Forrester’s European Forum, Part 2 (Banks)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was the Forrester’s European Consumer Marketing and Financial Services events in London last week. Here are highlights from a few interesting speeches about customer experience initiatives within large European banks:

  • Mike Thompson, Head of Real Retail Center of Excellence, Barclays
    “Building Better Customer Journeys”
    Thompson discussed the bank’s “Way Ahead” program. While Barclays had customer insights, it realized that the front line “was oblivious” of the information. The goal of the program was to translate the insights into language that the front-line staff would understand. Thompson shared the simple statements they came up with for guiding customer interactions: Be welcoming, be knowledgeable, be proud, be inquisitive, be innovative, and be memorable. He shared a couple of powerful videos they produced to make these items come to life with the staff. To make the training engaging, the bank created tools like playing cards with tips for each of these areas and processes for the staff to translate these statements into their own enviornment. They also created DVD-based training modules which were developed for managers to use in their short (5-10 minutes) morning meetings with the staff.
  • Nick Read, Director Distribution, Sales and Service, HBOS
    “Develop A Branch Led Customer Experience Culture”
    Reed discussed how the bank had become really good at growing customers in the early 2000’s, but then started to lose customers around 2005. The success of the “sales machine” kept the bank from recognizing the problem and focusing on customer service. This year, however, they have started to address the situation with a program focused on being “easy to do business with.” The bank created a three-level service strategy: 1) Get operational basics right; 2) delight customers when it matters; and 3) stand out from the competition based on our attitudes and behaviors. To get the staff focused on great experience, they created “Service Expressions” to bring to life the staff’s role in customer experience: “It’s good to see you.” “I take responsibility,” “You matter to me,” and “I can make you better off.” The bank uses 4 key measurements: Customer satisfaction, customer complaints, average product holdings, and colleague satisfaction (it uses a “Colleague Morale Index”).
  • David McQuillen, Head of Client Experience, Credit Suisse
    “The Three Causes and Cures of Bad Customer Experiences”
    McQuillen dicussed how product/price/performance represents about 37% of the drivers of customer satisfaction for banks; service and experience account for the rest. He described three causes for customer experience problems: Too much choice, increased complexity, and the inability to communicate. He also discussed four elements of design for each channel; for the Web it’s function, structure, content, and aesthetics. To keep employees from being internally-focused, McQuillen gets people to say “I am not my customer” and he talked about a collaborative process for designing with the customer and not for the customer. To get empathy for customers, executives go through immersive experiences which include trying to accomplish something like a customer, observing customers, and interviewing customers. McQuillen discussed one project where they got the bank’s lawyers to sit in a room and fill out some of the bank’s forms.

The bottom line: Many banks are taking customer experience seriously.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey.

Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum.

My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers.

I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

2 thoughts on “Forrester’s European Forum, Part 2 (Banks)”

  1. I just wanted to say Hi because this is the first time I am ever posting on a forum. I do not know if this is allowed or not to post here, but I hope I won’t be banned from me. So be happy for me that I finally achieved posting on a forum after many years of neglect!

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