Bridging the Gap Between Customer Expectations and Customer Experience Image

Bridging the Gap Between Customer Expectations and Customer Experience

By Andrew McWeeney

For three weeks each summer dozens of elite cyclists team up to ride long distances through hot temperatures and high altitudes.

The grueling 21 stages of the Tour de France are not unlike the digital transformation efforts being undertaken in the financial services industry today. 

Whether you’re an incumbent or a new market entrant, you are very much experiencing every demanding kilometer of the changing landscape on this journey. Customer expectations are reaching the heights of the steepest climbs in the Alps. Meanwhile, industry NPS scores are on a steady descent towards the depths of the Loire Valley. 

What’s at the root of this stunning gap between customer expectations and customer experience?  Maybe you’re trying to ride a tricycle on this grueling, challenging course and wondering if you’ll be able to finish, much less compete. 

In a recent survey of executives from financial institutions and fintechs, respondents identified legacy technology as one of the top two most significant challenges to business success over the next five years. 

Right now, companies are dealing with slow, inefficient, and siloed customer data platforms that impede true progress. The cumbersome process of collecting data from various systems saddles client-facing teams with an administrative burden and creates increased risk of manual error—a particular concern given the increasingly complex regulatory environment. 

And most critically, once aggregated, these disparate sources of information do not produce the types of actionable insights that Relationship Managers need in order to act as trusted advisors that can offer prescriptive guidance. 

It is this dynamic that leaves clients yearning for a more strategic, personalized, impactful relationship. Instead, they are often stuck with protracted onboarding, disjointed experiences, and sporadic business reviews that ultimately feel transactional rather than transformative.

So, what is to be done?

One of the most notable team tactics employed by the peloton during the Tour de France may serve as inspiration here. Drafting, or riding in the slipstream of the peloton, is the idea that when riders are positioned correctly they see significant gains in efficiency and achieve far greater outcomes. 

So, what must financial institutions and fintechs do to position their “riders” more effectively?  How can they achieve the equivalent of a slipstream effect that results in better client experiences and outcomes?

What’s missing is a data-driven strategy that starts with three basic imperatives:

Aggregate your customer feedback and signals.

When it comes to winning the Tour de France, data makes all the difference. Teams track riders’ performance, nutrition, sleep, and health. The same matters for the customers. Organizing all of your customer data in one place will create the visibility that your teams require in order to anticipate client needs and prepare more strategic interactions. A single source of truth eliminates the need for your teams to pivot between databases and spreadsheets in order to collect critical information around sentiment and usage.

Proactively address risk with health scorecards.

Every team in the Tour also understands the route ahead using maps, GPS, past experience, and other insights. The same goes for the journey of your client. Understanding client health across products, segments, and business units allows your teams to monitor the right signals and prioritize efforts across a portfolio of clients. Without a holistic view and a consistent way of gauging health it can be very difficult to judge when and how to engage clients effectively throughout their journey.

Improve customer experiences at scale.

Ultimately, the most winning teams in the Tour have every stage planned down to a repeatable science. The art of cycling was long ago replaced with a programmatic approach to everything. It’s automation on a massive scale. For you, reaching clients where they are at critical points in their journey using automated communications or survey programs can help eliminate siloed and disjointed experiences. Teams can then take actions that are data-driven and informed by customer behavior.

In summary, much like the Tour de France, this journey is a marathon, not a sprint. To learn more about a comprehensive approach to customer experience initiatives—and to ensure you don’t get caught up in the peloton as the finish line is approaching—check out The Essential Guide to Customer Experience.

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