Customer journey mapping is an important tool for visualizing the consumer’s experience as they shop, research, purchase and use financial products and services. Personalizing this experience can be the key to long lasting loyalty in banking.
Subscribe to The Financial Brand via email for FREE! Before there were so many online and digital options available on how to research, engage and open new accounts, the path consumers took to open a new account or service was relatively consistent. Potential customers would walk into a branch, ask the branch employees questions, take brochures to do additional research at home and come back to the ‘winning’ financial institution to open an account.
In today’s digital shopping reality, the consumer journey is often done completely from the comfort of a desk or while walking down the street on a mobile device. There are often multiple channels used – but usually not the branch – as the shopper determines which brand to use and which account to open. Along each step of the journey, you need to convince people to pick your bank or credit union … and to not switch to a competitor during the journey.
‘Winning’ at each step of this journey is not easy – and at times these moments might seem overwhelming – but mapping your customer’s journey can help ensure you get more than your share of the business in transition. At each stage, the experience you provide is a primary differentiator where price and product are no longer sole consumer considerations. Customer journey mapping can give you a better understanding of how consumers are interact and engage with your brand, and also help illustrate how to be the right channel at the right time as well as the right place and format.
Consumer Communication is Key to Improved CX
According to research from Quadient, commissioned from MyCustomer, “Better customer communication results in an improved customer experience. It can drive improvement in customer loyalty, help to reduce costs and improve brand and message consistency across communications channels – even assisting in compliance and regulatory communications.”
It is becoming clear that the customer experience delivered is a top priority for all financial services organization, representing a major differentiator in a crowded marketplace. With the research finding that more than 50% of customer experience is based on the message and content received, it is clear why organizations need to focus on every touch along the journey. Understanding the customer journey is the foundation of this improved communications process, helping to reinforce an overall cultural change.
Organizations Use Journey Mapping Because it Works
“Tying customer communication to easier account opening or engagement is a missed customer journey opportunity.”
While customer journey mapping is not a new concept, most organizations are relative newcomers to the process. According to the Quandient research, 67% of organizations surveyed currently use customer journey mapping, irrespective or the size of the company. However, roughly a third of those who have employed customer journey mapping have been doing so for less than a year, with another third having less than 3 year’s experience with the tool.
The reason for a greater use of customer journey mapping is because it works. According to the research, 85% of those using customer journey mapping report a positive or very positive impact on their customer experience. In addition, 71% stated that the mapping projects resulted in improved customer satisfaction, a drop in customer complaints (48%) and reduced customer churn (40%).
Despite the benefits of customer journey mapping, an opportunity exists in trying to combine improved communication with a reduction of effort needed to complete a process. When asked about benefits, a reduced ‘effort score’ was one of the lower noted benefits to journey mapping. The connection of communication and engagement is often a missed opportunity.
Those organizations that have been using journey mapping the longest report the greatest returns and, interestingly, also are more likely to be using third-party support. Overall, 71% of organizations manage customer journey mapping internally, with 35% having the process led by the head of customer experience. It was found that the results of journey mapping were positively correlated to the organizations that had the highest level ownership.
How to Implement Customer Journey Mapping
While everyone agrees that personalizing the communication is more important than ever, just knowing who you’re talking to isn’t enough. You to align what the consumer wants to accomplish when they come to your website … and how they want to proceed from there. Mapping out the customer journey from the first interaction to the last will show if the consumer is accomplishing their goals in the most preferred manner. This takes consumer data.
No two journey maps are exactly the same. Different customer journey experts will design the journey differently, and the journey is different based on the product/service being mapped. Most will include the following steps:
- Build consumer personas: Use research to determine the process used as consumers first visit your site, through research, purchase and ongoing engagement.
- Align consumer goals with the journey: The consumer comes to your site to solve a problem or answer a question. Determine the path they take (or should take) to find what they want.
- Categorize touchpoints: Match the touchpoints your customer visits with the relevant stage of their journey. This may include multiple touchpoints to complete a process (account opening). The key is to simplify each stage as much as possible to eliminate abandonment.
- Measure results: Where do potential customers diverge from the path you had intended? Where do they leave the process altogether? What is the rate of goal completion compared to the number of consumers who started a process?
- Repair and replace: Determine where friction occurs and prioritize solutions to avoid abandonment, long processes, etc.
How consumers engage with your brand isn’t a linear process. Unfortunately, getting people from point A to point B without abandonment of the process or requiring help doesn’t always happen. Consumers may even skip steps to improve ease of engagement. But, understanding the engagement positives and negatives will improve the consumer experience and increase revenues.
What Stands in Your Way
Despite the benefits of customer journey mapping, not every financial institution has a program in place, while other organizations may not have a program that is delivering results. Some of the hurdles that Quadient found to stand in the way include organizations that stated that they had a lack of understanding and awareness of the benefits of journey mapping (54%). In addition, a quarter of organizations noted that there was a lack of senior management buy-in, while a third a third said that there was a lack of technology/tools (38%); a lack of appropriate skills (36%); and a lack of project ownership (36%).
More and more consumers are shifting from offline to online, using digital tools to help them with their purchasing decisions. As online interactions and digital purchases grow in importance, consumers are likely to use search, online review sites and social networks as a first step in their purchase decision.
According to Salesforce, “With more touchpoints comes more complexity in servicing consumer needs successfully. A customer journey map should help highlight areas where technology can ease the burden and challenges faced by your business. By optimizing and improving the experiences along each step of the journey, you’ll be building improved relationships with your customers that will lead to greater loyalty.”
Jim Marous is co-publisher of The Financial Brand and publisher of the Digital Banking Report, a subscription-based publication that provides deep insights into the digitization of banking, with over 150 reports in the digital archive available to subscribers. You can follow Jim on Twitter and LinkedIn, or visit his professional website.
This article was originally published on August 8, 2018. All content © 2018 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.
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