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Delivering a Better Customer Experience

By Heather Calnin

To say the least, the last couple of years were out of the norm for the banking industry. For some, what may feel like ‘returning to normal,’ has others concerned for the future. Customers are no longer only coming to us for their financial needs, so bankers are returning to a proactive approach to acquire new business. The struggle now will not only be adding new customer accounts, but retaining the ones we already have.

What Is Customer Experience Strategy?

A customer experience (CX) strategy is your company's approach to creating the best possible customer experience in your unique case. Customer experience is the sum total of a customer's perception of your business. While customer experience will differ from customer to customer, there’s a lot you can do to make it consistently high in quality.

It is important to keep in mind that customer service and customer experience are not the same thing. While both revolve around how you interact with customers, customer service is just one part of the entire customer journey. Customer experience, on the other hand, encompasses all the interactions between your brand and a customer.

Why Is Customer Experience So Important?

Customer experience is an increasingly powerful means of differentiating your business from its competitors. Unlike variables such as price or product — which win your customers so long as you can keep ahead of your competition — customer experience creates strong, resilient relationships that stand the test of time.

What To Consider When Developing Your CX Strategy?

The first step in developing a CX strategy is understanding who your customers are — what are their needs, wants, and motivations? This information is useful in developing marketing campaigns and follow ups.

Next, review your business objectives, long-term goals, and current customer experiences with your team. What changes are you expecting in the coming years? Will there be new products, services, or entrance into new markets? What happens when your customer visits your branch? Are they greeted in the lobby, offered a beverage while they wait, sent a ‘thank you’ card after opening an account, or celebrating their first year in their new home? Discover where the gaps exist and take advantage of the opportunity.

During this time, banks should also consider their competition — what are they doing? Look both inside and outside your industry for examples of positive and negative experiences. Think about the process you go through when you make purchases. What stands out to you that you could add to your CX?

Map the journey. Start putting the steps, touchpoints, and potential issues on a whiteboard. I also like to use post-it notes to easily move things around during discussion. Once the map is created, it is critical to communicate these expectations with the team. This detail will make sure your team remains invested in the experience.

Finally, build systems with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to help streamline touchpoints and create consistency for your customers.

How deep you take the development of your CX journey is up to you, but the bottom-line is to not put it off. Start small, continue to tweak and improve the journey because no journey will ever be perfect in an ever-changing market. Continue to keep your customers satisfaction at the forefront and fine-tune your bank’s journey to maximize a loyal client.

Calnin is director of marketing and business development at BLC Community Bank, Little Chute, and member of the 2022–2023 Marketing Committee.