

For example, after acquisition and onboarding, assume a bank has a campaign to trigger planned interactions based on triggers from past engagement.  These planned interactions are segmented into the following phases of the customer lifecycle: engagement, growth, and retention.

Engagement Phase

Often it is instructive to think of customer experience research in terms of the bank-customer interface, employing different research tools to study the customer experience from both sides of this interface.

In our example above, management may measure the effectiveness of planned experiences in the engagement phase with the following research tools:

Customer Side Brand Side
Post-Event Surveys
These post-experience surveys are event-driven, where a transaction or service interaction determines if the customer is selected for a survey.  They can be performed across all channels, digital, contact center and in-person.  As the name implies, the purpose of this type of survey is to measure experience with a specific customer experience.
Employee Surveys

Ultimately, employees are at the center of the integrated customer experience model.
Employee surveys often measure employee satisfaction and engagement. However, there is far more value to be gleaned from employees.  We employ them to understand what is going on at the customer-employee interface by leveraging employees as a valuable and inexpensive resource of customer experience information.
They not only provide intelligence into the customer experience, but also evaluate the level of support within the organization, and identify perceptual gaps between management and frontline personnel.
Overall Satisfaction Surveys
Overall satisfaction surveys measure customer satisfaction among the general population of customers, regardless of whether or not they recently conducted a transaction.  They give managers valuable insight into overall satisfaction, engagement, image and positioning across the entire customer base, not just active customers.
Digital Delivery Channel Shopping
Be it a website or mobile app, digital mystery shopping allows managers of these channels to test ease of use, navigation and the overall customer experience of these digital channels.
  Transactional Mystery Shopping
Mystery shopping is about alignment.  It is an excellent tool to align the customer experience to the brand. Best-in-class mystery shopping answers the question: is our customer experience consistent with our brand objectives?  Historically, mystery shopping has been in the in-person channel, however we are seeing increasing mystery shopping to contact center agents.

Growth Phase

In the growth phase, we measure the effectiveness of planned experiences on both sides of the customer interface with the following research tools:

Customer Side Brand Side
Awareness Surveys
Awareness of the brand, its products and services, is central to planned service interactions.  Managers need to know how awareness and attitudes change as a result of these planned experiences.
Cross-Sell  Mystery Shopping
In these unique mystery shops, mystery shoppers are seeded into the lead/referral process.  The sales behaviors and their effectiveness are then evaluated in an outbound sales interaction.
These shops work very well in planned sales interactions within the contact center environment. 
Wallet Share Surveys
These surveys are used to evaluate customer engagement with and loyalty to the institution.  Specifically, they determine if customers consider the institution their primary provider of financial services, and identify potential road blocks to wallet share growth.

Retention Phase

Finally, planned experiences within the retention phase of the customer lifecycle may be monitored with the following tools:

Customer Side Brand Side
Critical Incident Technique (CIT)
CIT is a qualitative research methodology designed to uncover details surrounding a service encounter that a customer found particularly satisfying or dissatisfying.  This research technique identifies these common critical incidents, their impact on the customer experience, and customer engagement, giving managers an informed perspective upon which to prepare employees to recognize moments of truth, and respond in ways that will lead to positive outcomes.
Employee Surveys
Employees observe firsthand the relationship with the customer.  They are a valuable resource of customer experience information, and can provide a lot of context into the types of bad experiences customers frequently experience.
Lost Customer Surveys
Closed account surveys identify sources of run-off or churn to provide insight into improving customer retention.
Life Cycle Mystery Shopping
If an integrated channel approach is the objective, one should measure the customer experience in an integrated manner.
In lifecycle shops, shoppers interact with the bank over a period of time, across multiple touch points (digital, contact center and in-person).  This lifecycle approach provides broad and deep observations about sales and service alignment to the brand and performance throughout the customer lifecycle across all channels.
Comment Listening
Comment tools are not new, but with modern Internet-based technology they can be used as a valuable feedback tool to identify at risk customers and mitigate the causes of their dissatisfaction.

Call to Action – Make the Most of the Research

For customer experience surveys, we recommend testing the effectiveness of planned interactions by benchmarking three loyalty attitudes:

  • Would Recommend: The likelihood of the customer recommending the bank to a friend, relative or colleague.
  • Customer Advocacy: The extent to which the customer agrees with the statement, “My bank cares about me, not just the bottom line?”
  • Primary Provider: Does the customer consider the institution their primary provider for financial services?

For mystery shopping, we find linking observations to a dependent variable, such as purchase intent, identifies which sales and service behaviors drive purchase intent – informing decisions with respect to training and incentives to reinforce the sales activities which drive purchase intent.

As the integrated digital first business model accelerates, planned interactions will continue to grow in importance, and managers of the customer experience should build customer experience monitoring tools to evaluate the efficacy of these planned experiences in terms of driving desired customer attitudes and behaviors.

In the next post, we will take a look at stabilizing experiences, and their implications for customer experience research.



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Internal Customer Survey Design Tips

It is a commonly accepted principal that internal customer service, the service all employees provide each other, has a significant influence on employee satisfaction and turnover as well as the customer experience, customer loyalty, retention and wallet share. Key to managing any process, whether it is internal customer service or not, is information. This post outlines a survey tool to measure internal customer service in a manner to, not only understand what is going on, but also to inform management decisions with respect to the internal service environment. Kinesis has had success measuring the internal environment using a fairly simple internal customer service survey process with key call to action elements built into the program.

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Data collection for such internal customer service surveys is typically performed via an online survey instrument. Online surveys from an external provider allow for a promise of anonymity, allowing the employee to be completely candid in their input; with the additional benefit of being extremely cost efficient.

Generally, internal customer service surveys start with a screener asking what departments the employee has interacted with within a specific time period (typically the past three or six months). From this screener, survey logic determines what departments the employee will be asked to evaluate.

Departmental Evaluations

The next step in the survey process is to ask the employee to evaluate each department they have interacted with recently. We typically present the employee with a series of internal customer service survey questions based on specific service attributes. Among some of the service attributes we have had success measuring are:

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Quality
  • Teamwork

As an option, you may want to consider using a battery of adjectives to evaluate each department. This technique presents employees with a list of adjectives and asks them, which if any of the adjectives describe each department. Some of the adjectives Kinesis has had success using include:

  • Attentive
  • Efficient
  • Experts
  • Empathetic
  • Respectful
  • Knowledgeable
  • Accountable
  • Reliable
  • Responsive
  • Courteous

Overall Company Evaluation

In additional to evaluating individual departments, it can also be instructive to evaluate the company as whole. There are a number of ways to do this. One technique is to ask yourself what is your brand personality, and evaluate each department against this benchmark. Another is to ask employees the extent to which they agree with the following statements:

  • We are the preferred provider in our industry.
  • Our employees build customer relationships to deliver exceptional service.
  • Our employees are empowered to serve customers.
  • Our strategy is forward thinking.
  • Our strategy ensures efficient and cost-effective operations.

Call to Action

Finally, research without call to action elements may be interesting, but not very useful. We always build several “call to action” elements into our internal customer service surveys, which are designed to identify ways clients can act on the research. Perhaps the simplest of these techniques is to solicit ideas for improvement with an open-ended question, such as:

What would you most like to change about the way our departments serve each other?

Or conversely,

What do you like best about the way our departments serve each other?

The answers to these questions will point managers in the right direction in terms of improving internal service.

Again, information is a critical to managing internal customer service. The benefits to managing internal customer service and integrating them into your culture include: improved collaboration, workflows, communication and productivity, while at the same time reducing costs with the ultimate benefit chain including stronger employee and customer satisfaction, lower turnover, and increased customer loyalty.

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